THOMPSON'S STATION — Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Victoria Jackson wants her next act to be as a Williamson County Commissioner.
Jackson, who moved to Thompson's Station last year, is petitioning as an independent to become a candidate for one of two District 2 commission seats, currently held by commissioners Betsy Hester and John Hancock.
In recent years, Jackson has made a name for herself as an active Tea Party participant, conservative activist, outspoken opponent of President Barack Obama, and occasional Fox News contributor. Now, she wants to get directly involved at the local level.
"I think the key to saving America is normal everyday citizens getting involved because we the people are supposed to be in control, not the government," Jackson said. "I had a political awakening in 2007. I'm tired of complaining. I want to do something."
Jackson, who calls herself a Tea Party or Constitutional conservative, said she filed as an independent because she's "very disappointed with the Republican Party," which she had always registered as until now.
"But I just can't do it anymore; they just don't have the values of our founding fathers anymore," she said. "I am sure there are a few Republicans who do. I want less federal government involvement, lower taxes, smaller government, more public involvement, a balanced budget and fiscal responsibility."
The county's Republican primary is May 6. If Jackson meets the candidate qualifying requirements by the Feb. 20 deadline, her name would appear on the Aug. 7 county general election ballot where she would run against the Republican nominee chosen in May.
So far, five Republicans have picked up petitions for the District 2 seat, including Hester, Michael Patrick Leahy, Shane K. McNeill, Rick Watson, and Judy Lynch Herbert, who is the District 3 commissioner now in District 2 because of the new district map.
Jackson has made appearances at numerous political events in middle Tennessee, including protesting a public discussion hosted last spring by the American Muslim Advisory Council, and fighting the opening of a controversial mosque in Murfreesboro.
"I think I will fit in quite easily with (the current county commission)," Jackson said. "I went to the dentist recently and there was a Bible in the lobby of the dentist office. ... I love this town. My two favorite things are here - Jesus and show business."
Jackson said she has been researching the Muslim Brotherhood, Agenda 21 and the Common Core education standards, all of which she speaks sharply against. She attended her first Tea Party rally in 2009 at Santa Monica Pier, where she was asked to speak. She read aloud the dictionary definitions for communism, socialism and capitalism.
"Then I said, 'I smell a rat. I smell communism and socialism creeping in here and we've got to get rid of it,' " Jackson said.
If she qualifies as a county candidate, Jackson does not plan on following traditional campaign methods.
"I don't really want to beg for money from anybody; I hope to do it the old-fashioned way – word of mouth," she said. "I may pay for some T-shirts and stickers with my own money. I have no political aspirations. I just want to help save my country. It should be about ideology, not about who has the most money."
Jackson, 54, originally from Miami, is best known as the squeaky-voiced blonde comedienne on SNL from 1986-1992.
Jackson frequently appeared on SNL's "Weekend Update with Dennis Miller" to recite poetry and perform handstands on the news desk. She was Brenda Clark in the popular skit, "Toonces the Driving Cat," and often appeared as the Christian girl, Jenny Baker, on the skit, "Church Chat."
Jackson and her husband, Paul Wessel, a retired helicopter pilot who spent 35 years with the Miami Police Department, moved to Thompson's Station last year to follow their children. Wessel's son works at Lifeway in Nashville and is a pastor at The Bridge Church in Spring Hill. One of Jackson's daughters is a writer and works for a conservative website, while her other daughter attends Trevecca Nazarene University.
Jackson's full married name, which she officially filed with the Williamson County Election Commission, is Victoria Lynn Jackson-Wessel. However, she told deputy administrator Chad Gray that she wanted her name to appear on the ballot as Victoria Jackson "because she said people thought it said weasel."