Jett Williams, daughter of Hank Sr and sister of Hank Jr, opens for Ann Romney in Bocaby Andrew Abramson | October 21st, 2012
BOCA RATON — While Ann Romney was the star of Saturday night’s rally at Mizner Park, credit Jett Williams for warming up an eager crowd of 1,500 Republican supporters.
Williams, who learned as an adult that she was the daughter of legendary country singer Hank Williams Sr, played an array of Williams hits from Jambalaya to Hey Good Lookin’ while throwing in Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land.
It was Jett Williams’ third performance stumping for the Romney campaign.
“We’re going back to the roots, in politics and in music,” said Williams following her show.
Williams, 59, was the daughter of Hank Williams and Bobbie Jett. The two briefly dated in between Williams marriages. Jett Williams was born six days after Hank died and Hank’s mother, Lillian Williams, adopted young Jett. But after Lillian died a year later, Jett Williams became a custody of the state and didn’t know about her famous father for years.
But she obtained her father’s musical gift and performs his songs around the country.
On Saturday, Williams told the crowd that she’s proud to be Hank’s daughter, but “equally proud to open for Ann Romney, the next First Lady of the United States.”
“Isn’t Gov. Romney the best looking candidate you’ve ever had?” Williams asked the crowd.
Williams said she’s been a Romney supporter from the beginning, including his first run for president four years ago.
“I had lunch with him (in Richmond, VA) and I was so impressed with him,” Williams said. “Before the crowd, he was very presidential, a told leader. But when he walked off the stage he shakes your hand and looks just right at you. For those 5-to-10 seconds he makes you feel like you’re the most important person. On the stage he commands a presence and is as down to earth as anyone I’ve ever met.”
Williams said she was also impressed with Ann Romney.
“There’s such a warmth about her and actually she’s not a politician,” Williams said. “She just comes out and you can tell she just absolutely adores her husband, her family and the country, and I think it’s in that order.”
Williams isn’t personally close to her half-brother, country music pop star Hank Williams Jr. But following a court battle that awarded her half of Hank Sr’s royalties, Jett and Hank Jr have formed a working relationship.
“So far we have agreed to disagree on every point,” Jett Williams said. “One reason Hank Williams’ legacy has moved forward is because we’re not fighting one another. The one thing we’ve agreed on is that we want his memory and music first and first class.”
Last year, Hank Jr’s famous opening montage on Monday Night Football was yanked after Hank Jr made comments comparing President Obama to Adolph Hitler.
“I still believe it’s a free country, but if you’re under contract to a company, and if you work for somebody and there’s a restriction of how you are to conduct yourself, that pertains,” Jett Williams said Saturday.
Unlike her brother, Williams prefers to stay away from the negativity.
“I don’t sit and hate,” Williams said. “I sit and make a difference, the difference being the Romney/Ryan ticket. The finger pointing and blaming, it’s time for the country to be over that. We can sit and talk about this all day and we’re not going to move forward.”
Williams’ husband, attorney J. Keith Adkinson, was appointed by President Reagan to be a member of the Federal Trade Commission. Williams met Adkinson in the 1980s when she was fighting her paternity legal battles, and they later married.
Adkinson, who worked for Scoop Jackson and grew up a conservative Democrat before switching over in 1980 (“Jimmy Carter did that,” he says), lead the “Democrats for Reagan” charge in the ’80 election. He said this election has a similar feel.
“The enthusiasm for Reagan, I think this actually exceeds it,” Adkinson said. “I can smell the enthusiasm and it just tickles me. We really need to have a major change.”