Archive for the ‘Chair’s Message’ Category

Mancini New Tennessee Democratic Party Chair

Friday, January 16th, 2015

mary mNashville – Mary Mancini was elected to lead Tennessee Democrats after party leaders gave the progressive activist from Nashville a unified show of support in electing her new chair of the state party.

Mancini, collected 61 of 70 votes Saturday from the state party’s Executive Committee. She outlasted three strong candidates for chair.

Mancini immediately hit the ground running after saying. “Together, we must work to elect Democrats. We must rebuild and re-energize the base. We have to strengthen our county parties and we have to lay the groundwork for the next several election cycles”.

In selecting Mancini, Democrats have turned to a progressive voting rights advocate that has criticized the state’s voter identification law. Mancini is a strong leader in liberal circles, a past co-host of Liberadio, a political radio talk show in Nashville.

Mancini distributed a two-year plan to executive members weeks prior to Saturday’s vote as she visited EC members across the state. She reminded Democrats that they must recruit strong statewide candidates, raise more money, effectively use voter data, make strong gains in the state House and Senate and ensure that Democrats have a voice in the next round of redistricting in 2020. She said the party must also execute a strategy that reaches all 95 of Tennessee’s counties.

She reminded Executive Committee members that Republicans want us to think this is a completely red state, but it’s not. “There are Democrats all over the state”, Mancini noted.

Mancini has assumed leadership of a state party that has experienced losses in recent years after controlling the state legislature and governor’s office less than a decade ago. In November, Republicans expanded supermajorities in both the 99-member Tennessee House — from 71 members to 73 — and the 33-member Tennessee Senate, where Republicans now hold a 28-5 majority.

Jeff Yarbro, an ex-officio member, reminded the executive committee Saturday that the upcoming 109th General Assembly, which begins session this week, would feature fewer Democrats than at any point in Tennessee history.

“This is not basketball — this is something where you have to have 17 votes to get things done, and that means that we’re 12 short,” Yarbro said of the Senate. “We’ve got to get those (Democrats) elected.”

Democrats across the state are excited with Mary Mancini leading the party. An energy and excitement exist that has not been felt in years. After the failed experiment with conservative leadership, could it be that the Tennessee Democratic Party is experiencing a new resurgence?

Attack of Obama visit typical for today’s GOP

Friday, February 7th, 2014

tndp logoThe distinguished Tennessee Republican state chairman, in a Jan. 29 op-ed, criticized President Barack Obama for “campaigning” by coming to a Nashville public school. But the president no longer has to campaign: The American people already re-elected him.

Three-fourths of Chris Devaney’s op-ed attacked Obama and it is another example of how a once reasonable and respected Republican Party has become a tea party not of ideas but of extreme ideology, not of solutions but of reflexive opposition, not of bipartisan cooperation but of endless antagonism.

Unlike the Republican leader, students and faculty at McGavock High School appreciated the president coming to Tennessee. As the students listened to the president tell of overcoming struggles and trials during childhood — raised by a single mother, his family too often barely scraping by, his own sins and shortcomings — I could see in young eyes the growing belief they, too, could overcome their obstacles and achieve their own dreams.

Indeed, I was reminded of the words of St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words.”

His life’s story demonstrated and amplified his words of opportunity and responsibility.

My Republican counterpart touted recent student test scores to claim credit for reforms put into place by Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, who worked with Democratic and Republican legislators and with teachers to earn Tennessee one of the first two Race to the Top grants — before Gov. Bill Haslam even took office.

The chairman also claimed Republicans have produced a thriving state economy, but we have watched GOP legislators waste time and our tax money on increasing the number of places where we can buy booze and pack pistols.

Meanwhile, Republicans haven’t produced any effective jobs legislation, and our unemployment rate still far exceeds the national average.

My esteemed colleague says Republicans want an “opportunity-for-all” economy to lift up Tennesseans “regardless of ZIP code” by creating “high-performing schools.” But, in fact, legislative Republicans are attacking public school teachers, undercutting public schools and want to give away our tax dollars for “vouchers” to subsidize not just respected private institutions but also sectarian schools and segregation academies.

Meanwhile, Republicans are abolishing inheritance taxes for millionaire and billionaire heirs and heiresses to create an “opportunity-for-the-rich” economy, helping a very few at the expense of working middle-class Tennesseans who pay the bill for these giveaways.

Tennessee Democrats, by contrast, are working to provide real solutions for jobs and education. We are fighting to raise the minimum wage, seeking tax incentives to grow small-business jobs, protecting public school students, fighting for pre-K education and demanding that Republicans let our family doctors and community hospitals care for 300,000 working Tennesseans and children instead of sending our Medicaid money to New York and California.

Tennessee Democrats aren’t wasting time casting partisan stones at someone from Washington who came to learn from, praise and inspire Tennessee teachers and students.

Instead of doing the bidding of moneyed special interests and the mega-rich, Tennessee Democrats are seeking to serve all Tennessee families.

Welcome to Crazytown

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

CrazytownRemember “Dollar” Bill Ketron and his plan to set up a Tennessee state currency? [Tennessean, March 1]

How about the Tennessee GOP’s new spokesman? Disgraced actor Charlie Sheen, a known abuser of drugs and women. [Nashville Scene, April 29]

Welcome to Crazytown.

Since the beginning of the year, Republican politicians have made no secret of their plans to hand over our state and our democracy to big corporations while sending working- and middle-class families down the Tennessee River.

Sadly, you could overlook the extreme agenda and Tennessee’s Republican politicians would still give you plenty of reasons to scratch your head.

From desk carvers and communist lovers to lunch dates with radical governors and allegations of political corruption, the Tennessee GOP has got it all:

  • GOPer Speaker Beth Harwell giddy for radical Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Walker attacked the rights of Wisconsin workers and families, passed an undemocratic voter ID bill, and gave tax breaks to the rich and big corporations. Considering Beth Harwell accomplished many of the same things, no wonder, in a tweet, she called him “one of our best Republican governors.” [Beth Harwell Twitter, June 29]
  • Tennessee GOP gaga for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels at big, corporate fundraiser. How do you get Tennessee Republicans to fawn over you? Write a budget plan that crashes the U.S. economy, voice your strong support of privatizing Social Security and slash millions in funding for public schools. Naturally, Republican lawmakers lauded Daniels’ destructive record at a high-dollar fundraiser last week. [TN Report, May 18]
  • State representatives caught in TBI investigation with naughty nurses. The Kingsport Times News reported three suspended nurse practitioners accused of contributing to two patients’ deaths somehow got their licenses restored. State Rep. Tony Shipley told the paper, he’s the “rascal behind the scenes that made it happen.” [WPLN, July 20]
  • Desk-carving GOPer grabs national headlines. Back in Nashville, state Rep. Julia Hurley carved her initials in her desk on the floor of the state House. She said she was bored during a late session and said, “I wasn’t thinking straight.” Unfortunately, her voting record against teachers and Tennessee families showed us that all year. [News Sentinel, July 11]
  • Out-of-touch Obion County Republican praises communist China’s government-run economy within a day of 1,900 factory workers in his hometown losing their jobs through no fault of their own. Rep. Bill Sanderson, on a trip to China, marveled at the “smooth and efficient” Chinese government. Impressed by the government-run economy, the Republican said China has “taken what we do and are now doing it better.” Yes, Mr. Sanderson, the Chinese are taking what we are doing, like the 1,900 jobs at the Goodyear plant in Union City. But Mr. Sanderson, they will never do it better than Americans. [Bill Sanderson Blog, July 11]

Republican politicians may be proud of their party’s scandals, embarrassing gaffes and out-of-touch policies, but Tennesseans aren’t laughing.

We are looking to add 100 new grassroots donors for the month of July.  Click here to help today with a gift of $5 and show your support for returning to common sense and effective leadership in Tennessee.

It’s time to shutdown Crazytown.  With your help, we can do it.

Thanks for all you do,

Chip Forrester
Chairman, Tennessee Democratic Party

 

GOP Overreach

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

It’s crystal clear that Tennesseans have soundly rejected the extremist GOP agenda rammed through the state legislature this year.

A new, statewide Vanderbilt University poll found that support for the Republican-led state legislature has “plummeted 20 percentage points since January.

The GOP honeymoon is over and Tennesseans are riled up like never before over lawmakers stripping teachers of their right to collectively bargain for smaller class sizes, school supplies, and text books while cutting millions from public and higher education budgets.

Attacking teachers and our public schools is outrageous!  Please contribute $5 or more to help us fight back.  A generous Democrat will match your gifit dollar-for-dollar making your donation go twice as far.

Teachers and public education weren’t the only targets of the GOP.

Since January we have seen a systematic assault on Tennessee values:

  • IGNORED JOBS CRISIS. In 2010, Republicans campaigned on a platform of jobs, jobs, jobs. Less than one year later, the majority party buried its head in the sand and ignored the crisis facing 300,000 Tennesseans looking for work. And since the GOP took charge, Tennessee’s unemployment rate has climbed to nearly 10 percent.
  • LAVISH RAISES. Gov. Bill Haslam made cuts to important health programs while handing out more than $250,000 worth of raises to his top cronies, all of whom already made six-figure salaries. One commissioner even got a 32% raise — in his first week on the job!
  • PROTECTED PREJUDICE. The GOP gave into the radical right-wing of its party, bowing to demands to overturn Metro-Nashville Council’s CANDO ordinance that required businesses with city contracts to employ non-discrimination hiring policies.

Click here for a more complete look at damage done by Republicans this year.

In short Republicans junked their promise to strengthen the state economy and create jobs in favor of ideological pet projects that harm our families and the least among us.

This poll shows that Tennesseans regret giving Republicans a chance behind the wheel and have quickly become sick of their reckless driving.

Tennesseans are not interested in political retaliation against teachers, they want good schools for their children.

Tennesseans are not interested in the anti-woman demands of the far right, they want to make sure their mothers, sisters and babies are healthy and well cared for.

Tennesseans are not interested in protecting reckless corporations from the damage they do, they want to protect victims and hold corporations responsible for their actions.

Republicans have given us no reason to think they will come to their senses in 2012. Last month Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey bragged on Facebook:

“This year was just an appetizer. Next year, and in the years to come, you will see the main course.”

Whatever Ramsey has in mind, you can rest assured it won’t be good for Tennessee.

If you want to stop the GOP’s radical agenda and put Tennessee on a  path to a thriving economy where prosperity is shared by all, a path where a good education is available to every student, regardless of their circumstance, a path where government serves the people and is not beholden to moneyed special interest then stand with us.

Your gift of $5 or more will be matched dollar-for-dollar, doubling your effort to take back our state for working and middle class Tennesseans.

We can win this fight, but we can’t do it without your support.