Blog

06 Apr
3

Don’t Think There’s a Difference Between TN Democrats and TN Republicans? Think Again.

You want to know the difference between Tennessee Democrats and Tennessee Republicans? Well look no further than the Tennessee General Assembly.

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From the Tennessee Republican Party’s side of the aisle, we see a staggering lack of CONCERN, CHARACTER, and LEADERSHIP.

LACK OF CONCERN: Without much consideration or thought, Senate Republicans dashed the hopes of Tennesseans like Tracy Foster, who need access to affordable health insurance to stave off life-threatening diseases and potential personal bankruptcies:

“It was never very likely the nine-member committee, eight of whom are Republicans, would approve the plan….During the hearing Tuesday…there was very little discussion….Sen. Dolores Gresha, R-Somerville, asked one question about the plan, the only question asked by a committee member

‘It was disconcerting to see the lack of any meaningful discussion. The people of Tennessee deserved better from their legislature today,’ said Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville.”

The vote on Insure Tennessee shows that Tennessee Republicans don’t care if they deny health care to hardworking Tennesseans. They don’t care that working families will go broke if they get sick. They don’t care that hospitals are going to close and people will lose their jobs. They don’t care that without health care, Tennesseans will die.

The ridiculous amount of time they spent debating whether or not “Insure Tennessee” is “Obama Care” clearly shows that they let their hatred of President Obama get in the way of doing what’s right for the people of Tennessee.

LACK OF CHARACTER: Republican Senator Todd Gardenhire, (R-Chattanooga), who voted against access to affordable health care for 300,000 Tennesseans twice, was filmed calling an Insure Tennessee supporter an “a**hole.” The comment came in response to a question about whether Gardenhire planned to keep his own insurance after voting to deny healthcare to 300,000 hard working Tennesseans.

Sen. Gardenhire showed he had no compassion when he voted twice to deny healthcare to over a quarter of a million hardworking Tennesseans. Sen. Gardenhire showed he had no common sense when he voted twice to turn down over a billion dollars in federal funding to ensure that rural hospitals in Tennessee can stay open. Now Sen. Gardenhire has shown a serious lack of character after calling a fellow Tennessean an a**hole.

LACK OF LEADERSHIP: After the Sen. Gardenhire incident, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) was asked what he thought and instead of reprimanding his Senator, he all but said, “Boys will be boys.”

What kind of leader doesn’t hold his own people accountable for their actions? The kind that panders to special interests, like Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), who had no problem fast-tracking legislation to allow guns in Tennessee’s parks to appease the NRA. But pushing her members to vote to give access to affordable health care to 300,000 hardworking Tennesseans? No sense of urgency whatsoever.

Speaker Harwell on Guns in Parks Legislation: “And of course we wanted to show we were supportive of them and their agenda, so yeah, we pushed the bill to today.” (Link)

Speaker Harwell on Insure Tennessee: “Do I think we want to spend a lot of time during the regular session? Nah, I don’t think that.” (Link)

This is just another example of Republican opportunism. They saw a chance to do the bidding of the NRA and didn’t hesitate. Speaker Harwell didn’t even have the courage to vote no after admitting that her constituents were against the bill. This lack of leadership is a hallmark of her tenure as Speaker.

At this point, let’s be clear about something, the Tennessee Democratic Party believes in having an honest, open conversation about guns. Part of that conversation is that we strongly believe that guns have no place in parks, especially in parks when children are present during school activities. We can work together to enact commonsense improvements, but when Republicans kowtow to the NRA by stifling discussions, they make it clear that they are more interested in serving radical special interests than the people of Tennessee.


From the Tennessee Democratic Party’s side of the aisle, we continue to see our Democrats WORKING HARD FOR ALL TENNESSEANS.

Tennessee Democrats have sponsored bills this year that address issues of minimum wage to help ensure that over 100,000 hardworking Tennesseans are able to earn a good day’s wage for a good day’s work, equal pay for women, protecting investments in public education, and expanding access to affordable health care.

Everyday Democratic Representatives and Senators are working hard to ensure that Tennessee is a state that treats everyone equally and creates opportunity for all.

 

Don’t ever let anyone tell you there’s no difference.

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31 Mar
1

Chair Mancini Statement on Insure Tennessee Senate Committee Vote

Nashville, Tenn. (March 31, 2015) — Mary Mancini, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party issued the following statement after Insure Tennessee failed to pass out of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee:

“Today’s vote on Insure Tennessee shows that Tennessee Republicans don’t care if they deny health care to hardworking Tennesseans. They don’t care that working families will go broke if they get sick. They don’t care that hospitals are going to close and people will lose their jobs. They don’t care that without health care, Tennesseans will die.

The ridiculous amount of time they spent debating whether or not “Insure Tennessee” is  “Obama Care” clearly shows that they let their hatred of President Obama get in the way of doing what’s right for the people of Tennessee.”

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31 Mar
0

TNDP Chair Mancini Statment on Harwell, NRA & Guns in Parks

Nashville, Tenn. (March 31, 2015) — Yesterday, the Tennessee state house passed a bill allowing guns in parks, including those where little league and other youth sports are being played. After allowing no debate on the bill, Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell said, “And of course we wanted to show we were supportive of them and their agenda, so yeah, we pushed the bill to today.” Harwell was referring to the NRA and their upcoming conference in Nashville as the impetus to schedule the bill and pass it without debate.

Mary Mancini, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party issued the following statement:

“This is just another example of Republican opportunism. They saw a chance to do the bidding of the NRA and didn’t hesitate. Speaker Harwell didn’t even have the courage to vote no after admitting that her constituents were against the bill. This lack of leadership is a hallmark of her tenure as Speaker.

Let me be clear about something, the Tennessee Democratic Party believes in having an honest, open conversation about guns. Part of that conversation is that we strongly believe that guns have no place in parks, especially in parks when children are present during school activities. We can work together to enact commonsense improvements, but when Republicans kowtow to the NRA by stifling discussions, they make it clear that they are more interested in serving radical special interests than the people of Tennessee.”

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25 Mar
0

Good News, Insure Tennessee & Equal Pay

GOOD NEWS ABOUT INSURE TENNESSEE! A resolution sponsored by Democratic Senator Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) Nashville to revive Insure Tennessee passed a Senate subcommittee yesterday. There’s still a long way to go to extend health coverage to 280,000 hardworking Tennesseans, but Democrats are fighting hard to keep it alive.
Tomorrow, the resolution will come before the Senate Health Committee, which has different members than the committee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey rigged to defeat Insure Tennessee last month. There is hope!
And because women in Tennessee lose $7 billion each year due to wage disparity -making anywhere from 77 to 83 cents for every dollar paid to men in similar jobs – Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) and Sen. Sara Kyle (D-Memphis) introduced the “Tennessee Pay Equality Act,” to ensure that employers pay women the same wage as men for the same work. Rep. Clemmons & Sen. Kyle will hold a press conference tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25, at9:00 am at the State Capitol to talk about this very important work.

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19 Mar
1

TN House & Senate Dems Working Hard for All Tennesseans

As the legislative session continues to move forward, I wanted to share with you some of the ways that our Tennessee Democratic legislators are working hard to create opportunities for all Tennesseans:

And this is just the tip of a very big iceberg. Tennessee Democrats have also sponsored bills this year that address issues of elder abuse and elder dignity, domestic violence, minimum wage for tipped employees, higher education for our servicemen and women, protecting investments in public education, expanding voting rights, and of course, expanding Medicaid.

It isn’t easy to pass good legislation on Capitol Hill these days but our Democratic legislators, led by Representatives Craig Fitzhugh and Mike Stewart in the House and Senators Lee Harris and Jeff Yarbro in the Senate, are working hard every day to ensure that Tennessee is a state that treats everyone equally and creates opportunity for all.

I hope you will join me and take a moment today to send an email thanking our Democrats and Democratic leadership in the state legislature – let them know that you appreciate the work they are doing to create opportunity for all Tennesseans.

Email House Democrats / Email Senate Democrats

Email House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh

Email House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Stewart

Email Senate Democratic Leader Lee Harris

Email Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Jeff Yarbro

Thank you!

Mary

Mary Mancini
Chair, Tennessee Democratic Party

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16 Mar
0

Opportunism vs. Opportunity for All

Last week I told you about Tennessee’s Republican legislators and their lack of concern for hardworking Tennesseans. You may be surprised to hear that since then, Republicans have admitted to the world that they are a very self-serving bunch.

Last week, Republican State Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) suggested that State Senate Republicans were meeting only to “pad their expense accounts.”  Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s only defense was to say that instead of focusing on work, House Republicans “adjourn…early to partake in social hour.”

[% member:state default=”Friend” %], we know that Tennessee Republicans are focused on their own business instead of the people’s business, and now even Republicans are admitting that they are using their positions to pad their per diem accounts or partying instead of focusing on building a better future for all Tennesseans.

Tennessee’s Republican legislators have made it clear what their focus is. Now we need you to help spread the word.

 Let your friends know what is going on at the State Capitol

Let them know that while Republicans fight for opportunism, Tennessee Democrats fight for opportunity.

  • Tennessee Democrats believe in smart and effective government.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe it’s time for state legislators to serve the interests of all Tennesseans – not just themselves and their cronies.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe in investing in our future (our kids, our schools, our roads and bridges.)
  • Tennessee Democrats are the party of opportunity for ALLTHEY are the party of opportunism.

Thank you for all you do,

Mary

Mary Mancini
Chair, Tennessee Democratic Party

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11 Mar
0

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Republican Bill Sanderson Fights for Republican Bill Sanderson

Rep. Bill Sanderson (R-Kenton)

Rep. Bill Sanderson (R-Kenton)

 

Chooses to serve himself instead of the Tennesseans that elected him.

Nashville, Tenn. (March 23, 2015) — In what can only be described as a very good week for him, Rep. Bill Sanderson (R-Kenton) passed two bills out of sub committees that would directly benefit his number one constituent – himself.

The first of Rep. Sanderson’s bills, HB0029, protects landlord right over those of the tenants. His second bill, HB0760, benefits winery owners.

Rep. Sanderson owns multiple rental properties across his district and recently had a ribbon cutting ceremony last fall for the opening of his own White Squirrel Winery.

“For Tennessee’s Republican legislators like Rep. Sanderson, it’s business as usual on Capitol Hill,” said Mary Mancini, Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party. “Instead of tending to the people’s business, Rep. Sanderson was able to pass two bills out of committee this week directly benefitting both of his businesses. He and his fellow Republicans continue to serve only themselves without a care for Tennessee’s children, families, and communities.

Two other bills sponsored by Sanderson would also directly impact his winery. HB0635 allows wineries to put on festivals that last longer than the 72 hours the current statute permits. HB0633 exempts wine from sales tax if the wine is manufactured from grapes grown on the same farm.

The Tennessee Democratic Party exists to create an environment where Democrats can be successful and win elections, to promote the ideas and values of the Democratic party, and to have the opportunity to build a better future for all Tennesseans. The TNDP is based in Nashville, TN.###

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11 Mar
2

Us vs. Them

For Tennessee’s Republican legislators, it’s business as usual on Capitol Hill. Instead of tending to the people’s business, they’re serving only themselves and their radical beliefs without a care for the destruction they heap upon children, families, and communities. Here’s what they’ve done  in just one month…
  • Rep. Sheila Butt (R-Columbia), the Republican floor leader in the Tennessee House of Representatives, posted on Facebook that it was time for an “NAAWP.” Read more…
  • Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden), Republican chairman of an agriculture committee, is under investigation by both the Environmental Protection Agency and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for code violations and operating his hog farm without a permit. Read more… 
  • Sen. Joey Hensley (R- Hohenwald), who was served an order of protection after his wife said he hit her with his car, and Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville), who was convicted of reckless endangerment in 2013 after an angry run-in with his ex-wife, have filed legislation “dealing with distribution of property during divorce proceedings.” Hensley admitted the bill was based on his divorce. Read more….
  • Seven Republican senators, including Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, made the decision to shut the door to critical healthcare for over a quarter of a million hard working Tennesseans by voting NO to Insure Tennessee. Their vote NO is a direct result of the failure of leadership by Republican leaders Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Speaker Beth Harwell who caved to right-wing extremists instead of standing up for 250,000 working Tennesseans who can’t go to the doctor when they’re sick. Read more….
  • Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) have shown an absolute lack of leadership in refusing to hold any of these members accountable and/or strip them of their leadership positions. Read more…
It’s clear that Tennessee Republicans are unfit to hold any elected office. It’s clear that once given power, they use it to serve themselves and live as though the laws of Tennessee don’t apply to them.
 
But it’s not enough for Democrats to point fingers and laugh at how “crazy” these folks are. It’s not enough for us to shake our heads and ask, “How in the heck do these people get elected?”
 
In Nashville, the state capitol has been overrun by self-serving Republican legislators and special interests so now is the time to let everyone know exactly who these Republicans are and what they stand for. And now is the time to make sure every voter knows who WE are and what WE stand for…
 
  • Tennessee Democrats fight for equal pay, because we know that women make up 51% of the population and still make less than men.
  • Tennessee Democrats fight for equality and opportunity for all because we know that racism and inequality in any form is unacceptable.
  • Tennessee Democrats fight for equal justice because we know that no one is above the law.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe in smart government and effective leadership.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe it’s time our state legislators served the interests of all Tennesseans – not just themselves and their cronies. 
  • Tennessee Democrats believe in a good day’s pay for a hard day’s work.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe that if someone is injured on the job, they should be able to feed their family.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe that all Tennesseans should be able to take themselves or their kids to the doctor when they’re sick.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe in investing in our future (our kids, our schools, our roads and bridges.)
  • Tennessee Democrats believe in strong families and communities.
  • Tennessee Democrats are the party of opportunity for ALLTHEY are the party of opportunism.

Now is the time to start working to take back our state from these radical, self-serving Republicans…so spread the news…DON’T KEEP WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE STAND FOR TO YOURSELVES!

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09 Feb
0

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey Rigged Committee with “Death Squad” To Kill Insure Tennessee

In an overt snub to Governor Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey stacked the State Senate’s Health and Welfare Committee with “no” votes to kill Insure Tennessee, the Governor’s proposed health care plan.

Rather than working with his own party’s Governor on his top legislative priority and providing hardworking Tennesseans with access to quality, affordable health care, Ramsey rigged the Senate Health and Welfare Committee by removing three health care professionals and the bill’s sponsor and replacing them with hand-picking vocal opponents of Insure Tennessee [see attached graphic]. If he had allowed the duly appointed standing Health and Welfare Committee to remain intact and rule on the proposal, Insure Tennessee would have likely passed by at least a 6-3 vote. Ramsey’s crass power play ensured the death of Insure Tennessee.

TNHealthandWelfareThe result of Ramsey’s rigged committee:

• The lives of approximately 280,000 working Tennesseans are now in danger as they will continue to go without health care.

• Billions of dollars of taxpayer money will be lost – money that hardworking Tennesseans have already paid in taxes will now flow to other states to pay for their health care.
• As many as one-third of the state’s hospitals remain in danger of closing, resulting in thousands of lost jobs and endangering rural Tennesseans, who will have to drive several counties away in order to receive emergency care.
• Businesses will avoid those regions of our state where there is no hospital.
Also to be noted is that six of the seven Republican senators who voted to kill Insure Tennessee accept and benefit from health care coverage provided to them by their employer – the state of Tennessee.

It is the height of hypocrisy to not only accept taxpayer-funded health coverage while denying it to others, but also to pretend that the legislative process was fair when it was rigged from the beginning.

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05 Feb
0

A Failure of Leadership

Yesterday was a truly a low point in our state’s history.

With one vote in a senate committee, seven Republican senators made a decision to shut the door to critical healthcare for over a quarter of a million hard working Tennesseans.

The seven Republicans are: Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains, Mike Bell of Riceville, Janice Bowling of Tullahoma, Brian Kelseyof Germantown, Rusty Crowe of Johnson City and Kerry Roberts of Springfield.

But those seven Republican senators didn’t act in a vacuum. The end of Insure Tennessee is a direct result in the failure of leadership by Republican leaders Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Speaker Beth Harwell. It was their failure to lead, their failure to have the courage to stand up to right wing extremists, and their failure to serve 6.5 million Tennesseans that lead to 7 Republican senators making the terrible decision that will devastate the lives of 250,000 Tennesseans for years to come.

Those seven Republican senators showed that they have absolutely no compassion for the 800 Tennesseans who have already died waiting for healthcare expansion.

Those seven Republican senators showed that they have absolutely no fiscal sense byrejecting the one billion dollars in federal funds that Tennessee would have already received with healthcare expansion.

Those seven Republican senator showed that Governor Haslam was wrong when he told our President that Republicans could be trusted to care for “the least of these”.

Tennessee’s Republican legislators have shown they are unwilling to put people first and that they are incapable of running our state.

Democratic Senator Jeff Yarbro, who stood up for Tennesseans by voting for Insure Tennessee in the committee, pointed out the simple fact that Republicans who deny hardworking Tennesseans the healthcare they need are themselves on government funded healthcare for themselves. House Leader Craig Fitzhugh said, “It does matter who governs.” Congressman Steve Cohen said the vote was “Foolish, foolish, foolish. Sad, sad, sad. Sick, sick, sick,” and Congressman Jim Cooper said, “Tennesseans will die and hospitals will close as a result of a cruel state legislature. Rarely in state history have we seen such a devastating lack of leadership.”

As Democrats, we will keep fighting for all Tennesseans, even when tea party extremists celebrate Insure Tennessee’s defeat.

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