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Tennessee Democrats kicked off the 2012 campaign season by celebrating Jackson Day on the Bicentennial Mall in Nashville this past weekend. Our big tent party went into the night as 700 folks from across the state celebrated our past and looked forward to the future.
We honored Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh with the Gov. Ned Ray McWherter Legacy Award for Democrats who have given much of their lives to the Party and to serving the people of Tennessee. Naifeh’s friends state Rep. Lois DeBerry and Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan presented the award.
In her remarks, Lois Deberry brought the crowd to its feet with the fervor and passion that she brings to every event.
Actress Park Overall, whose father Thomas “Jack” Overall was an influential figure in Tennessee politics for many years, inspired all those in attendance with her speech that challenged Republicans in all levels of government for trying to dismantle the healthcare system, turn back the clock on women’s rights, and sell our government to the highest bidders.
The evening also showcased the next generation of Democrats that Speaker Naifeh spoke of in his retirement speech on the House floor. State Senator Eric Stewart, who is running for Congress in the 4th District, gave an impassioned address and told the crowd to be proud of being Democrats, reminding us that we are the party that stands up for working families and children. The pledge of allegiance was led by Credo Amouzouvik, an Iraq War veteran and candidate for the 7th Congressional District.
The purpose of Jackson Day is to not just celebrate our accomplishments, but also to set a course for the future.
Our party has an esteemed past, and a bright future. It’s time to take back the state and country for middle class families and small business. Our party was the built the same way our nation was: by hard work, brick by brick, inch by inch, and by working men and women throughout this country. For all of us, it’s time to get to work: let’s punch the clock and get to it.
Check out what others are saying about Jackson Day:
State Democrats to honor retiring House speaker
MSNBC.com // March 31, 2012 // WSMV
Tennessee Democrats will honor long-time lawmaker Jimmy Naifeh during the Jackson Day celebration Saturday night. Speaker Naifeh will be presented with the Governor Ned Ray McWherter TNDP Legacy Award at the party’s annual dinner tonight. ”Throughout his many years of service, Speaker Naifeh has worked hard to mentor a generation of lawmakers in the art of representing their districts and the people of Tennessee,” said Chairman Chip Forrester. “While they may not have known it at the time, all Tennesseans have benefited from his exceptional leadership in state government during his time as Speaker and as a Representative of the 81st House District.” Naifeh has spent 38 years in the Tennessee House of Representatives, including 18 years as the state’s Speaker of the House. Last week, he announced that he will retire from those positions at the end of his term. Nashville mayor Karl Dean and Clarksville mayor Kim McMillan will be among those in attendance for the ceremony.
TN Democrats tout unity at Jackson Day dinner
The Tennessean // April 1, 2012 // Alex Rogers
Tennessee Democrats gathered to charge up the faithful at the Bicentennial Mall on Saturday evening, in an event that honored the past as it tried to stir up the troops for the future.
In an event that had a strong pro-union flavor, the Tennessee Democratic Party hosted around 700 people at its annual Jackson Day dinner, mixing shots at Republican candidates for president with cries for more pride in what Democrats believe in.
Chairman Chip Forrester led the call for “A New Path Forward,” calling for an “all-inclusive values party” that better incorporates the Latino, black and female contingents of the party. “The re-birth of the Tennessee Democratic Party … begins tonight,” he said.
Forrester took direct aim at presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for his “vision of government that rewards the top 1 percent,” and for wanting to turn Medicare into a voucher system.
Speakers throughout the evening highlighted Democrats’ commitment to education and labor.
The event was largely attended and sponsored by labor factions, including local Teamster and AFL-CIO officials, but also the American Federation of Teachers and United Steelworkers. Forrester, in recognition of those present in the audience, called labor the “backbone of the Democratic Party.”
Actress Park Overall criticized Republicans for making “union” a dirty word.
“The Republicans are stealing your language and they are stealing your country word by word,” she said. Overall said her parents had an AFL-CIO ashtray in her house and shouted out, “Where is the Democratic Party of my parents? Are they here?” to unified cheers and applause.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean provided the opening remarks, using the platform to stress Nashville’s current growth at a time of global economic hardship. He also emphasized the city’s potential in the hands of its youth. “We have a moral obligation that every child — and I mean every child — has a chance to succeed in life, whatever it takes,” he said.
Former state House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, who was honored with the Ned McWherter Legacy Award, believes an emphasis on education separates Democrats from Republicans. Naifeh said on stage that if one watches an education committee meeting, it is evident that “we are looking after the children.” Republicans, meanwhile, are “ruining public education,” he said.
State Sen. Eric Stewart, D-Belvidere, who is running for Congress in November, praised the former speaker and the man the award is named after.
“Ned will be always be my governor,” Stewart said. “Jimmy will always be my speaker.”
Stewart punctuated the night with a fierce call to action.
“We are Democrats, and we need to stop being afraid to admit that we are Democrats,” he said. “We stand up for the working families. We stand up for the children of this world.”
Rep. Lois DeBerry, D-Memphis, a state representative for forty years and the first McWherter Legacy Award recipient, summed up the night’s mood.
“It feels good to be a Democrat tonight,” she said.
Tennessee Democrats Raise Funds
WTVF NewsChannel5.com // March 31, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Tennessee Democrats held one of their biggest fundraising events Saturday night: the 2012 Tennessee Democratic Party’s Jackson Day Dinner.
At Bicentennial Mall in Nashville, party leaders talked about the new path forward as state and presidential elections get closer.
Democrats say they are all about job creations, but Republicans share a different vision.
“[It is] A vision that rewards the one percent of the richest Americans in our country with tax breaks for millionaires and multi-national corporations, a vision that would privatize Medicare, and turn it into a voucher system,” said Chip Forrester, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman.
Democrats also honored Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh. After starting in the Tennessee House of Representatives since 1974, he’s retiring from public office.
Jackson Day: ‘The Re-birth of the Tennessee Democratic Party’ (and memories of the old)
Humphrey on the Hill // April 1, 2012
In a Bicentennial Mall event that had a strong pro-union flavor, the Tennessee Democratic Party hosted around 700 people at its annual Jackson Day dinner, mixing shots at Republican candidates for president with cries for more pride in what Democrats believe in, reports The Tennessean. Chairman Chip Forrester led the call for “A New Path Forward,” calling for an “all-inclusive values party” that better incorporates the Latino, black and female contingents of the party. ”The re-birth of the Tennessee Democratic Party … begins tonight,” he said.
Jackson Day: Democratic celebration and fundraiser
Examiner.com // April 1, 2012 // Catherine Hill
Jackson Day came early this year. Faced with a very challenging campaign season, we need funds to support our “New Path Forward”. Chip Forrester laid out this path for us – a united front with outreach to Latinos, African-Americans, women, and the GLBT community. Our partnership with labor will be critical as we battle for the soul of our country.
Tennessee Democrats gather for Jackson Day
BusinessClarksville.com // April 2, 2012 // David W. Shelton
Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan helped to present the Ned Ray McWherter Legacy Award to outgoing former Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh on Saturday
Democrats from across Tennessee gathered on Saturday at Bicentennial Mall for their annual Jackson Day celebration, where former Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh was presented with the Ned Ray McWherter Legacy Award.
Several speakers throughout the evening honored the outgoing lawmaker with stories of how he guided them in their own careers.
The evening featured a strong representation from Clarksville. Nashville Mayor Carl Dean opened the event with a welcome message, followed by an passionate invocation from Pastor Tommy Vallejos, associate pastor of Faith Outreach Church and Montgomery County Commissioner for District 14.
Credo Amouzouvik, a combat-wounded retired Army veteran and US Congressional candidate for District 7, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Amouzouvik is also the founder and CEO of the Homeffa Foundation, a humanitarian group based in Clarksville.
Naifeh was introduced by Clarksville City Mayor Kim McMillan, who is the first woman mayor of any of the top five largest cities in Tennessee. Prior to serving as Mayor, she served the Clarksville area for 12 years as a State Representative for District 67, the seat now held by Rep. Joe Pitts. McMillan was also the first woman to serve as House Majority Leader in Tennessee.
Longtime Memphis representative Lois DeBerry shook her fists in the air as she urged the crowd to be excited and be ready to fight during the upcoming election year — an attitude, she said, that was held by the honored former Speaker. DeBerry, last year’s recipient of the McWherter Legacy Award, presented the trophy to Naifeh.
Tennessee Democrats Raise Funds
NashvilleNewsPress.org // April 1, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Tennessee Democrats hold one of their biggest fundraising events Saturday night: a 2012 Tennessee Democratic Party’s Jackson Day Dinner. At Bicentennial Mall in Nashville, celebration leaders talked about a new trail brazen as state and presidential elections get closer.
Main Street Journal // April 2, 2012
Tennessee Democrats held their annual Jackson Day Dinner on Saturday. It was notable for the complaints about their treatment by the Republican majority in the General Assembly.
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