NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Democratic Party issued a statement today condemning state Sen. Jim Summerville (R-Dickson) for the disrespectful comment he made to the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators. On Thursday, the Nashville Scene reported Summerville sent a one-sentence email to state Rep. Barbara Cooper that stated: “I don’t give a rat’s ass what the black caucus thinks.”

“The level of disrespect Jim Summerville has shown to our black leaders is wholly unacceptable. He should apologize immediately to the Black Caucus and to his constituents for his contemptible behavior which is unbecoming of the public office he holds,” said Chip Forrester, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party. “We’ll never make progress on attracting good-paying jobs and addressing the important problems facing our state if our legislators can’t work together in a respectful and civil manner.

“Sadly the Tea Party extremists, like Jim Summerville, who have taken over state government do not concern themselves with cooperation. In fact, it appears they are proud of the divisive and intolerant political culture they have created,” Forrester said. “I would hope Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey would forcefully and unequivocally rebuke these insensitive and inappropriate comments
BACKGROUND: Pattern of Disrespect Toward Tennessee Minorities

“Sen. Jim Summerville Doesn’t “Give a Rat’s Ass What the Black Caucus Thinks” (Updated) – Steven Hale, 08/23/12 [Includes original email and letter]

“Grassroots Republican Groups Accuse Governor of Advancing Shariah Law” – Times Free Press, 8/20/12

“Tennessee GOPer Curry Todd: Illegal Immigrants Will Multiply ‘Like Rats’” – Huffington Post, 11/11/10

Rep. John Ragan Refuses to Vote for Resolution Honoring Influential Black, Female Bishop – Capitol.tn.gov, 3/1/12

“Ridicule Rains on Republicans; Black Refuses to Fire Staffer for ‘Obama Spook’ Picture” – Nashville Scene, 6/15/09

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