March 4, 2019 (NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini issued the following statement following Governor Bill Lee’s first State of the State Address:
“I don’t know which part of Tennessee Governor Lee is seeing with his “own eyes,” but he’s got on some rose-colored glasses. He’s not seeing the Tennessee where disparities in income and public education are growing wider. He’s not seeing the Tennessee where rural hospitals are collapsing. He’s not seeing the Tennessee where a staggering 40% of cannot pay for the basics of a middle class life.
“Governor Lee needs to ask the people of Ducktown and Copperhill, who are living without an emergency room for the first time in 50 years, if they are feeling “hopeful, prosperous and strong.
“Instead of making a commitment to heal our dysmally-funded public schools, he made commitments to undercut public school funding with a private school voucher program.
“Lives have already been lost due to our unsustainable rural hospital closure crisis. The overwhelming majority of states have prevented the same crisis that is devastating our rural communities by expanding Medicaid under Democratic and Republican governors. Instead of following their lead, he revealed tonight that appeasing State House Republican lawmakers is more important than making sure their rural constituents have access to a nearby emergency room.
“Don’t say you want to improve our mental health system, opioid epidemic, and healthcare outcomes as long as you reject viable answers just to preserve political capital.”