Archive for April, 2011

Winning?

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Only one word can describe the latest move by the Tennessee GOP: Arrogance.

tngop-sheen

On Thursday, the Tennessee GOP announced it would be running a statewide radio ad called “Winning.” The spot featured the irrational and senseless Charlie Sheen, who lost his kids because he abused drugs and alcohol and mistreated women.

Is that what the GOP calls winning?

Tennessee Republicans voted to end Medicare for seniors and are passing laws that send Tennessee schools back to the Stone Age — broken promises to people who have worked their whole lives and an increasingly uneven playing field for rural families and working people.

Is that what the GOP calls winning?

Those aren’t Tennessee values. Show Tennessee Republicans we won’t let them get away with this.

Can you give $5, $10 or more today to help us fight back?

While they’re taking direction and handouts from big corporations, we rely on grassroots Democrats like you to show our strength and to be a true force for progress. Every gift – no matter how small – helps us put Republican seats in play.

And we’re going to go after them for this. They’re playing games with people’s livelihoods. We have got to stand up to their ideologically driven nonsense.

Winning?

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Only one word can describe the latest move by the Tennessee GOP: Arrogance.

tngop-sheen

On Thursday, the Tennessee GOP announced it would be running a statewide radio ad called “Winning.” The spot featured the irrational and senseless Charlie Sheen, who lost his kids because he abused drugs and alcohol and mistreated women.

Is that what the GOP calls winning?

Tennessee Republicans voted to end Medicare for seniors and are passing laws that send Tennessee schools back to the Stone Age — broken promises to people who have worked their whole lives and an increasingly uneven playing field for rural families and working people.

Is that what the GOP calls winning?

Those aren’t Tennessee values. Show Tennessee Republicans we won’t let them get away with this.

Can you give $5, $10 or more today to help us fight back?

While they’re taking direction and handouts from big corporations, we rely on grassroots Democrats like you to show our strength and to be a true force for progress. Every gift – no matter how small – helps us put Republican seats in play.

And we’re going to go after them for this. They’re playing games with people’s livelihoods. We have got to stand up to their ideologically driven nonsense.

We Need to Hear from You

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

We need to hear from you. We cannot shape the direction of the Tennessee Democratic Party without your input.

Click the Logo to Take the Tennessee Values Survey

 

So we put together a survey to get your thoughts. It will only take a few minutes, and it will ensure your voice is heard.

Can you take a second to share your feedback?

Your ideas will help Democrats fight for rural folks and working people so that there are jobs and educational opportunities for all Tennesseans.

Click here to fill out the Tennessee Values Survey now.

We’ll announce the results of this survey on May 21 at the Tennessee Values Summit in Jackson, Tenn. Please join us and Democrats from across the state to discuss our values and start laying the groundwork for 2012.

Register to attend the Summit by clicking here.

Thanks for your hard work and your feedback.

 

Democratic Businessman Mike McWherter Launches “Out of the Blue”

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

April 20, Democratic businessman Mike McWherter rolled out a daily news service for Tennesseans looking for news that covers the fight to provide opportunity for all Tennesseans.

We’re excited that Mike is using his strong voice to speak to these important issues.

You can read the announcement and sign up to receive emails from McWherter’s new website BlueTN.com:

Tomorrow you will be receiving a daily e-mail from me titled “Out of the Blue.” It is designed to summarize the “Daily Buzz” of events happening around the state. It is not designed to be an “editorial,” but rather a short version of comments by others from around the state on current affairs. Of course, with the legislature in session, many of the comments will center on their activities for now. My hope is this information will be useful in generating “coffee shop” talk throughout our state and provide you with commentary to engage in meaningful dialogue with your friends and acquaintances. Please feel free to forward this information onto others with whom you wish to share.

During my campaign for Governor, I realized a need to capture traditional and new media content in an easily accessible format to measure the thoughts of various constituencies. I am truly grateful to my supporters from the gubernatorial campaign, and in launching this communication tool, my goal is to help keep them informed. Many of you may be like me in finding it difficult to have the time to navigate all the different sources available online. This is an attempt to summarize the “daily buzz” from around the state. Trace Sharp, former newspaper editor and social media expert, has graciously agreed to staff this effort. I hope you find it useful and informative.

So many candidates walk away and “fold the tent” following their races. I want to remain an active Democrat and do everything I possibly can to promote the values our party. Due to the recent illness of my father, Governor Ned McWherter, we were forced to delay this venture, but now we are moving forward. Let me assure you, this is not an attempt to usurp any efforts by our leadership, but merely to help enhance communication efforts. United we can stand and develop an environment in our state which serves everyone, not just a privileged few.

To sign up to receive Out of the Blue use the form on the right.

Sincerely,

Mike McWherter

Al Gore to Host Unity Breakfast for TNDP

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

You are cordially invited to a

UNITY BREAKFAST

Democratic Leaders Uniting to Support the Tennessee Democratic Party

 

With The Honorable Al Gore

Friday, April 29, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.
CABANA Restaurant
1910 Belcourt Ave., Nashville, TN

Admission:  $250 per person

Purchase tickets: Unity.tndp.org

Co-CHAIRS:

Rep. Jim Cooper,
Rep. Steve Cohen,
Gov. Phil Bredesen,
Rep. Lincoln Davis,
Rep. Bart Gordon,
Rep. John Tanner,
Mayor Karl Dean,
Mayor AC Wharton,
Mayor Daniel Brown,
Vice-Mayor Diane Neighbors,
Metro Nashville Council Members: Megan Barry, Tim Garrett, Jerry Maynard & Ronnie Steine,
Mike McWherter,
TNDP Chairs: Randy Button, Will Cheek, Jane Eskind, Houston Gordon, Doug Horne, George “Buck” Lewis, Dick Lodge, Gray Sasser, Bobby Thomas & Bob Tuke,
TNDP Vice Chair Elisa Parker, TNDP Treasurer David Garrison and members of the TNDP Finance Council

 

PARTY SUSTAINERS: Bill Freeman & Olan Mills II

 

FREE for Finance CouncilGovernors Roundtable members plus guest. Finance Council members give $1,000 a year to the TNDP. Payment plans of $250/quarter or $85/month are available.

 

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Lee Levine by email at lee@tndp.org or call (615) 327-9779.


Apply for a Summer Internship with the TNDP

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Young people in Tennessee have never had less of a voice at our state capitol.

At a time when 1 out of 6 young people are out of work, Republicans have turned a deaf ear to their concerns by cutting investments in education, college and the economy.

Now is the time for a new generation of Tennesseans to step up and lead.

The Tennessee Democratic Party is looking for young people to join our summer TNDP Student Internship Program. Help us fill our program by sharing this link with someone who may be interested:

Online Application: Click Here

http://www.tndp.org/page/internships-1

Please share this page with a friend

This summer the TNDP will begin training the next generation of political leaders — people who will make a difference by helping to elect strong candidates and strengthen our democracy in communities throughout Tennessee.

The TNDP Student Internship Program provides students of all levels and recent graduates an opportunity to play a hands-on role in politics.

TNDP Summer Interns will gain political leadership experience in areas such as grassroots organizing, fundraising, data management and campaign communications. Former TNDP interns have gone on to work on political campaigns, for government and have run for public office.

We’re looking for individuals who are ready to build the framework to turn Tennessee blue in 2012 and elect leaders who stand up for students entering the work force.

We have began interviewing for the program and space is limited. So don’t wait to contact us if you are interested in applying or know a student who would be perfect.

We are looking for interns who will commit to 20-40 hour/week. Please contact Kate Dobbins at (615) 327-9779 or by email at kate@tndp.org if you have questions.

Tenn. Republicans Vote to End Medicare, Abandon 1 Million Tennesseans

Friday, April 15th, 2011

NASHVILLE – Chip Forrester, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, issued the following statement in response to the House of Representative’s vote today to end Medicare as a part of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget:

“There are more than 1 million Tennesseans on Medicare, and 80 percent of them are over age 65. This budget shreds the contract that this country has with Tennessee seniors after a lifetime of work. We promised seniors that the cost of health care and long-term care would not bankrupt them and their families in their retirement. By ending Medicare, this plan will force seniors to pay more out of pocket and negotiate with private drug and insurance companies. By slashing Medicaid it takes away the last protection for seniors late in life.”

Tennessee’s Republican Congressional delegation voted unanimously in favor of passing the bill.

Facts

“House of Representatives Votes To End Medicare!” | Forbes.com | April 15, 2011

Tennessee’s Republican delegation votes to end Medicare | U.S. House Clerk | accessed April 15, 2011

Tennessee: Medicare Population Demographics | statehealthfacts.org | accessed April 15, 2011

 

TNDP Announces The Tennessee Values Summit on May 20-22 in Jackson, Tenn.

Friday, April 15th, 2011

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Democratic Party will host a statewide conference and workshop for Democrats in Jackson, Tenn. on May 20-22.

TVS

Bringing One Tennessee Together

The Tennessee Values Summit will be the first step in 2011 the party takes to refocus on its “ground game,” said Chip Forrester, chairman of the state party.

“Tennesseans have a long history of engaging with one another at town hall-style events,” Forrester said. “So we’re going back to our roots. We’re going to bring Democrats together, discuss our values and talk about the best ways to communicate why we choose to stand up for rural folks and working people.”

The Tennessee Values Summit will take place at the Doubletree Hotel in Jackson. Democrats will open the Values Summit with a reception 7 p.m. Friday. The conference will conclude at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Democratic leaders and organizers from around the state will be in attendance.

Programs and workshops will educate Democrats on how best to message current issues and provide strategies for grassroots party building in their communities.

In an email to supporters, Forrester explained the program: “Learn how we plan to take back Tennessee for rural folks and working people by showing our families, friends and neighbors what it means to be a Democrat.”

The Summit motto is: Bringing One Tennessee Together.

Online registration is now open. For more information visit: http://www.tndp.org/page/the-tennessee-values-summit.

A copy of TNDP announcement:

Friend,

It is with great excitement that we invite you to join us in Jackson, Tenn. on May 20 – 22 for the Tennessee Values Summit 2011 presented by the Tennessee Education Association.

To bring one Tennessee together in 2012, we’re going back to our roots.

Join us in Jackson at the DoubleTree Hotel for the Summit to discuss our values and learn how to best communicate our democratic priorities to our friends and neighbors.

Space is limited. Register now to attend The Tennessee Values Summit in Jackson on May 20 – 22.

Learn how we plan to take back Tennessee for rural folks and working people by showing our families, friends and neighbors what it means to be a Democrat.

Take advantage of a spirited program designed to educate and inform Democrats on how to best message current issues. Hear from our Democratic “Young Guns” and organizers and connect with fellow Democrats from around the state.

We’ll kick off The Tennessee Values Summit at 7 p.m. Friday, May 20 with a Welcoming Reception. Panels and meetings will begin Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Your $40 registration fee includes admission to the welcoming party and four meals. Applications for free registration are available based on need, email kate@tndp.org for details.

Sign up to attend The Tennessee Values Summit today.

If you have any questions, please contact the Party offices by calling (615) 327-9779.

Please join us in Jackson as we work hard to bring back opportunity for Tennesseans.

Chip Forrester
Chair, Tennessee Democratic Party

Tenn. Republicans Pass 21st Century Poll Tax

Thursday, April 14th, 2011
Sneaky Seniors

Making voting harder: Republicans institute 21st century poll tax with photo ID requirement.

Republicans in the Volunteer State said today loudly and of nearly one accord: Beware of sneaky senior citizens and their sneaky voting.

On Thursday Republicans in the state House approved a bill that forces voters to show photo identification at the poll — instead of just being able to show your voter registration.

Democrats in the House, and Senate prior to Thursday, tried their best to improve this bill so it wouldn’t be such an affront to seniors’ and others’ right to vote. But Republicans were not interested in protecting the voting rights of Tennessee seniors.

They went ahead and passed a modern day poll tax that requires you to pay the state for an ID card before you can vote. This bill will discourage voting — especially among groups of people who are poor, elderly and indigent.

It puts another hurdle between citizens and the ballot box and is probably unconstitutional, according to our state Attorney General.

Offering a solution to which there is no problem (and making the situation worse for everybody) is a condition that plagues this Republican-led General Assembly.

Jeff Woods at The City Paper has the details:

Democrats contended the bill is intended to make it harder for their traditional constituencies to vote, disenfranchising poor, elderly and minority voters who may not have photo IDs.

They pointed to a formal opinion state Attorney General Bob Cooper issued this week. Because the legislation includes no provision to pay for photo IDs for voters who don’t have them, Cooper said the requirement “unduly burdens the right to vote” and “constitutes a poll tax,” a fee making voting uneconomical for poor people.

“Our oath, of course ladies and gentlemen, prevents us from voting on a bill that is unconstitutional,” House Democratic leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley told the House. …

Democrats offered amendments to make the photo IDs free of charge or to waive the requirement for the elderly and others.

“We’ve made it from the days of Andrew Jackson to today in Tennessee electing people without having to show a photo ID,” Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, said. “I’ve looked around to see if there’s any evidence of widespread fraud by seniors in elections. I haven’t found any. No one so far in this debate has shown any evidence of any need to change the system we now have in place.”

 

Remembering Ned Ray McWherter

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

By Chip Forrester, Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party

It’s been said that Ned McWherter was born in a house with a dirt floor that he built with his own two hands.

McWherter

Gov. Ned Ray McWherter

Working on the McWherter campaign in 1986, I heard that quip about a hundred times and most people just chuckled, but with the larger-than-life Ned McWherter, you never knew.

On April 4, we lost a true Tennessee legend whom I was lucky enough to call my boss and my friend.

I first met Ned McWherter at a 7:30 a.m. job interview at the Loveless Café in Nashville. Then Speaker of the House, McWherter was looking for a tech-savvy worker to join his gubernatorial campaign. Well, tech-savvy for 1986.

“They tell me I gotta run a modern campaign, and if I do, I gotta have me some pewters,” McWherter said.

Not knowing if I had heard him correctly, I replied, “Speaker, I’m not sure what pewters are.”

Friendly and plain as before, McWherter explained, “Well, they gotta keyboard and a screen and people type on ‘em.”

“Oh, computers,” I said.

“Yeah, like I said, pewters,” McWherter said.

Luckily, I did know pewters, and I got the job. And, for its time, we ran the most technologically sophisticated campaign Tennessee had ever seen.

In campaigns and as governor, one of McWherter’s unique political skills was being able to envision the whole picture, and the always humble man wouldn’t let what he didn’t fully understand get in the way.

This vision enabled McWherter to accomplish many things as a two-term governor, a 14-year Speaker of the House and a businessman.

People were proud of McWherter’s achievements, and the people loved him because he was a genuine friend.

And in McWherter, the common man had a true ally.

A man who believed struggling people could lift themselves up if they had job opportunity. A man who believed our children deserved the best educators and the best classrooms to learn in. And a man who believed a rich and civilized society would do well to care for the poorest among us.

McWherter was a mountain of a man with an even bigger heart.

McWherter banner

Compassion. Care. Nowadays these are dirty words — political taboo — dangerous to even talk about in the halls of government. But it was every bit of who Ned McWherter was.

When Ned McWherter, a lifelong Democrat, became governor in 1987, times were tough. Almost half our counties — 42 out of 95 — had double-digit unemployment.

The son of sharecroppers and a self-described college dropout, McWherter could relate to tough times. So as a candidate for governor, McWherter promised to focus on the one thing that could deliver hope and dignity to struggling Tennesseans – jobs.

And deliver he did. When McWherter left office in 1995, only one Tennessee county had an unemployment rate above 10 percent.

Compare McWherter’s story to today: Tennessee now has 76 counties grappling with double-digit unemployment and a Republican governor who talked about “jobs in every county,” but has been unwilling to tackle the problem with any public show of resolve.

Other conservative leaders in the General Assembly have flat out said, “the government doesn’t create jobs.”

But Ned would have none of that hogwash. He had a vision of what this state could become, and he never lost sight of it, nor would he let others keep him from realizing that vision.

McWherterIn his time as governor, McWherter championed sweeping education reforms, ushered in 21st century school improvements, brought health care to those who needed it most and built miles and miles of roads that helped us foster business development throughout the state.

We saw government make a difference in the lives of citizens — a tide that lifted all boats.

Arguably the most successful and influential governor in Tennessee’s long history, McWherter shaped the state to be a government of the people, for the people.

The will to mold government to do good in the lives of man is largely missing from today’s conversation.

The majority of the work being done in Nashville today is focused on doing favors for big campaign contributors, stripping away the rights of teachers and other embarrassing distractions.

coffee and wafersWhile there will never be another Ned McWherter, we still have a need for leaders coffee-waferswho will act on Ned’s values and drive the government to do the people’s business.

On the campaign trail, McWherter famously said, “Just give me a cup of coffee and four vanilla wafers, and I’ll be ready to go to work.”

There’s still plenty of work to be done for education, health care and, most of all, the state economy. And if our elected leaders are willing, I’ve got a pot of coffee brewing and a full box of wafers ready to go.