Welcome back to the list of things that were said and done by some of Tennessee’s “leaders.” Tennessee state politics should have made it onto CNN a long time ago. The white boy frat party that continues at the capitol is horrifying. Since it has not made it into the national spotlight yet, I thought I’d give you a taste of some of the absurdity. Live from Nashville, TN, it’s Saturday night and a look into Tennessee state politics:
- (Technically this is number 8.) Jeremy Durham. Oh, Jeremy Durham. This animal was accused of sexually harassing twenty two women who worked at the state legislature by text message and physical conduct. Early this year, when he was accused of sexually harassing three women, the speaker of the house handled it by forcing him to resign as House Majority Whip and moving his office across the street. Attorney General Herbert Slatery said that Durham, “pose(s) a continuing risk to unsuspecting women.” For quite awhile, he denied sending text messages and Durham claims that he does not remember sexually harassing anyone. His friend on the hill, Glen Casada, stood up for Durham. Rumor has it that Casada has been sexually harassing women as well. On July 13, 2016, the Attorney General’s special investigation found that Durham had sexually harassed at least 22 women. On July 14, Durham suspended his re-election campaign. No, nobody forced him to resign. No, nobody kicked him out. Yes, it was up to the voters to keep him out of office….. What? In addition to this, he wrote a federal judge seeking a more lenient sentence for a youth pastor convicted of possessing child pornography. AND, although we already know that he is a liar, FEC reports show on a Trump donation form that he labeled himself as the “Fairview city manager,” (he has never been the “Fairview City Manager”). If all of this is not bad enough, he moved his campaign finances into personal accounts and continues to use campaign money for personal purposes. And yes, this man who has sexually harassed over twenty two women is still roaming the streets of Tennessee.
- More info here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jeremy-durham-tennessee_us_5707c9e7e4b0c4e26a227869
- Cameron Sexton, co-sponsored the “therapist bill.” A bill that allows therapists and counselors to be able to deny giving services to LGBTQ individuals… here.
- Senator Todd Gardenhire: Despite being a licensed insurance agent and financial advisor, he denied that he was covered by the state health plan. The state confirmed that he and his adult son were covered by the state health plan. Gardenhire voted to kill Insure Tennessee anyways. Gardenhire co-sponsored the bill known as “Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act,” which funnels millions of dollars in public money out of our public schools and into private schools. He is extremely enthusiastic about bringing the NC transgender bathroom bill to the TN senate. So that will be coming to Tennessee…
- Rep. Matthew Hill. Where do I even begin? He proposed and sponsored two bills that would further restrict abortion in Tennessee. He even plastered an ultra-sound picture of his fetus-baby on a campaign flyer. Hill is a proud member of the “birther” movement and continues to demand that President Obama present a certified copy of his birth certificate. He is a radio talk show host of The Matthew Hill Show and Bible Buddies, in which he discusses many topics such as his opposition to the LGBTQ community and his mission to “defend traditional families.” Just like most of the TN legislature, he opposes Insure Tennessee, despite enjoying the benefits of the state health plan himself. (http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/24/abortion-bills-advance-legislature/70397372/) (http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/tennessee-republicans-get-more-unstable-by-the-day/Content?oid=1201045)
- Rep. Jimmy Matlock opposes the African American community and any use of the word “racist” or “racism.” In an effort to defend his white constituents he noted: “But this issue is not about me; it is about me speaking for a large group of people who are tired of defending themselves against accusations of harboring racist thoughts. They are just families who live in small towns and large cities across this state, working hard, taking care of their families, and enjoying their time together. Occasionally, they read or hear something through the media with which they disagree. This doesn’t mean they must immediately be labeled…These are average Americans, and they are simply scared. Terrified, in fact!” Honestly, I’m not quite even sure where to start except that he needs to do a lot of educating before he begins to represent the black people, who are much more tired than white people. (http://www.knoxnews.com/opinion/words-have-consequences-ep-409411238-359120501.html)
- Rep. Susan Lynn is sponsoring the bathroom bill, the traditional marriage amendment, and a bill to defund Planned Parenthood (even though no state tax dollars have gone to Planned Parenthood since 2009 but she believes that “nothing is more important than the pro-life cause). She is “committed to rejecting the June 26, 2015 SCOTUS decision so that Tennessee’s definition of marriage is the law of the land.” Last I heard, SCOTUS is the highest court in the country, so good luck. And if you thought it could not get any worst, you thought wrong.She also opposes Insure Tennessee, despite her enrollment in the state insurance plan (SHOCKER).
She circulated anti-Muslim material among all lawmakers and throughout the capitol. As a result three workplace harassment complaints were filed against her. She also has strong feelings towards banning refugees from entering this country. (http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2016/03/23/tennessee-bathroom-bill-gets-new-life-house-advances-senate/82183992/) (http://www.newschannel5.com/news/complaint-filed-against-for-anti-muslim-material-distributed-by-representative)
Against all of these state legislators and state senators, there are strong, qualified, and determined women running against them. For more information this is the perfect place to look: https://womenforalloftn.org.
- Hannah K. Dobie