Gov. Bredesen stopped off in Knoxville today on the first day of his statewide campaign kickoff. Here are some photos and notes from his speech. (Click images for larger view.)

It was a picture perfect day in terms of the downtown riverside setting at Volunteer Landing, not to mention the perfect weather. All the local media were there. We estimated 150 to 200 supporters were on hand.


Here is Gov. Bredesen arriving to the tune of Rocky Top.

Gov. Bredesen waits as Rep. Joe Armstrong introduces him. (Are politicians trained to spot cameras in the crowd and look right into the lens? Or was this just a lucky shot?)

Gov. Bredesen speaking.

Bredesen started his speech by noting that campaigns are partisan and ugly, but when it's all over everyone has to come together to solve problems. He acknowledged his support from traditionally Republican East Tennessee, and particularly the Democrats of Knox County who helped elect him.

He said he is proud of his accomplishments, which include setting the state back on track, a balanced budget with no new taxes, education reforms, and his work on public safety.

On TennCare, he said that he took painful steps which he recognizes aren't popular. He noted his work on alternatives including Cover Tennessee and Access Tennessee.

He mentioned his Pre-K initiative, and his goal for every parent who wants it to have access to Pre-K.

On jobs, he said the state must work with local governments and local businesses, and applauded the link here in East Tennessee between Oak Ridge and UT.

He spoke of personal responsibility with regards to health care. He said that people should contribute financially to the state's health care system, and contribute by staying healthy.

On education, he asked parents to step up and instill educational values in their children.

His speech was well received by the mostly Democratic crowd. The Pre-K initiative seemed popular.

After the speech, Gov. Bredesen was gracious with his time, shaking hands and talking to constituents.

He also spent time with candidates, including Ursula Bailey, candidate for General Sessions Court Judge, Division IV, who asked me to take her photo with the Governor:

In related news, I spoke with Knox County Commission seat 5-C candidate Tom Salter who attended the event. I congratulated him on the energetic campaign he is running. He says they are working hard and seeing results. He mentioned, though, that the court hearings on term limits and the charter are hampering campaigns such as his. For example, he tried to schedule a debate before a community group in his district, but the group wasn't able to organize it because they don't yet know who he will be running against. He predicted that his campaign and many others will kick into high gear once all the court hearings are settled.

I also spoke with Knox County Elections Administrator Greg Mackay, who needless to say has had a hectic couple of months during which he says his phone has been ringing off the hook. He said things are settling down a little now, and he's just waiting for the final rulings so he can put together a ballot.

Greg also brought one of the new E-Slate voting machines that will be used in the August elections for the first time. He and his crew were demonstrating how to use them to interested voters. They were also registering new voters.

Rachel's picture

So Armstrong made the

So Armstrong made the introduction.  I'm assuming the rest of the Haslam Democrats were there?

R. Neal's picture

Not sure. But we went up to

Not sure. But we went up to the Riverside Tavern afterwards where we ran into Bill Lyons, who was there with Alvin Nance. I asked Bill if he had been down at the Bredesen rally. He seemed shocked that I would ask. I told him damn, I thought I had a scoop.

JustJohnny's picture


There were a lot of Democrats there. When the votes are counted, the "Yellow Dog Dems", the "Liberal Democrats", the "Haslam Democrats" and the "Other Democrats" curiously all count the same. Maybe Greg's new machine can separate us all?

The event was not only to kick in support for the gov, but many other candidates were on hand to pass out stickers as well. There was a strong contingent of Schree Pettigrew volunteers out dishing out the campaign lapel stickers.

R. Neal's picture

JJ, you are correct that

JJ, you are correct that there were indeed a number of Pettigrew supporters there, and a number of prominent local and state Democrats were proudly wearing her colors.

(I wish I could have recognized you and we could have hooked up. I would have bought you a beer at the Riverside Tavern.)

Brian A.'s picture

Good report

Busy day for Bredesen.  He also appointed Gary R. Wade to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Factchecker's picture

Gary Wade

...appointed Gary R. Wade to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Excellent choice!  A longtime Dem who started Friends of the Smokies to fund our national park which has been abandoned by Duncan, Wamp, Frist, Haslams, Baxter, The War Decider, et. al.


Never has the left been so right. 


zoomfactor's picture

politicians and cameras

I agree with the notion that politicians have this innate ability to seek out camera lenses.

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