When I go to bed tonight, I will finish my first week as your new chairman of our Tennessee Democratic Party.
I've done real work before - hauling fertilizer and hay, tending cattle,doing construction. What I'm doing now is not real work; it's a real privilege. It's a privilege to work with our great staff of Tennessee Democrats. And they are all in here today working on a Saturday.
Why would the staff be working so hard 640 days from the next General Election? Because we must take our state back from the radical and reactionary Republican politicians in the legislature and U.S. Congress.
Tennesseans want common sense, not nonsense. We want leaders working for good-paying jobs, better schools and affordable health care, not radical laws that would force a rape victim to bear her attacker's child or a cancer-stricken woman to die, not giving away taxpayer dollars to huge out-of-state for-profit companies that condemn our children to a weak education and poor future, not callous laws that would punish poor families when children struggle at school.
I grew up down the street from then-Speaker Ned McWherter. After the people kindly elected me to his House seat, I served 10 years in the House and 16 in the Senate, I have seen the legislature change, and not for the better.
Since the service of Governor McWherter, and more recently, Governor Phil Bredesen, we've gone from common sense to nonsense. We've gone from being named the best managed state in the nation to being the most ridiculed state. We've gone from being praised in national publications to being lampooned by late night comedians. It doesn't help Tennesseans
when people across the country and around the world -- including business leaders who could bring jobs here -- read about the never-ending nonsense in our legislature.
Tennesseans deserve better.
We've got real challenges in this state, but also real opportunities. I am filled with optimism and hope for our future. The Democratic Party always has led the way in Tennessee, and we will do it again!
Tennessee needs Democrats to lead again. But first we have to win elections. And the three keys to electing Democrats are
hard work, hard work and hard work. We have got to be committed to working hard at sharing our values, values that for many of us come straight from Scripture -- caring for the least of these, loving all our brothers and sisters, and
being good stewards of our land and our children's future.
Those are the values we lift up, those are Tennessee values.
As your chairman, I will work with you to make sure the Tennessee Democratic Party serves and makes a difference in people's lives.
Thank you so much for the privilege and the opportunity to work with you and for you.
Working together, we will see that Democrats lead Tennessee again.
Tennessee Democratic Party
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