Let’s Focus on What Matters to Ordinary Tennesseans
Recently the Tennessee State Democrats took to the media and talked about their main priorities for our state. They call it the "6 for ‘16" in Tennessee. It is a focus on things that we all need to see happen in the next year.
We have spent seven years under Governor Haslam and he has been a failure. He has failed to provide quality and affordable education to the most vulnerable Tennesseans. When Tennesseans are worse about their current economic situation than the national average, he has failed to raise the minimum wage to an amount that is livable. And, he has failed to provide us with an effective and accountable government.
Because of his failures and the failures of the Republican supermajority ordinary Tennesseans are hurting.
It was refreshing and exciting to see Tennessee Democratic Party chair Mary Mancini and the House and Senate Democrats stand together this month and speak to ordinary Tennesseans about things that actually matter.
Government accountability, quality and affordable healthcare and making work pay are all issues that the people of Tennessee need and want to see progress on this year.
The Democrats also said they will focus on public money for public schools, access to the ballot box, and criminal justice reform.
In 2011, Tennessee Republicans eliminated 11 oversight committees including the Select Oversight Committee on Corrections. This month the Tennessee Democrats said they are ready to bring back ALL 11 oversight committees. This is a welcomed statement because oversight is the foundation of an effective state government.
If Governor Haslam and Republican legislators want to operate in secrecy and without accountability, then they need to find another other occupation.
Tennessee Democrats believe that all Tennesseans should be able to take themselves or their kids to the doctor when they’re sick. And that is why they have been demanding that the Republicans step up and pass Insure Tennessee. There is no legitimate reason that more than 300,000 Tennesseans should go without much needed healthcare.
It’s time that Tennessee legislators make work pay for every Tennessean and that means raising the minimum wage and passing equal pay for equal work. Incomes of ordinary Tennesseans have flatlined while the incomes of the richest 1% continue to rise.
Lifting the incomes of average Tennesseans is the best way to grow our economy and create jobs. It also means finally ensuring that women get equal pay for equal work.
Tennessee Democrats also called for keeping public money in our public schools and ending this destructive plan for a voucher program.
Vouchers simply do not work in the real world. It has been proven in many cities and states over a number of years.
Equal Access to the Ballot Box is the bedrock of our democracy. The Tennessee Democrats stated in their press conference that they are going to fight to make sure that every eligible voter has the access and ability to vote.
Finally as Memphis State Senator Lee Harris stated so well this month, "We have too many Tennesseans wasting away in jail for nonviolent, minor crimes that involve either drugs or simply an inability to pay fines."
It’s time that the elected officials in Tennessee get back to working for the ordinary people of Tennessee. It’s also time that the people of Tennessee ask themselves which party stands for and with them.
Is the Republican Party that spends all their time pandering to the special interest and their millionaire donors. Or, is it the Tennessee Democrats who have laid out a full plan of ideas to help ordinary Tennesseans and grow our state’s economy?