Categories
News

What’s Happening in June

Make sure to mark your calendars! We’ve got some great events coming up this month.

Three Star Dinner – Saturday June 22nd at 6pm
We’ve reserved a table at this year’s TNDP Three Star Dinner in Nashville. The Three Star Dinner is the annual fundraising dinner for the Tennessee Democratic Party, underwriting the upcoming year’s programs and projects. This annual celebration attracts national speakers and brings Democrats together to get fired up for the work ahead!

This year’s keynote speaker is Senator Kyrsten Sinema. We’ve got eight open seats at the table so if you’re interested in attending, send us a message to let us know!

June Party Meeting – Saturday June 29th at Noon
Our June party meeting is set for Saturday June 29th at noon. Come out and hear from Jordan Wilkins, the newly elected chair of the  Tennessee Democratic Chairs Association! We’ll talk ideas for our community and plans for growing our local party. 

We’ll meet at the Municipal Auditorium at 110 Elk Avenue South – Fayetteville, TN 37334. If you’re on Facebook, please share our public event for this here!

As always, let us know if you have any questions on any of these events or anything else going on with our local Democratic party.

We hope to see you at one of those events in June!

Categories
Action

ESA School Voucher Bill Updates

Update (May 1st): The conference committee version passes the House 51-46. Despite scare local support and two local boards of education voicing opposition to the bill, both of our representatives – Marsh and Tillis – voted in favor of the ESA voucher legislation.

In the Senate, the bill passes 19-14 with Senator Reeves voting yes. From here, it goes to Governor Lee’s desk to be signed. After that, it’ll most likely be challenged in the courts for parts considered unconstitutional.


Original: After being deadlocked 49-49 on the ESA school voucher bill, our state House passed the voucher bill 50-48 thanks to Representative Jason Zachary, of Knoxville, flipping his original no vote to a yes vote. The Senate version of the bill passed 20-13.

For our own legislators, Senator Reeves along with Representatives Marsh and Tillis voted in favor of the voucher bill.

What’s Next

The voucher bill heads to conference committee next. Then it’ll be back before the House and the Senate for a final vote.

Here’s the issues legislators will focus on in the conference.

That means you should keep calling and emailing our reps!

Sen. Shane Reeves
Email: sen.shane.reeves@capitol.tn.gov
Phone: 615-741-1066

Rep. Pat Marsh
Email: rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov
Phone: (615) 741-6824

Rep. Rick Tillis
Email: rep.rick.tillis@capitol.tn.gov
Phone: (615) 741-4170

If you’ve never talked with your state legislators before, it can be difficult to know exactly what to say. Here’s a few of the common talking points I’ve seen from representatives that voted yes on the House version of the bill.

This legislation creates a pilot program for some of the worst schools and the poorest families that would affect only 2 to 4 counties in the state. These counties have 99% of the failing schools in our state.

Representatives from those 2-4 counties have overwhelmingly voiced opposition to vouchers. Most notably, Knoxville Rep. Jason Zachary only voted yes after he received promises of Knoxville being exempt from the ESA program.

For the representatives of the remaining Tennessee counties to force those 2-4 into voucher programs doesn’t seem like a conservative approach. Local school boards and governments know best what their students need. We’d be infuriated if a representative from Shelby county came into Lincoln County and tried to dictate how to operate our local schools. That’s in essence what we’re doing to those 2-4 counties.

78% of Tennesseans polled are in favor of some sort of ESAs.

This poll comes from American Federation for Children, a pro-voucher organization. A 2018 poll by the same group shows that Tennesseans were opposed to vouchers. A 2017 poll from the same group also shows a lack of majority support for vouchers.

The frustrating part of this AFC 2019 poll is the incredibly small sample size. It was conducted by telephone in a five day period from January 31 to February 4 by Mason-Dixon polling. Only 625 people participated. Our state population is north of 6 million so 625 participants is almost meaningless.

One last point on that poll – the Tennessee State Director of American Federation for Children, Shaka Mitchell, is a former regional director for Rocketship charter schools. We’re getting flawed ESA legislation trying to match up with a single seriously flawed poll. 

Many people from Lincoln County are pushing for us to at least give it a try.

Lincoln County is overwhelmingly against this ESA legislation. It’s received opposition from both Republicans and Democrats. It’s been opposed by both our county board of education as well as the city board of education. Both our county school director and city school director oppose it.

It does not take any money away from our District. This year we have in our budget $6.5 billion for K-12 education. We’re working hard to continue our commitment to support our District’s great public schools.

Education is the silver bullet. Better education leads to better jobs, more stable families, and improves every area of the community. It reduces unemployment in communities, reduces dependence on public assistance programs, reduces crime, improves public health, and increases civic engagement. If we want a better community – a better Lincoln County – we need to focus our resources on public schools instead of redirecting that money elsewhere.

Again, it’s a pilot program. Let’s see if it works.  If not, we can stop it.

ESAs and school vouchers aren’t pilot programs any longer. They’ve been around long enough, tested in enough states, and researched enough to know the results.

Education professor Martin Carnoy analyzed 25 years of research and found that voucher programs do not significantly improve test scores. Professor Carnoy says vouchers distract from proven policies and programs with proven impact on test scores and graduation rates.

Here’s that research.

A few other things to keep in mind:

  • Be polite and direct. This isn’t a time to wander around the point. Their time is valuable just like your time is.
  • Be prepared. Do your homework and know what you’re talking about. Have the issue outlined along with various ideas for solutions.
  • Don’t go it alone. Talk with friends, family, and others in the community about the issue you’re trying to raise. Have them contact public officials with you.
Categories
Action

We Need More People Involved

In this year’s General Assembly, state legislators considered a slate of hateful legislation that discriminates against the LGBTQ community. Legislators introduced 12 different bills with plans to ban gay marriage, allow adoption agencies to decline placing children with LGBTQ parents, and more.

After seeing these anti-LGBTQ bills moving through the General Assembly, businesses like Amazon, Hilton, Lyft, the Tennessee Titans, Nike, and Warby Parker wrote an open letter to Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally and Speaker Glen Casada opposing the legislation.

“Put simply, these bills do not reflect the values of our companies. We are disappointed to see the legislature consider discriminatory legislation. The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that bills that target LGBTQ people are bad for our employees and their families, bad for our customers and bad for business. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development.”

In response, Speaker Casada said, “Tennessee provides a fertile ground for them to make money and be prosperous. And that’s what they should do. They should take care of their stockholders and not get so much involved in politics.”

“Don’t get so much involved in politics.”

It’s an old refrain from politicians looking to maintain their grasp on power. We see it when teachers share their experience with school vouchers and are told to stick to teaching. We see it when students advocate for gun safety and are dismissed with vague sayings of being too young. I never imagined that a pro-corporation Republican would tell businesses to “not get so much involved in politics” but even that line has now been crossed.

The reason politicians use the “don’t get involved” refrain is simple – if you’re paying attention, it can impact their chances of re-election. The more attention paid to the bad actions a politician takes, the more voters and especially donors start to notice. “Don’t get involved” really means “don’t take away my power”. And politicians who pass hateful legislation deserve to lose every bit of power they have.

We’re at a defining moment in history. That’s why Democratic parties across Tennessee work so hard at registering voters, running candidates, and getting everyone involved in politics at every level.

For our government to work best, we need more people involved in politics, not less.

Categories
Action

Rally at the Capitol Against School Vouchers

Lots of folks have been asking how they can best voice their opinion on vouchers to make sure our legislators hear. You’ve been calling. You’ve been emailing. And now – you can rally!

On Monday April 29th at 12 noon, all those who stand for a quality public education for all Tennessee children and against vouchers are gathering at the state capitol in Nashville for a rally. We’re going to let our legislators know we are against vouchers in Tennessee.

If you need a carpool, message Mesha Twyman at 931-993-7145.

If you’d rather meet us in Nashville, we’ll meet at 12:00 noon in front of the Cordell Hull Building (425 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37243) and go through security. Then we’ll march down floors 4,5,6,7 at Cordell Hull and head over to fill the TN Capitol.

We’ll fill the balconies at the Capitol in session, and those of us outside the chamber will do chants all through session!

This is our last chance to show them how much this matters to us. So if you can make it, please be there!

Categories
News

Weekly Update for April 25th

Welcome to the weekly update newsletter for our Lincoln County Democratic Party!

Each week, you’ll get an update on what’s happening in our community. You’ll also see upcoming events and know what action you can take right now to make our community better.

Focus on Legislation – Vouchers

After being deadlocked 49-49 on the ESA school voucher bill, our state House passes the voucher bill 50-48.

In an unusually long vote that involved much arm twisting from the Republican leadership, Rep. Jason Zachary, of Knoxville, flipped his original no vote to a yes vote. Our own county representatives – Marsh and Tillis – also voted yes.

The voucher bill also passed in the Senate 20 – 13 with Senator Reeves voting in favor.

It’s now headed to conference to work out the differences between the two bills. That means the House and Senate will vote on it again. And it means we have to keep calling and emailing our reps – Senator Reeves, Representative Marsh, and Representative Tillis.

Head here to find their contact info.

A Look at the Research – Young Voters

CNN’s last town halls focused on questions from young voters. The reason is clear – the youth vote will have an even bigger impact in 2020 than it did in 2016.

For a good look at what 18 to 29 years old think about the current political landscape, check out the new research from Harvard here.

Upcoming Events – TNDP Elevate Summit

2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Obama HUD chief Julián Castro will be the keynote speaker at the TNDP Elevate Summit 2019 on May 17-19! The Summit will include 3 days of workshops, meetings, speakers, networking, and more to elevate Tennessee Democrats and the values that we share.

We’ve got a group from our community headed to Murfreesboro to learn and connect with other parties around us. If you’d like to attend, please let us know by Monday April 29th!

Categories
Action

Want an easy way to help out? Host a house party!

If you’re looking for an easy way to help out the Lincoln County Democrats, consider hosting a house party!

Hosting a house party is a great way to bring new people on board and get them excited about our local Democratic party. Some of the best ideas come from these settings. These types of informal events really get things going, especially in off-election years like 2019.

Hosting is easy. We’ll help you every step of the way. And you’ll be taking that next step in making our community better for everyone.

Ready to host one? Send us a message so we can make it happen!

Categories
Action

Take Our Listening Survey

We recently held our reorganization meeting and the new leadership team is ready to rock and roll. But we need your help!

Your voice and ideas are critical as we craft strategic plans for the next few years. We’ve put together a Listening Survey to help collect those thoughts.

Take the Survey Here ->

It’s short so shouldn’t take too much of your time. And by filling out that survey, you’re helping to ensure we’re focused on the right work!

Categories
Action

We can be whatever we have the courage to see.

What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? What would the future look like? The Intercept presents a film narrated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and illustrated by Molly Crabapple.

Categories
News

Welcome to the Lincoln County Democrats new website!

This is our new home base for everything happening locally. If it’s going to affect you and others in our community, you’ll find out about it here.

As you look around the new site, you’ll see information on the party, updates on what’s happening, and ways to get more involved.

If you’re not active in our local party yet, now’s a great time to get involved! We’re building a community organizing team focused on making Lincoln County better for everyone. That includes people that knock on doors, call our politicians, and even run for office – people just like you who will continue to grow our community for the next generation.

Browse around a bit and explore the site. And let us know what you think! Send us a message with your thoughts and feedback.

We’re glad you stopped by and look forward to building a better community right here in Lincoln County!

Categories
Action

Bill to regulate voter registration drives with civil and criminal penalties passes the House.

In the last election cycle, the Tennessee Black Voter Project registered close to 90,000 new voters here in Tennessee.

In response, the Republican-controlled Tennessee House voted to make us the first state to criminalize voter registration efforts.

Marian Ott, president of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, put it best:

“Supporting election integrity and citizen access to the ballot has been a hallmark of the mission and work of the League of Women Voters for almost 100 years. While the League too had concerns about the 2018 events, this bill – which criminalizes and sanctions numerous registration drive activities – is the wrong way for Tennessee.”

This bill (SB971/HB1079) now heads to the Senate for their consideration. Now is the time for action – contact our state senator Shane Reeves.

Call his office at 615-741-1066 or email sen.shane.reeves@capitol.tn.gov.

Send letters to:

425 5th Avenue North
Suite 752 Cordell Hull Bldg..
Nashville, TN 37243

Ask Senator Reeves to vote no against this bill unless changes are made based around the League of Women Voters recommendations here!