RESPONSE: Mark Green & Co. Are the Real “Radicals”

Justin Kanew ran for Congress against Rep. Mark Green in the 7th District in 2018. He wrote this in response to Green’s op-ed in the Tennessean this week, where Green asked: “Are the Democrats Ok With The Party’s Leftward March?”

First of all – Hi, Mark! Been a while. I haven’t seen you since you were refusing to debate me in our congressional race.

Since then we saw each other in Franklin, where you accused me of falsely accusing you of leading the fight against Medicaid expansion (despite your own endorsement saying you did),  while also saying it was wrong of me to point out that you did it while declaring government programs like Medicaid “keep people from a saving knowledge of who God is”.

These “Radical” statements are all on video… the tape doesn’t lie…


What makes it even more unconscionable is that you yourself were on a state health care plan. But I digress.

I’m writing here to answer the question you just posed in the Tennessean, where you asked: “Are the Democrats Ok With The Party’s Leftward March?”

You must’ve sat down to write that after your grandstanding at the Michael Cohen hearing, where you oddly didn’t seem to care at all about the multiple crimes the president may have committed – which most Americans believe he has.

Sorry, there I go digressing again.

Ok, let’s get down to it. I’m here to address your question. In short, the answer is a resounding YES.

YES, I’m ok with Democrats attempting to address the very serious problems of Gilded Age levels of inequality and climate change, which your party continues to claim is a hoax on behalf of the billionaires who finance your campaigns despite the fact that their own science has been telling them climate change is real for decades.

(Say hi to the Kochs for me, by the way. Maybe you’ll see them at your next ALEC meeting.)

You and I both just ran for congress in TN-7. If you were looking out the window as you went from photo op to photo op you may have noticed the harsh truth that not every county in Tennessee is Williamson County.

Rural Tennessee is hurting. But instead of doing everything within your power to help keep uninsured Tennesseans and rural hospitals afloat through medicaid expansion, or extending a helping hand to regular folks through a living wage, real tax relief, standing with unions, etc. – you mock every effort to help everyday Tennesseans as “socialism”.

Let’s be clear: “Socialism” is literally “a government takeover of the means of production”.

Nobody is advocating for that.

What I and almost every progressive I know actually want is to level the playing field and stop the over-concentration of wealth and power you and your pals facilitate at every turn.

You mock the Green New Deal, but I’ll take an over-ambitious plan to deal with the harsh realities we face over a corrupt deal with the Big Everything devil any day of the week. (Reminder: One of us refused PAC money of any kind during our race, and it wasn’t you.)

One can only imagine what you would have said about FDR’s New Deal, which most of your constituents have greatly benefitted from for generations, which helped bring us OUT of the Great Depression – a depression outrageous levels of inequality and policies like the ones you support helped get us into.

A refresher: The New Deal included the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA)…

…It provided support for farmers, the unemployed, youth and the elderly…

…It included new constraints and safeguards on the banking industry… and efforts to re-inflate the economy after prices had fallen sharply…

You would’ve HATED it.

As for the specifics of the Green New Deal you mock, let’s talk about what you actually said:

“The visionaries behind this massive bill are hoping to eliminate air travel, gut and rebuild every building in America, eliminate 99% of cars, eliminate nuclear energy and ban affordable energies like natural gas.”

This is obviously a childish over-exaggeration and mischaracterizes it completely. Hard not to wonder if you’ve even actually read it.

The Green New Deal isn’t a bill. It’s a non-binding resolution. A set of goals. A starting point, and a good one.

It’s a broad outline of how to achieve objectively positive, popular outcomes like universal health care, truly full employment, and 100% renewable energy- lifting up people who need lifting up in very real ways.

And you’re against all of it.

Nobody is eliminating planes. Nobody is eliminating cars.

The fact that you have to resort to these untruths about what the Green New Deal actually is just goes to show how little the truth actually means to you.

On Universal Health Care, which every single industrialized nation has except for us, you seem to have no use for it whatsoever. There are a number of different ideas about how to get to Universal Health Care – where people would be able to see a doctor when they get sick rather than a bankruptcy attorney – and you support none of them.

Instead you talk about Health Savings Accounts, which sound nice but do nothing to cover more vulnerable Tennesseans, and you support Block Grants, which do nothing to help rural hospitals (and also happen to be illegal and are opposed by Children’s hospitals).

Meanwhile Tennessee loses nearly $4 Million every DAY by not expanding Medicaid, which was in large part your handiwork, keeping hundreds of thousands uninsured and letting rural hospitals close.

Governor Haslam calls it one of his biggest regrets.

Meanwhile, you mock others who try to actually address the problem.

This is what you – a doctor – had to say about Bernie’s “Medicare For All” plan, which is just one of a number of ideas about how to get to universal coverage:

“Cautious estimates of the cost of Sanders’ plan start at $32.6 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. Even if we implement the most aggressive tax plan to seize and redistribute wealth from the top 1 percent we only raise $720 billion over 10 years, or 2 percent of what Medicare for All costs. And, keep in mind our revenue over that same period will only be approximately $40 trillion – unless, of course, this bill is passed and we tailspin towards a second Great Depression.”

Newsflash Doc, much of this country is already hurting. I know you spent much of our race in hiding, but if you had come to Columbia when Remote Area Medical was in town you would’ve seen hundreds of people lined up in a parking lot at 5AM just to see a doctor- because they literally couldn’t afford to get care any other way.

Remote Area Medical visited Knoxville recently too:

Over half this country can’t withstand a $400 emergency without going broke.

This is not how it should be in the richest country in the world. I challenge you to go to one of these RAM sites and tell these families you’re the one who “led the fight” to keep them from having health coverage.

As for the cost of Medicare For All – you convenienently left out that it would mean NO MORE PREMIUMS OR DEDUCTIBLES, and that what we have now is ALREADY too expensive.

We spend 18% of our GDP on Health Care while the next highest country spends 12%, and that $32.6 Trillion number you cited is actually LESS than the estimates of what our current system costs, according to a conservative think tank’s estimate.

Another gross mischaracterization.

Not to mention the savings that would come from suffering Tennesseans being able to see a doctor before their ailments get worse and more expensive.

I happen to believe we need something like our education system, where everyone has access to a baseline of Medicare or something like it (a la public schools), and then those who can afford it can buy private insurance for themselves (a la private schools).

But we need to cover everyone. It’s time.

Which brings us to your first point, which I’m saving for last because I find it the most gruesome. This is what you said about the Democratic position on “late-term abortion”:

“Let’s begin with infanticide. Are Democrats truly accepting killing babies outside the womb now? A Democrat head of a state, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, last month casually defended it.

He explained to radio listeners that an infant already delivered “would be kept comfortable” while a mother and doctor discussed letting the child die. When pressed for clarification, he explained that the scenario he envisioned involved a baby with deformities.

Assuming he meant Down syndrome or something similar – this is an outrageous claim. If you go and ask people with Down syndrome – they think they’re life is worth living.”

I’ll start with a concession: Northam’s words were clumsy.

No, Democrats should not be for “killing babies outside the womb”, as you put it. And they are not. No Democrat I know is for infanticide.

But nonviable births are not “infanticide”.

Do you know a mother who has gone through something like that, Mark? I do. A good friend of mine.

I challenge you to call her a murderer to her face, if that’s what you believe. She’s in Lawrenceburg. She lives with the pain of losing a child every single day. You’ve met her.

You say “assuming he meant Down syndrome or something similar” – that’s one HELL of an assumption, doc. For a doctor, no less.

You know damn well that’s not what a nonviable birth is.

So yes, Democrats are AGAINST “killing babies outside the womb” and “late term abortions”.

We’re also AGAINST forcing women who have been raped to carry their rapist’s baby to term… and FOR expanding medicaid… and FOR common sense gun safety legislation… and FOR making birth control available… and FOR subsidizing day care for low income women… and FOR raising the wage to a living one… and FOR real tax reform that will put more money in the pockets of your constituents rather than corporations and the wealthy.

These are all “pro-life” positions. You’re against ALL of them.

And every last one of them has the support of a vast majority of Americans.

Who’s the “Radical” again?

You mock these ideas as “socialism”, which either means you failed civics, or you’re not quite as committed to the truth as you say you’d like Michael Cohen to be.

You also mock the idea of giving jobs to those willing to work to rebuild our country, which is another popular idea (as is The Green New Deal by the way!) and you do it in the name of *fiscal responsibility*  while the president you refuse to criticize has exploded the deficit to hand tax cuts to people who need it the least – like him, and you.

So in summation: If a “leftward march” means supporting health care for the people of our district, dealing with inequality in a real way to help real Tennesseans, and addressing the issue of climate change head-on for the sake of our children rather than burying our heads in the sand at the behest of the Koch brothers… then count me all the way in.

It’s not a “leftward” march. It’s a forward march.

I’ll take progress over greed any day of the week.

As this country gets younger and more inclusive, this is what the people want. Just because you call it “socialism” doesn’t make it so.

In the meantime, enjoy the $8 Billion farmer bailout that you for some reason don’t count as “socialism”, and the constitution-shredding *national emergency* you support. I’m sure the Fort Campbell School and other Clarksville-area projects it would take $132 Million from will be just fine.

So if by “Radical” you mean we support drastic measures to address the significant challenges we face, then yes we’re the radicals. But if by “Radical” you mean extremely out of step with the majority of this country – and yes, Tennessee – on most of these issues, then it’s you who is the “Radical”, sir.

Wanting to help people isn’t “Radical”, Mark. “Radical” is blocking medicaid expansion while saying government programs give suffering Tennesseans the opportunity to know God.

And history will not remember the Radical things you’re doing here kindly.

(P. S. – I enjoy that you cited Obama as a centrist at the end of your op-ed. Nice to see you’ve dropped your birtherism act. You, sir, are no John Mccain  – no wonder he helped block your Army Secretary bid. Not even getting to a senate hearing with a Republican-controlled congress? Talk about “Radical”.)

TN GOP Kills Bill To Stop Shaming Hungry Students

Republicans voted 4-2 to defeat The Tennessee Hunger-Free Students Act—a bill with three measures to ensure students can eat school lunches and not be punished when parents fail to pay meal fees or a meal debt.

The bill sponsor Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) said the bill would stop school employees from throwing away a served meal if the student could not pay, and would also prohibit schools from punishing or shaming students who accumulated a meal debt.

Clemmons:

“We certainly do not want to have a child stigmatized or punished in any way for simply incurring a lunch debt at no fault of their own. We have had incidents in recent years in Tennessee where students have been treated adversely or stigmatized in some manner. Whether it’s being made to eat in the principal’s office and eat a peanut butter sandwich by themselves simply because they had a lunch debt, or being prevented from going on field trips because of a lunch debt, we want to prevent these types of things… this is no fault of the child.”

House Bill 0827 would also have required schools to contact a guardian after a student accumulates a debt of five meals or more.

The K-12 Education Subcommittee heard the bill March 6. You can watch the full presentation here.

Here’s a clip of the vote:

Republicans Seemed Supportive, But Then…
Both Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, District 40 (last seen defending her support for the bust of the KKK Grand Wizard bust in the capitol by saying “some of my best friends are black”) and Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, District 83, spoke seemingly in support of children eating school lunches despite a meal debt… but would eventually go on to vote it down.

Rep. White said:

“Any adult who would shame a child over an issue like this—shame on them.”

But then he used his remaining time to fixate on the unspecified cost of school lunches.

The fiscal note included on the original version bill, which White read aloud, said local school districts would lose an unknown amount of revenue on meal debts left unrecovered, but “Otherwise, the fiscal impact of the legislation is considered not significant.”

Rep. Iris Rudder spoke up as she voted, saying she was inclined to vote yes but decided at the last minute that she didn’t understand the bill.

Reps. Weaver, White, and Rudder ultimately voted against the bill—possibly denying lunch to some students who incurred a meal debt.

Shame indeed.

It should be noted that the very same day this bill was voted down for reasons of fiscal responsibility the Tennessean broke a story that under Speaker Glen Casada taxpayers have paid $7 Million more to run the TN House, and that his Chief of Staff is being paid $200,000 per year – a $130,000 raise from last year.

It should also be noted that today Rep. Weaver today gave a passionate speech in favor of the heartbeat bill HB 0077 and adamantly insisted we do everything in our power to protect the sanctity of life – but apparently that doesn’t extend to children of school age.

Rep. Kirk Haston, a coach and teacher out of Lobelville, was the only Republican to vote in favor of the bill.

Rep. John Ray Clemmons, who is running for mayor of Nashville had this to say to The Holler about the failure of his bill:

“With this legislation, we intended to protect children from stigmatization and bullying as a result of incurring a lunch debt. As we all know, incurring a lunch debt at school is no fault of a child and is often not the fault of a parent who is doing the best they can to provide for their child. Under no scenario should a child should be treated differently or adversely or discriminated against in any way if they’ve incurred a meal debt in our state. This legislation would have protected our children. I am disappointed that a few Republicans killed what should have been a non-partisan piece of legislation to protect innocent children.”

How they voted: K-12 Education Subcommittee, March 6;

Representatives voting Aye:
Rep. Kirk Haston, R-Lobelville, District 72
Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, District 41

Representatives voting No against the bill:
Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, District 33
Rep. Iris Rudder, R-Winchester, District 39
Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, District 40
Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, District 83

VIDEO: REP. BYRD, REVISITED

“We will not let Speaker Glen Casada silence dissent in the People’s House.”

Extended Video shows what happened when the peaceful protestors Speaker Glen Casada had dragged from Rep. Byrd’s committee last week returned to another meeting.

(Also featuring Rep. Gloria Johnson calling for Byrd’s resignation, and the silence of State Representatives Ryan Williams and William Lamberth)

Fidel Casada: “Your 1st Amendment Rights End At Your Nose”

Today the Tennessean has a story out from Natalie Allison detailing all the ways Speaker Casada has silenced dissent in recent days, particularly with regard to the admitted sex offender he has appointed to chair of an education subcommittee.

Aside from removing peaceful protestors from that committee, here are just some of the ways the Tennessean reminds us Casada is removing transparency from our legislature:

“Under Casada’s leadership, he’s implemented a rule change limiting debate on the House floor. That led to Casada cutting off the microphones of two Democrats on Thursday as they questioned the speaker.”

Here’s VIDEO of that, in case you missed it:


The Tennessean then goes on to point out:

“Several of his appointed committee chairmen have banned livestreaming from personal devices in meetings. A Casada spokesman has said a similar rule is in place in the House chamber… Last week, Casada hastily left a news conference with the help of state troopers, who subsequently temporarily blocked reporters from exiting the room… In a separate incident, a state trooper was dispatched to a legislative office lobby after a television reporter posed questions to Casada’s chief of staff about Rep. David Byrd.”

Regarding removing the peaceful protestors (watch our video HERE), Speaker Casada again perpetuates the lie that they were a “disruption”.

The Meeting was not in session. The women sat silently when it was. Here’s the proof.

The Speaker then goes on to rewrite the constitution, saying protesting is “good” but:

“in an orderly manner… Your First Amendment rights end at your nose.”

“Your first Amendment rights end at your nose”?

What does that even mean? We don’t remember that part of our country’s original document.

Casada isn’t alone in his efforts to silence the women. Jerry “We All Make Mistakes” Sexton, who engaged with the protestors when the Byrd hearing was in recess, also chimes in in the article, as does Rep. Cameron Sexton, both helping Casada perpetuate the falsehood that the women were a “disruption”.

The women were quiet when the meeting was in session, and as Allison points out in the article the 8×11 pieces of paper they had were within the rules of the legislature.

Here’s the back story on that:

“In December 2017, former House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, implemented a policy that sought to prohibit hand-carried signs and signs on “hand sticks” because they were deemed dangerous… The policy received pushback, including in an online petition, and was altered to allow small letter-sized signs. When the policy was updated in January 2018, Connie Ridley, director of legislative administration, said “large signs on sticks or poles” would be prohibited. The policy has not been updated since then… In recent years, protesters have frequently brought signs with them to criticize or encourage lawmakers to take action on legislation.”

So the signs were allowed, the women were quiet… and these men are completely in the wrong. If you have an issue with dissent being silenced in our country, holler at Fidel Casada HERE. 

Rep. Weaver To KKK Bust Protestors: “Some Of My Best Friends Are Black”

There were more fireworks at the capitol today as police arrested a group of young voters who were again there to protest the bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest, which remains prominently featured in the lobby.

This was not their first clash with Speaker Glen Casada. Previously Casada and Justin Jones, a leader of the group, had a run-in after Chief of Staff Cade Cothren told Jones that the reason Casada wasn’t getting their emails was because Jones had misspelled “Capitol” in the email address.

We obtained proof that this was not true.

This time things escalated further as Jones threw a drink at Speaker Casada as he fled into the elevator.

Physical contact of any kind is something nobody condones. Jones and Jeneisha Harris were both arrested by troopers, and according to Natalie Jones of the Tennessean Jones has been charged with 2 counts of simple assault for hitting Casada and Rep. Debra Moody with his drink, as well as with disorderly conduct.

This confrontation comes on the heels of Casada cutting the mics of Rep. Mike Stewart and Rep. Bo Mitchell today as they were speaking up for a group of peaceful women Casada recently had escorted out of a hearing presided over by Rep. David Byrd. His office says the women were “disrupting the legislative process”. Video shows they were not, and that the hearing was actually in recess when they were taken out by troopers.

Before today’s arrests, Jeneisha Harris had asked Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver to sign their petition to have the bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard removed from the state capitol. Weaver would not sign, defending her position with a familiar line:

“Some of my best friends are black.”

It’s worth noting that Weaver previously used a similar defense when she was called out for posting a Halloween picture of herself with her pastor posing in blackface as Aunt Jemima, which Weaver captioned:

“Aunt Jemima, you is so sweet.”

Weaver’s defense when confronted about that?

“I’m the least racist of anyone. Some of my greatest friends are black.”

Maybe one of those friends should have a little chat with her.

If you agree having black friends doesn’t make supporting having a KKK Grand Wizard’s bust in the state capitol, feel free to holler at Weaver HERE.

And Casada is calling anyone who disagrees with him a “radical”, but if you think wanting a KKK Grand Wizard bust removed from the state capitol and an admitted sexual molester to step down is the opposite of “radical”, holler at Casada HERE.

EXTENDED VIDEO: What Really Happened At The Byrd Hearing

There have been many reports about what happened when Speaker Casada had trooper drag peaceful women out of a committee meeting presided over by Rep. David Byrd, who has admitted on tape to sexually molesting high school girls he coached.

Casadas office released a statement saying the women were “disrupting the legislative process” – here’s extended video that proves that statement to be false.

Please watch and share… and the women would like you to know they will be at the next Byrd hearing Tuesday at 4pm at the Cordell Hull building, and would love you to join them.

VIDEO: WSMV Report on Speaker Casada Having Protestors Dragged Out of Byrd Hearing

Here’s the WSMV News 4, Nashville report last night from Jeremy Finley on speaker Glen Casada having peaceful women removed from a hearing chaired by Rep. Byrd that wasn’t even in session, simply because they made Byrd uncomfortable.

Last we checked free speech was an important part of the constitution:

OPINION: “Speaker Casada, We Need To Talk”

Kristina Richardson is a mother, a veteran, and a rape survivor who lives in Rep. David Byrd’s district. She wrote this in response to an op-ed written by Speaker Glen Casada the Tennessean made a highly suspect decision to publish, which came in the wake of the video we put out last week showing Speaker Casada defending his support for Rep. David Byrd, who has apologized on tape for sexually molesting female high school basketball players he coached.

I write Speaker of the House Glen Casada on behalf of every person who may have seen your op-ed decrying “fake news” and false rape reports under the guise of advocating for sexual assault victims.

I write on behalf of every person who saw the video of you speaking with Justin Kanew, and heard the twisted tapestry of lies and half truths that you wove. I write on behalf of every rape survivor who heard the words come out of your mouth, “If I were raped, I’d move. And hell would hath no fury.”

I am a rape survivor, and I can tell you that your meaning was one hundred percent clear despite the pathetic spinning that you have done. As it seems that you are in dire need of an education on sexual violence in our country, I have taken it upon myself to provide you with some information.

Sexual and domestic abuse are bipartisan issues. They are not part of a left-leaning agenda, as you claim. Republicans, Democrats, men, women, children of all races, religions, sexual orientations, and income levels are victims of this type of violence.

The only political agenda that I have regarding sexual and domestic violence is that they be treated as the heinous crimes that they are, and that the accused perpetrators be thoroughly investigated without bias regardless of their wealth, power, or standing in their community.

In your post, you immediately make sexual abuse a partisan issue. You question why those on “the left” seem to receive less media attention when they are accused of abuse. I can’t answer that for certain, but I do have a theory.

I strongly suspect that there is less attention when Democrats are accused of abuse because they often quickly step down. They know that their constituents will not accept that type of behavior.

When you have a man like David Byrd, who refused to step down even when he was asked by his own party to resign, then this type of situation will obviously remain in the news cycle for quite some time.

And to clarify, we at Enough is Enough TN do our very best to remove abusers from positions of power without concern for political affiliation.

Men are more likely to be the victims of sexual assault themselves than be falsely accused of it. There have been numerous studies done on the subject of false rape reports. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, there are three types of cases that can be classified as “false”:  unsubstantiated, baseless, or false.

Two of these have an element of presumed truthf but not enough physical evidence to prosecute the crime. The third includes accusations that can be proven to be entirely fabricated.

All three of the classifications fall under the umbrella term of a false report despite the fact that a crime may very well have been committed. Even with all of these cases lumped together, the Symposium on False Allegations of Rape estimates the number of false rape accusations is only two to six percent.

And remember – this is very important — many of those cases likely did involve an actual sexual assault.

In order to truly tackle sexual assault in this country, the answer is to start by believing. Approach each accusation of sexual or domestic abuse as if it merits an investigation. Do not let prejudice, prior relationships, money, social status, politics, or anything else prevent you from looking at the case with eyes wide open.

Examine the accusation, don’t try to discredit the victim. Because, if you have taken nothing else from this, I hope you’ve learned that the odds are exceedingly great that they are telling the truth.

Finally: Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t make it fake news.

Kristina is a volunteer with a local organization for sexual and domestic violence victims, Enough is Enough TN, and Indivisible Hardin County.

Williamson County’s Sen. Jack Johnson: “SCHOOL VOUCHERS FOR THEE, NOT FOR ME”

Fireworks about Speaker Casada’s support for Rep. David Byrd grabbed the headlines at a Williamson County town hall Friday morning when Lawrence County resident Ashley Massey confronted the rest of the Williamson delegation about the issue – prompting Rep. Sam Whitson to get up and leave the event.

Whitson took heat for his actions on social media. He later said he had told the audience he would be leaving early, but not stopping to apologize to an emotional Massey raised some eyebrows.

Whitson deserves more credit than Speaker Casada though, who was conveniently a no-show despite having been scheduled to be there, leaving his colleagues to handle his mess in front of CNN cameras.

As Massey spoke, Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson sat silently. The incident took the focus away from the policy discussions that had taken place earlier in the morning, where Johnson had more to say, particularly on the issue of school vouchers.

The idea behind vouchers, which are supported by Governor Lee, is that students in struggling Tennessee schools should be able to take the taxpayer dollars and use them towards tuition at other schools, including private schools.

It’s an issue that has become a source of contention throughout the country, particularly as Secretary of Education Betsy Devos has championed it despite “dismal” results in areas that have tried them.

Critics are concerned taking public dollars away from public schools do nothing to solve the issue of having troubled schools, and instead simply make matters worse for the kids who are left behind.

Some feel the agenda is being pushed on behalf of private religious school lobbyists, particularly Christian schools, which have their eyes on public dollars yet are not required to observe the same rules as public schools, meaning public dollars would be subsidizing schools that discriminate against certain communities with impunity, and who aren’t required to follow the same codes of conduct.

Asked whether Christian schools should continue to rely on giving—rather than pushing for taxpayer money through vouchers—Betsy DeVos famously replied:

“There are not enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education…Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom.”

Public schools in rural communities would be acutely impacted, as private schools in those areas could theoretically be created to vulture those much-needed dollars away.

It’s worth noting that the idea of vouchers began when schools were desegregated and some white parents in the South didn’t want their children to go to school with black children.

At the town hall, Rep. Whitson said vouchers were going to be a difficult fight in the TN House, where there were strong feelings on both sides of the issue. Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) on the other hand said he supported vouchers “1000%” – although in the next breath he made it clear they would in no way affect Williamson County, which is where he lives, and which is where the town hall was being held:

He reiterated the point during the Q & A session when Franklin Alderman Bev Burger spoke up in support of vouchers, which she mistakenly appeared to believe would mean more money for the city.

They would not.

Johnson again hammered home the point that his pro-voucher stance is for all parts of Tennessee aside from Williamson County, which begs the question: If vouchers are a good thing for every other part of the state, why is Johnson being so careful to make sure the voters who vote for HIM know THEIR schools won’t be impacted?

Tennessee ranks near the bottom in per-student spending. If Johnson is concerned with Tennessee having “failing” schools, how about maybe addressing that problem itself by spending more money to fix that issue, rather than steering money away from those schools towards private schools owned by those who have money for lobbyists?

Imagine for a second a town. There’s one road in, one road out. The road has been decimated by a flood. There’s no way to drive on it. People can’t get out.

Now imagine if instead of fixing that road, the state offered to pay for helicopters for just a handful of kids whose parents can afford to pay for a portion of the helicopters themselves. What are the kids who can’t afford it supposed to do? How are they supposed to get out?

Vouchers don’t fix the issue of failing schools. Vouchers pick winners and losers, making the problem worse for a majority of students. If the governor wants to add money to help kids in failing schools and start a scholarship program, great.

But steering public dollars away from already struggling public schools is not a solution.

There’s a reason county commissions and school boards throughout the state are passing resolutions against them. Holler at yours if you think they should also, and holler at Jack Johnson to let him know you see his hypocrisy.

If vouchers are bad for Williamson County, they’re bad for the rest of Tennessee.

VIDEO: Jake Tapper Segment on Casada’s Support for Byrd

Here’s the Jake Tapper/Victor Blackwell CNN segment on Speaker Casada’s support for Rep. David Byrd, who sits as chair of an education subcommittee even after apologizing for sexual misconduct with girls he coached.

This story is finally getting the national attention it deserves. Please watch and share. Byrd must go. Holler at Casada and Byrd if you agree.