Samantha Hearn. Franklin Home Page. April 5, 2016.
Two Williamson County women joined 21 others in announcing their candidacies for the Tennessee state legislature Tuesday at the Women for Tennessee’s Future (WTF) headquarters in Nashville.
Williamson County contenders Holly McCall, who is running for the District 65 seat now held by Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin), and Courtenay Rogers, who is running for Rep. Glen Casada’s (R-Franklin) District 63 seat, were part of a group of 23 women announcing their candidacies.
WTF is a political action committee dedicated to the election of progressive women, and Bonnie Dow, the committee’s co-founder and treasurer, led the event.
“Our legislators play games rather than addressing the concerns of Tennessee citizens,” Dow said. “They neglect genuine need, wasting time on matters that only seek to advance their own narrow political agenda. If they aren’t going to do the job of the people, they should get out of the way.”
Many candidates expressed their frustration with the state government, especially on Insure TN, a two-year program to provide health care coverage to Tennesseans who don’t have access to health insurance or have limited options.
“Over 200,000 Tennesseans are uninsured, but they could be insured if our legislature would simply act,” Dow said. “The governor has a conservative, fiscally responsible plan, but the Tennessee House won’t even bring it up for a vote.”
Insure TN is designed to reward healthy behaviors and would provide coverage to the more than 200,000 Tennesseans earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, valued at slightly over $16,000 a year for an individual and $27,000 for a family of three.
“Implementation of Insure TN would not only improve the health status of our citizens, it would save rural hospitals and create jobs,” Dow said. “While Tennessee lingers at the bottom of nearly every list that measures health outcomes, our legislature ignores those concerns and instead debates where high school kids should go to the bathroom.
“Just yesterday, they sent a bill to the governor that makes the Bible our state book. These are not the burning concerns of Tennesseans.”
The legislature is currently about 17-percent female, making it one of the most male-dominated legislatures in the country.
Candidates have until noon on Thursday to file petitions to be on the fall ballot. McCall, a former newspaper reporter, picked up her qualifying papers to run against the embattled Durham in March.
“As a native of Franklin, I understand we need a representative who will work hard to ensure that we maintain our high quality of life, not one whose tenure has been marked by hypocrisy, inappropriate behavior and a propensity to support special interests and not our values,” McCall said.
Rogers, who is a small business owner and Navy veteran, picked up her petition last week to run against Casada, who has held the seat since 2000.
“I’m not sure who he represents, but I represent all of Williamson County,” Rogers said. “I will fight to full fund our public schools, and I will push for everyone to get the health coverage that they deserve. I am ready to stand up for all of Williamson County, and I am going to pave the way to make a difference in the state House.”
Both McCall and Rogers are running as Democrats and live in Franklin.
For more on McCall and Rogers, click on the following links:
Samantha Hearn reports for Home Page Media Group. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @samanthahearn.