The Progress We Made In 2020

For 24 hours now, I’ve been reflecting on the meaning of the 2020 elections. A friend texted me this sentiment, and it resonated: “There’s no one day when we win. There are days when we make more or less progress”.

After all the votes are counted on Tuesday, we made historic progress on multiple levels.

I feel confident that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be the next President and Vice President. Our first woman, and woman of color, Vice President. That is historic progress.

And in Tennessee, WTF has reason to celebrate.

This year, we endorsed 22 women who ran for State Senate, State House, City Council and Alderman. Of those 22 pro-choice candidates, 6 were elected.

Senator-Elect Heidi Campbell flipped a State Senate seat from red to blue for the first time in 15 years. She is the first woman to represent Senate District 20 and she flipped the last GOP-held seat in Davidson County. From Planning Commission to Mayor to the State Senate. This is what bench building looks like. She’ll join Senator Sara Kyle, who was easily reelected.

Representative Gloria Johnson was reelected in Knoxville with 52% of the vote. She represents a challenging swing district, and defending our incumbents is critical to our ability to make more progress in Tennessee. 

In Maryville, Councilwoman-elect Sarah Herron became the first woman EVER elected to serve on the Maryville City Council. That is historic progress. She won her race by 348 votes, demonstrating that every vote counts in the down ballot races. In Clarksville, Councilwoman-elect Karen Reynolds was elected to the City Council in Ward 9. There is 30 years of data on their Election Commission website, and there is no record of a woman serving in Ward 9. More history made. And finally, early this year Tullahoma Alderman Robin Dunn was re-elected. Of the five Aldermen in Tullahoma, two are now WTF-elected officials.

WTF was founded in Nashville by a committed group of women who wanted to impact the local, city races. Over the last 8 years, we took that model and grew it statewide. As we look to the future, we will continue our resolve to build the bench on the local level across Tennessee. This is how we make more progress.

And finally, WTF thanks all of our 16 women who were on the ballot this year, but were not elected. It takes bravery and endless hours of hard work to run for office and WTF is proud to have supported these fantastic candidates.

Thank you for running, Jane George, Civil Miller-Watkins, Elizabeth Rowland, Virginia Couch, Susan Sneed, Mariah Phillips, Carol Abney, Elizabeth Madeira, Jenn Foley, Andrea Bond Johnson, Jerri Green, Dominique Primer, Gabby Salinas, Ashli Shockley, Margaret Thompson and Melissa Eldridge.

Finally, I received this text this morning from one of our candidates: “I didn’t win, but I learned a lot. Thank you for all of your help. I swore I was never going to do this again but too many neighbors have reached out in support for “next time”. After you have rested, let’s start planning. I have 4 years to shake it up.”

Let’s all rest up, because tomorrow we are getting back to work. WTF must continue to be a resource for pro-choice women candidates who run for office at all levels of government, but particularly on the local level. It’s bench building season and I will see you out on the field.

We thank you for your generous support. These are milestones we share with you because your support helped make them happen. And with your help, we will continue to #ElectWTFWomen in 2021, 2022, and beyond.

With hope and gratitude,

Sarah McCall
Executive Director, Women for Tennessee’s Future

Celebrating 100 Years Of Women’s Suffrage

Women for Tennessee’s Future (WTF) celebrated 100 years of Women’s Suffrage through our WTF Honor Roll in August 2020. The women honored below embody the courage, fight and grit of our suffragists!

WTF’s Honor Roll (alphabetical by last name):

Lisa Armstrong honors her mom, Dorothy Stulberg, who taught her children to honor all people and to celebrate their differences. She taught us how to be strong women and to stand up for our rights and the rights of others. She fought the long and hard fight and her actions continue to teach and raise young women to be all that they can be

Krissa Barclay honors County Clerk Brenda Wynn for being a mentor to young women through her example, sharing her story and walking in her faith.

Krissa Barclay honors Phyllis Williams and her ability to never let life or politics make her cynical.

Aftyn Behn honorher mother, Julianne Behn, for raising her to know her power to fight the powerful.

Moira Bindner celebrates her 17 year old daughter, Cate, who knows that women are at the table where decisions are being made and that citizenship is a verb.

Kathy Floyd Buggs honors her daughters Alison Haymer and Courtney Buggs for being STRONG and FEARLESS women. I am a better person because they call me Mom. In this Crazy world where you can be anything… Just be yourself.

Terriah Carver honors Clerk Temiika D. Gipson for her commitment and dedication to Shelby County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office as well as being a prominent leader in her community. Clerk Temiika Gipson made history in August 2018, as the first female, and first African American, to be elected as the Clerk of Circuit Court. She has gone above and beyond to serve the citizens of Shelby County since being in office.

Barbara Clinton honors Tonya Elkins for her years of leadership, using research and friendship, to enhance the health of women through Vanderbilt Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker program.

Barbara Clinton honors Aineth Murguia for her commitment to immigrant and refugee women through Tennessee Justice for our Neighbors, for finding ways to ease the stress of women making a new home in a new country.

Barbara Clinton honors Meg Robertson for her many contributions to the beauty of our state, its community organizations, and its marginalized and low income women.

Karen Cochran honors her mother Shirley Crawford Dunn for her lifelong commitment to women’s issues and her commitment to racial equity.

Charlotte Cooper honors Mina Johnson for her commitment to community and neighborhood issues, but most of all, I am thankful for our many, many years of friendship.

Malikah Crawley honors Circuit Court Clerk Temiika D. Gipson for her courage and leadership in her elected position as Clerk of Circuit Court in Shelby County. Not only is she the first woman, but she is also the first African American woman making history in August 2018. She is a pillar in her community and continues to make it her priority to serve the citizens of Shelby County.

Lisa Furkins honors her great grandmother Willie Bell who voted every time and spoke of it to me as a child.  
Alison Gower honors Annis Marney for carrying on her mother’s resolute devotion to women’s rights and raising Hell.

Alison Gower honors Lisa Stevenson for her unwavering commitment and courage supporting LGBTQIA+ rights and the rights of all people.

Lori Jarvis Stephens honors her sister, Anna Jarvis, for her courage in facing challenges with tenacity and sparkle! 

Mina Johnson honors her mother Shizuka Suzuki for her strength for raising her as a single mother.

James Mackler and his daughters honor Rabbi Shana Mackler who exemplifies service each and every day.

Shelley Mangold honors her long time friend Martha Coppock for her commitment to the League of Women Voters, Civil Rights and Planned Parenthood.  

Ginna Mashburn honors former Knox County Commissioner Bee DeSelm who was a beacon to subsequent women leaders and has a Branch Library named in her honor.

Sarah McCall honors her Momma, Lynn McCall, for her commitment to equality, always.

Amanda McClendon honors Elaine Wilee, Patricia Kimberly Soto and Jennifer Wilee for being strong, powerful influences in her life.

Jessica McDuffie-Massey honors her college roommates, Amanda Bihun, Quin Segall Evans, Katie Terry, and Kelly Cutcheon Talley, for their unwavering love, support and commitment to the fight for women’s equality.

Sandra McMullin Bennett honors Keri Adams, Past CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle & East Tennessee, for her long-time work as an advocate for women’s reproductive rights and for her unwavering support of moving women forward. She and her husband are raising three amazing daughters who will, undoubtedly, follow in her footsteps so the work will go on.   

Sandra McMullin Bennett honors Cynthia Bennett, a fierce warrior for women’s equality through her work with the National Organization for Women and the Davidson County Democratic Women.  She sets an example through her work and her voice and she’s more than exceeded what any of the Tennessee Suffragist would have ever thought possible. 

Sandra McMullin Bennett honors Mary Frances Lyle, an attorney who served as the lobbyist for the Nashville and Tennessee Women’s Political Caucus for over twenty-six years.  She was a tireless advocate for women and mentor to so many.  She left big shoes to be filled and those of us who knew her and worked with her are still trying our best to fill them. 

Tina Mercer honors Shirlene Mercer for her commitment to Civil Rights. She was one of the Four Freshman at Lane College that fought during Civil Rights.

Kristin Michelitch honors her mom, Marilyn, for her courage to be a math major in early 1960s and for generally flouting social norms; her sister, Merrilyn, for rising to the top of the Biotech industry and mentoring younger women in STEM; her sister-in-law, Julie, for unwavering caregiving to so many people, important work done by so many unsung heroes; her niece, Sarah, for being confident to be herself through the teen years; her niece, Ana, for her imagination; and her daughter, Josephine, for her adventurous spirit and enthusiasm.

Mary Jo Middlebrooks proudly honors her sister, Melinda Middlebrooks, who is a fierce attorney and mother. She has reared her three children to be informed, intelligent voters. She is an unapologetic activist who is not afraid to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Julie Mitchell honors her grandmother who was her role model for a smart, independent woman. She got a college degree back in the late 1930s and had a career even after starting a family.

Sandy Moss honors Lilli for her commitment to protecting our planet now and for generations to come.

Chelsea Moubarak honors her mother who is one of the strongest and smartest people she knows and whose boundless life lessons echo her head every day.  She worked on Wall Street in the 80s when it was mostly men and Chelsea guarantees that she was the smartest person in the room every single time. 

Chelsea Moubarak honors her Nana who is 89 and one of her best friends. She worked in Boston all through her young adult life and didn’t get married until she was 30 years old and she was ready and had met the right person. She has always encouraged her to do the same. 

Chris Norris honors Susan Ford Wiltshire, retired Vanderbilt Classics Professor, for leading the drive for Women’s Equity at Vanderbilt (WEAV) almost 40 years ago.

Rebecca Pearce honors her mother, Linda Pearce, for her commitment to health care access and women’s health.

Mariah Phillips honors her mom, Denise Burian, for raising her to stand up for what is right and actively work to make the world a better place.

Marjorie Pomeroy-Wallace honors Hana Ali for her persistence, heart, courage, and her tireless commitment to the Democrats of Sumner County and all of Tennessee! A mother, wife, business woman, doctor, poet, candidate, and county party chair, she makes us all better just for knowing her!

Anita Poulton honors Sandra P. Beld for her advocacy, care and loving patience with her son and my grandson with special needs.

Anita Poulton honors Michelle Bodine for her commitment and loving care she has provided her daughter and my granddaughter who was born with Rett Syndrome.
Danielle Schonbaum honors Tracy O’Connor for always working for the women she wants to see in office and fighting to eliminate voter suppression.
Jackie Shrago honors Pat Burton (my oldest who recently past at 93) & Leah (my youngest age 9) who have always believed women should be elected and encouraged me to participate in campaigns.
Jamie Singer honors her niece, Leah, and her sister, Wendy, for being willing to discuss opposing views openly and for appreciating how history can help us put today’s divisive issues in context and move toward solutions.
Kim Troup honors her amazing friend Clarice Rankins for her commitment to registering people to vote.
Emilee Warner honors community leader Tequila Johnson for her fearlessness and unstoppable dedication as Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of The Equity Alliance, which proactively advocates for African Americans and other communities of color to have a fair and just opportunity at realizing the American dream.
Emilee Warner honors her colleague Chelsea Norman for their commitment to working hard for progress. Chelsea recently led the election campaign for Emily Masters for School Board, which was victorious.
Jennifer Watson honors Greta McClain of Silent No Longer & Enough is Enough TN for her fearless advocacy for Tennessean girls and women.  

One Week Until August 6th Election Day

Today we are one week from the statewide primary and municipal election on August 6th. If you have not cast your ballot yet, WTF encourages you to vote early to avoid long lines on Election Day. Early voting ends on Saturday and you can find polling times and locations through your County Election Commission.

WTF has 15 endorsed candidates on the ballot across the state, but we wanted to take a moment to highlight our candidates in competitive primaries or races which they must win on August 6th.

You can click the names below to read each candidate’s profile on our website. If you are able, we encourage you to pick one or two candidates and chip-in a final contribution before Election Day.

There is a link to donate directly to their campaigns in each of their profiles on our website. 100% of your contribution goes directly to the candidate.

Our candidates are still running digital ads and paying for the last of their mail to ensure they Get Out The Vote

Candidates in Democratic Primaries for the State Legislature
These three candidates must win their Democratic Primary to continue on to the General Election in November.

Re-Elect State Senator Sara Kyle  (Memphis)

Jane George for Senate District 6 (Knoxville)

Dominique Primer for House District 84 (Memphis)

Candidates for Local Office
August 6th is the final Election Day for Alderman Dunn and Ashli Shockley. There are 2 open seats and 3 candidates in the race. Join us in helping elect both women Alderman in Tullahoma!

Re-Elect Robin Dunn Tullahoma Alderman

Ashli Shockley for Tullahoma Alderman

Thank you for stepping up to support our endorsed candidates in the final week before Election Day. Together, with your help, we will #ElectWTFWomen on August 6th.

It’s Pride Month! Let’s Keep Making History


I join WTF in celebrating Pride during the month of June. In 2015, I earned one of WTF’s earliest endorsements when I ran for Nashville Metro Council.

With your help, I made history as the first openly LGBTQ woman elected to a legislative body in the state of Tennessee when I won that race!

As any candidate knows, it takes bravery to put your name on the ballot and run for office. Having an organization like WTF support and invest in my candidacy gave me additional courage and strength to run as my authentic self and win.

Last year, I ran for re-election and earned WTF’s support again. During that campaign, I pledged that if 4 or more LGBTQ people were elected to Nashville Metro Council, I would form an LGBTQ Caucus to advocate for all LGBTQ Nashvillians.

With the help of WTF, we did just that: I won my race again and Nashville made history by electing 5 openly LGBTQ Councilmembers in one year. I am proud to Chair the first-ever Nashville Metro Council LGBTQ Caucus, which became a reality in October 2019.

WTF is changing the face of TN politics and I am grateful for the organization’s many years of support.

Will you help us continue the mission by joining WTF’s Monthly Giving Team? Please make a monthly sustaining contribution of $5 or more and WTF will send you their signature wine glass!


I made my contribution and have been using my WTF wine glass throughout the quarantine. We can’t be together in person to celebrate Pride month, but we can raise a glass together and celebrate the strides we have made and will continue to make in the future.

Your support means so much to endorsed candidates like myself. Let’s continue to make history together and #ElectWTFWomen this year! 

In Solidarity,

Councilmember Nancy VanReece
Nashville Metro Councilmember, District 8

WTF Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

WTF is inspired by the thousands of people in Tennessee and across the nation that are rising up in peaceful protests and demonstrations to demand justice in the murder of George Floyd.  Black Lives Matter and we stand in solidarity with the organizations, activists, and organizers leading this movement to demand reform to our criminal justice system including police practices, the use of force and aggressive policing.

But we need protest AND politics, as President Barack Obama noted earlier this week:

WTF is laser focused on electoral politics and supporting diverse women who will advocate change that represents our values.

On Tuesday, WTF participated in the #BlackOutTuesday movement on Instagram to make space for Black voices and leaders. Today, we ask that you invest in making sure Black women are heard now, on Election Day, and at the State Capitol in Nashville.

You can help WTF elect more Black women to office at the local and state level in Tennessee. WTF has endorsed three Black women who are running strong campaigns for the State Legislature.

Please chip in $25, $35, $50 or more to each of their campaigns right now:

100% of your contribution goes directly to their campaigns.

Thank you in advance for generously supporting our endorsed candidates. Together we will #ElectWTFWomen.

In Solidarity,

Women for Tennessee’s Future

Host A Virtual House Party For WTF!

As candidates adjust the way they campaign in the new era of COVID-19 and #StayHome, WTF must adjust our model as well. Our mission isn’t changing. In fact, leveling the financial playing field for female candidates is even more important as fundraising becomes more and more challenging.

For that reason, it is critical that WTF keep growing our movement. We must inspire more folks to join our 2020 Team!

Here is one way you can help WTF: 
Can you host a 1-hour virtual “house party” or “social hour” with us for your friends?

To host, you provide the invite list, and gather 15-25 of your friends, book club members, neighbors, and/or colleagues to join a Zoom conference call.

To be clear, this is not WTF spreading the word to our list, because those folks are already with us and on our team! We need your help if you think you have 15-25 people who are not aware about WTF, but you think they will be supportive of our mission and should be aware of us!

WTF will provide an invitation for you to send to your invitees, Zoom conferencing software, a presentation, and a couple speakers to talk about WTF’s mission.

If you’d like to see an invitation example, please CLICK HERE for the invite to the first Virtual House Party we hosted in March.

Interested? Email our Executive Director, Sarah McCall, to get started:

Thank you for considering this request! This is an important way you can support WTF right now! With your help, we will #ElectWTFWomen in 2020.

Endorsed Candidate Spotlight: Tami Sawyer


We have an opportunity to make history and elect the first female Mayor of Memphis. County Commissioner Tami Sawyer is a dynamic leader and social justice activist committed to building coalitions across communities to make Memphis fairer and more equitable for all because “Memphis Can’t Wait”!

As the race for Mayor becomes increasingly vitriolic, WTF is proud to endorse and stand with Commissioner Sawyer. Just a few days ago, Memphis Magazine pulled its September issue and offered an apology for cover art that displayed racist and sexist caricatures of Commissioner Sawyer.

As a Shelby County elected official, Commissioner Sawyer deserves respect. Chip in $100, $50 or $25 to let Tami know that you stand with her.

Tami’s opponents, incumbent Mayor Jim Strickland and former Mayor Willie Herenton, refuse to attend a public debate with her, denying Memphis voters an opportunity to hear from all of the candidates. Furthermore, both Strickland and Herenton refuse to say Commissioner Sawyer’s name at public events. Herenton instead refers to her as the “young lady”.

Women deserve better. And Memphis deserves leaders who will lead with courage and offer their vision for the city in a public debate.

This race is historic. Can you make a contribution to Tami right now to help WTF make history?

Election Day is October 3rd. If you live in Memphis, please cast your ballot for Tami Sawyer.

Together, we can and we will #ElectWTFWomen

Endorsed Candidate Spotlight: Indya Kincannon


WTF-endorsed candidate Indya Kincannon is in a very competitive race to become Knoxville’s next Mayor. Current Mayor Madeline Rogero is term-limited, so this is an open-seat. In August, Indya and a Conservative businessman advanced to the General run-off. Election Day is November 5th.

Indya is a long-time community leader, teacher, mom, and former special program manager in Mayor Madeline Rogero’s administration. She was elected to the Knox County Board of Education in 2004, serving 10 years and chairing the Board for three of those years.

Early in the campaign, the Knoxville News Sentinel pointed out that

“Indya Kincannon may have the smallest campaign war chest among the three major candidates for mayor, but she is clearly competitive, and there’s a feeling among close local political watchers that she will make it through the Aug. 27 primary to a likely runoff election in November.”

Can you chip in $25 to Indya’s campaign right now? 

WTF was founded for exactly this reason – to help level the financial playing field for female candidates who historically have a harder time raising the needed resources to run for office.

Furthermore, growing the number of female executive office holders is challenging, making this race a priority for WTF. Historically, voters are much more accustomed to seeing and supporting women public officials as members of a deliberative body like School Board, City Council or the State Legislature.

With your help, we can change historical trends like thisChip in $25 right now.

At our peak, Tennessee has had three Democratic women Mayors of our top five largest cities. With Mayor Rogero being term-limited this year, Tennessee is in jeopardy of having ZERO Democratic women Mayors of our top five largest cities after 2019. 

We can’t let that happen.

And, of course, if you live in Knoxville, please cast your vote for Indya Kincannon!

Thanks for stepping up to support an impressive WTF-endorsed candidate! Let’s #ElectWTFWomen Mayor! 

WTF Celebrates Black History Month

In 2017 and 2018 a record number of African-American women ran for office and won their elections in Tennessee. During Black History Month, WTF shared the impressive stories of 24 trailblazing elected officials who broke barriers. This list is not exhaustive as many more black women serve in office than we could feature in one month.

If you haven’t been following along on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, please click on our social media links and search the hashtag #WTFCelebratesBlackHistoryMonth. You can go back and read through their inspiring profiles and #BlackGirlMagic facts. 

From their stories we see different pathways to office and a diversity of backgrounds, ages and life experiences, but what is most important is that these women are reshaping what it means to be an elected official. They are leading in their own authentic ways and using their voices to change their communities for the better. Many of these electeds are the first or the only African-American woman to serve on their respective governing body and WTF is committed to ensuring they are not the last.

Let’s keep the #BlackGirlMagic going!

WTF has endorsed Juanita Charles in the Special Election for Senate District 22, in Houston, Montgomery, and Stewart counties. Juanita is unopposed in the March 7th Democratic Primary. General Election Day is Tuesday, April 23rd, so WTF is asking our members to step up right now and join us in supporting her.

In 2018, Tennessee elected three black women in the same year to the State Senate for the first time in our state’s history. Let’s make history one more time and send Juanita Charles to join them in the Senate!

In honor of the 24 women leaders we featured during Black History Month, can you make a $24 contribution to Juanita’s campaign for State Senate?

Give Online:

(100% of your contribution that you give online, goes directly to Juanita’s campaign.)

Thank you for stepping up to help us #ElectWTFWomen!

Tennessee women talk about need for political participation, more female representation

Chattanooga Times Free Press, February 9, 2019

The 2018 midterm elections were dubbed by some “The Second Year of the Woman” as elected offices across the country saw an increase in women in their seats.

On the federal level, there was a 4 percent increase in female representation, but despite electing its first female senator, Tennessee still lags behind other states.

Women here remain vastly underrepresented in political offices.

Read moreTennessee women talk about need for political participation, more female representation