Tonight, I spent the evening sitting in the balcony of the Tennessee State Capitol, watching the 110th General Assembly gavel back into session after a short recess. A large crowd had gathered outside the building as I approached and an even larger crowd was inside. Hundreds of people were outside the house chamber and the energy was positive, hopeful and powerful. Old people, young people, brown people, white people, religious people and non-religious people were holding signs, reminding our elected officials that they are being watched.
For a moment, I thought about what it would have been like to be a state representative. I spent 9 months in 2016 running for that seat and did not win. And as much as I would have liked the outcome to be different, not for me but for Williamson County, I realized I can do a lot more as a constituent than as a candidate. And so can you.
You don’t have to run for office to make a difference. You don’t have to be an extrovert to make a difference. You don’t have to be rich to make a difference. You don’t have to expend all your time and energy to make a difference. If we all work together, we can and will make a difference.
Here is a very important first step to help you on your new journey of activism; find out who represents you. Don’t be embarrassed if you’re not sure but do the work to find out who is speaking for you, from school board to Congress.
If you live in Tennessee, go to this site and fill out this form and it will tell you what districts you live in and your voting precinct. Your county district is your school board district. The others are self-explanatory.
Tennessee has two senators in the United States Senate and nine representatives in the United States House of Representatives. Go to this site and check out the district maps so you can find who represents you.
The Tennessee General Assembly is made up of 132 members, 33 from the Senate and 99 from the House. I’m going to focus on Williamson County, as this is where I live and where I’m raising my daughter, but if you live in a different part of the state you can find your representative here.
In Franklin, Jack Johnson represents us in the Senate and we have 3 representatives in the House: District 61 Charles Sargent, District 63 Glen Casada, District 65 Sam Whitson. All of these men are Republicans and they are all up for reelection in 2018. This is important to remember, because once session is out this summer, they will all start to focus on getting elected again and this is why we must let them know we are watching them. Always.
This Friday, February 3rd, the Williamson County Chamber is hosting a Public Affairs Roundtable from 7:30-8:30 in the morning at ESpaces in Cool Springs. All of these men will be in attendance and we should all be there to greet them. Below is a bill that has already been submitted that we should be prepared to ask Senator Johnson questions about.
SB 001 Allows therapists to deny counseling when the patient's goals conflict with their beliefs. This bill stops Tennessee professions from adopting codes of ethics by reference to a national organization's code of ethics. This does not yet have a House sponsor and we can get it killed in committee. Here’s an editorial that explains how Senator Johnson will continue to justify this bill.
Friend and former candidate for State Representative Holly McCall posted this helpful information on social media tonight. State Representatives Glen Casada (District 63) and Charles Sargent (District 61) and State Senator Jack Johnson have all said tonight they approve of Trump's Muslim ban and restrictions on refugees coming to the U.S. They think the uproar over it is completely blown out of proportion and Johnson says most of his constituents are in favor of it. Let's not forget the immediate impact these guys have on us, so let them know you oppose the ban. I've included their office phone numbers, emails, and twitter links. Here's an article with their full quotes.
Senator Jack Johnson: https://twitter.com/SenJohnson
Rep. Glen Casada: https://twitter.com/GlenCasada
Rep. Charles Sargent: https://twitter.com/StateRepSargent
I will do my best to share relevant information about Williamson County and Tennessee on this blog and on social media. If you don’t follow me on Twitter, please do as that’s where a lot of great and relevant information is quickly shared and searched. You can also like my page on Facebook as I plan to share as much there as possible too.
Finally, visit The Indivisible Guide website and read how a group of former congressional staffers are empowering us to resist the Trump agenda. Being informed is your number one priority, then joining forces with like minded folks is your second. Stay tuned for more on how you can help and please share this with anyone you feel may need some guidance. Together, we can be the change.