OPINION: Bill Lee and his legislative minions do not deserve another term in office
This governor and a number of Republican legislators are running for reelection on the basis of their past performance. Unfortunately, that record does not speak well for any of them.
Here are some of the less than impressive facts about Tennessee for which this governor and his MAGA-Republican legislators can and should be held responsible:
- FBI data now ranks this state as having the 3rd highest rate of violent crime, robbery, aggravated assaults and homicides. Having the 10th highest firearm mortality rate is a direct result of leadership which refuses to implement sensible gun sales and gun safety laws.
- Hunger affects 19% of our children who live in “food insecure” homes. Our poverty level ranks us as 10th most impoverished state having the 2nd highest number of working poor earning a minimum hourly wage of $7.25. The solution is relatively simple: raise the minimum wage and allow workers to unionize.
- Tennessee’s drug addiction, which this administration seems unable to curb, is 3rd highest nationwide with no signs of abating.
- The poor overall health of Tennesseans is evident in our ranking of 42nd out of the 50 states, attributable in large part to the ongoing refusal of Republicans to expand Medicaid which in 2022 is costing this state $2.1 billion in federal funds left on the table. As a result 1 in 10 Tennesseans has no health insurance.
- Tennessee’s restrictive abortion ban is so extreme; being 1 of only 2 states which disallows abortion even in the case of rape or incest, that over 700 local physicians felt compelled to join together to protest in writing the threat which this law poses for them and their patients by hindering their ability to legally perform life-saving medical procedures as needed. Thus far, Governor Lee and lawmakers refuse to clarify the ambiguous language in question.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that Tennessee is home to the 2nd highest number of militant white supremacist groups nationwide. Fostered and encouraged by legislation and attitudes of intolerance and hostility towards those with differing politics, religions, and lifestyles this state has become a fertile breeding ground for violence and extremism.
- The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in Tennessee suffering a per capita death rate which was the 7th highest nationwide. To date, although infections continue at a much slower pace, this administration seems unconcerned about the fact that Tennessee’s Department of Health reports that only 52.4% are fully vaccinated with a mere 23% having received a booster.
- That lives were lost unnecessarily in the pandemic can be attributed to this governor’s stubborn refusal to heed, support or promote the recommendations of state and federal health care experts. Since we are obviously ill-prepared for any serious resurgence of COVID-related infections, it’s small wonder that 1st Lady Jill Biden felt the need to pay us a special visit urging inoculations against new virus variants.
These are facts and figures which make a compelling case for a “changing of the guard” in Tennessee. Election information can be found at GOVOTETN.com. Candidate information is available at the League of Women Voters’ website VOTE411.org. Early voting runs until November 3rd. Election Day is November 8th.
These are troubling times. Vote as if your life depended on it. It very well may.
Submitted by Chloe Cerutti