Press Releases

Reps Camper, Gilmore Join Bi-partisan Group of State Lawmakers Fighting Hunger

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; September 10, 2014:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Reps. Karen Camper (D-Memphis) and Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) joined with over 200 state leaders from around the country to help pack 32,000 meals for the Alaska Food Bank as part of the Council of State Governments’ service project during their national conference in Anchorage on August 13th.

“I was grateful for the opportunity to work with a bi-partisan group of lawmakers from Tennessee and across the country to help feed those who are hungry,” said Rep. Gilmore. “Now we need to take that same sense of bi-partisanship and caring to find policy solutions that will end hunger in Tennessee and increase access to nutritional foods for everyone.”

September is “Hunger Action Month,” a campaign designed to engage the public on issues related to hunger and nutrition in America. According to statistics provided by Feeding America, Tennessee has over 1.1 million people who are food insecure, with 368,000 of them being children. A food insecure household is one that lacks, at times, access to enough nutritious food for a healthy, active lifestyle.

“No child in the richest nation in the world should ever go to bed hungry or have to skip a meal because their families can’t afford it,” said Rep. Camper. “Every man, woman and child in America should have access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food. I hope all of my fellow Tennesseans will join in making sure we make this goal a reality.”

Those who would like to make a difference during Hunger Action Month are encouraged to contact local agencies responsible for helping to feed the hungry. People in Nashville can contact the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee ( while those in the Memphis area should visit the Mid-South Food Bank ( to learn more about how they can help end hunger in Tennessee.

Press Releases

TN House Dems Mourn Passing of State Rep. Lois DeBerry

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; July 28, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Speaker Pro Tempore Emeritus Lois DeBerry passed away today from complications resulting from a four year battle with pancreatic cancer. In the years following her diagnosis, Speaker Pro Tem Emeritus DeBerry remained positive and upbeat while channeling her energy and passion into helping raise the awareness of this deadly disease.

Rep. DeBerry defied the odds which show that nearly 80% of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer succumb to the disease within the first year. In 2012, three years after her initial diagnosis, DeBerry joined with Governor Haslam in proclaiming November to be Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in order to promote awareness and support efforts to create better treatments for this aggressive form of cancer.

“Tennessee owes Lois DeBerry a debt of gratitude for her immeasurable contributions to improving the health, welfare, and well-being of the people of our state,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner. “Lois was an irreplaceable member of our caucus and she will always have a place in our hearts and memories.”

In May of 2011, the legislature passed House Joint Resolution 516, sponsored by Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh, which named honored Rep. DeBerry with the title of “Speaker Pro Tempore Emeritus.” In accepting the honor of the position, DeBerry told her colleagues that “I’ve never done anything to get a return, every decision that I’ve tried make came from my heart.”

Through her status as Dean of the House, Speaker Pro Tem DeBerry acted as a mentor and leader for many legislators over her forty years of service to the state.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from and work with Rep. DeBerry,” said Rep. Karen Camper. “When I first got elected she took me under her wing and helped teach me how to best represent the needs of my constituents. I know there were many other legislators like me over the years, both Democrat and Republican, who benefited from her wisdom and generosity. I am truly blessed to have known and worked with Rep. Lois DeBerry.”

In memory of Rep. DeBerry, donations can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at

Press Releases

Kelsey, Camper File Legislation to Aid Reformed Felons in Job Search

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; January 30, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and State Representative Karen Camper (D-Memphis) have filed a bill that helps reformed former felons seek employment. Senate Bill 276 also protects the future employers who hire these new job-seekers from claims of negligent hiring.

“At a job fair in October, the number one request I heard was for legislation that would help reformed felons,” said Senator Kelsey. “By petitioning the courts for a certificate of employment restoration, those individuals will now have a meaningful path to obtaining employment and leading a law-abiding life.”

This legislation will especially impact those former felons who may have been convicted of a non-violent crime many years ago and have already paid the price for their crimes by fulfilling all of a court’s sentencing requirements.

“After meeting and talking with many former felons at a recent job fair I hosted, I realized that the best way we can prevent crime in the future is to ensure that they have access to good paying jobs,” said Rep. Karen Camper. “People who have paid their debt to society should be given the opportunity to contribute as productive citizens.”

Before a certificate of employment restoration is issued, a judge must determine that the individual petitioning the court has established that the certificate will assist them in obtaining a job, help meet the need of living a law-abiding life, and not pose any unreasonable risk to the safety of the general public or any individual.

Press Releases

TNGOP Slams Dems Voting Against Income Tax Ban

Press Release from the Republican Party of Tennessee, Jan. 19, 2012:

Once Again, Tennessee Democrats Stand Up For A State Income Tax

NASHVILLE, TN – Today, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted in favor of a resolution to amend the Tennessee Constitution by adding language to ban a state income tax. SJR 221, sponsored by Representative Glen Casada, passed the Republican-controlled House by a vote of 73-17-3.

The amendment will now have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate in the next session. The amendment will then be placed on the ballot, coinciding with a gubernatorial election, to allow Tennessee voters to approve.  “I applaud our Republican leadership for moving us one step closer to solidifying the unconstitutionality of a state income tax. However, several Tennessee Democrats once again showed their liberal mindset by reinforcing their belief that government should not be restricted from  dipping into your paycheck,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.

“While Tennesseans work hard to get through this economic recession, Tennessee Democrats are content with duplicating President Obama’s philosophy of raising taxes to meet reckless government spending, instead of reducing government to meet current revenue,” said Devaney.

Democrats Who Voted Against Banning a State Income Tax: Karen Camper, Barbara Cooper, Charles Curtiss, Lois Deberry, G.A. Hardaway, Bill Harmon, Mike Kernell, Larry Miller, Gary Moore, Jimmy Naifeh, Joe Pitts, Jeanne Richardson, Johnny Shaw, Mike Stewart, Harry Tindell, Joe Towns, and Johnnie Turner.