Press Releases

TNDP: HHS Report Shows ‘Obamacare’ Costs Lower than Expected

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; Sept. 26, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As Republicans attempting to defund the Affordable Care Act march the country toward both a government shutdown and also a default on our obligations, the Tennessee Democratic Party touted new data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showing that Obamacare is working and will cost consumers less than anticipated.

“The new report found that health care rates in Tennessee will be affordable, especially with new help available for around half of Americans buying health insurance. The report found that here in Tennessee, a 27-year-old making $25,000 a year will pay $103 per month and a family of four making $50,000 could pay $128,” said Roy Herron, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party. “The Affordable Care Act can help working families, but Republicans in Washington are trying everything to take affordable health care away, even if it means hurting our economy by shutting down the government and not paying our nation’s bills.”

The report found that in addition to lower premiums, Tennessee consumers will be able to choose from 59 plans and pick the one that works best for their family. These health care plans have no lifetime caps on care, end discrimination against those with preexisting conditions, and bar insurers from charging women more.

In contrast, the U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a bill with the support of Republican Congressmen Phil Roe, Jimmy Duncan, Chuck Fleischmann, Scott DesJarlais, Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn and Stephen Fincher to shut down the government unless Obamacare is defunded and all those hard-fought protections ended.

To view the report with a breakdown of how the Affordable Care Act is helping Tennessee, click here.

Press Releases

TNDP Chair, House Minority Ldr. Condemn Lt. Guv Tweet on Syria, 9/11

Statement from Roy Herron, Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party; September 11, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron issued a statement Wednesday condemning a message broadcast from the Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey twitter page:

“Speaker Ramsey should fire whoever wrote such an outrageous, dishonest, misleading, incendiary, unpatriotic and dangerous attack on our nation’s president and on Republican leaders like Senators Corker and McCain and House Speaker Boehner and even the Military Leaders working with them. Many of us are unsure about how to proceed in Syria, but whoever wrote that Tweet dishonors the victims of 9/11 and our military men and women who are doing all they can to stop more children and parents from being gassed and killed.”

Statement from State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, Tennessee House Minority Leader; September 11, 2013:

Nashville, Tenn. (September 10, 2013) – House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh released the following statement in response from an offensive tweet from Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey on the anniversary of 9/11:

“September 11th is a day when all Americans come together to remember a solemn occasion in our history. Instead of honoring those who gave their lives 12 years ago, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey decided to take the low-road and accuse our Commander-in-Chief of allying with the very terrorist who attacked our country.

“This divisive rhetoric dishonors the memory of those who died on this day. It is insulting to our President, to Senator Corker who shares the President’s position, to all Americans no matter their position on Syria and to the memory of those we’ve lost. Lt. Governor Ramsey is either grossly misinformed or he has decided to be a partisan, instead of a patriot. He should apologize immediately.”

Press Releases

TNDP Executive Director Leaving in Search of ‘New Opportunities’

Statement from Roy Herron, Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party; September 9, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron released a statement Monday thanking outgoing party Executive Director Kevin Teets for his service and leadership on Jackson Day:

“Having just led the Tennessee Democratic Party to its most successful Jackson Day in years, Executive Director Kevin Teets is leaving the state Democratic Party to pursue new opportunities. Kevin led the efforts that doubled the gross and quintupled the amount raised at Jackson Day each of the last two years. That $350,000 will help elect Democrats, and I’m personally grateful for the incredible job Kevin did in leading our team. Kevin’s hard work made it possible for Sen. Tim Kaine and our dynamic Democratic mayors to energize Democrats statewide and for us to honor Congressman Cooper for all his years of service to the state. We wish Kevin well in all of his future endeavors.”

Press Releases

Tennessean Elected to DNC Executive Committee

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; August 29, 2013:

Will T. Cheek is only Tennessean on DNC Executive Committee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee will have a strong voice on the national Democratic Party’s top committee.

Will T. Cheek was elected last week to serve a second four-year term on the Democratic National Committee’s Executive Committee, the party’s top board of directors.

“From attacks on voters’ rights and our democracy to the never-ending assault on working families and women’s health care, the South has long been a hotbed for extreme legislation,” Cheek said. “As we work to protect and expand opportunity for working and middle class families, my goal is to make the challenges we face in the South a top priority for national Democratic Party leaders.”

Cheek, a member of the Democratic National Committee and its Southern Caucus, was re-elected to represent the Southern Caucus on the party’s top governing board at a meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Press Releases

TNDP: GOP U.S. Senate Primary will Feature ‘Extremism, Intolerance’

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; August 20, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron issued a statement Tuesday saying the Primary for U.S. Senate between incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander and State Rep. Joe Carr will place Republican extremism and intolerance center stage:

“This Republican Senate Primary will be a race to the bottom of fear and hate. Women and children, workers and the middle class, have much to fear from these two candidates and much to hate about their records.

“In Washington, Senator Alexander voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In Nashville, Representative Carr voted to strip women of any state constitutional right to choose, not even to save their own lives.

“In Washington, Alexander wants to eliminate the minimum wage. In Nashville, Carr voted against fairly compensating those too injured to work.

“In Washington, Alexander voted for budget-busting tax breaks for billionaires and big oil. In Nashville, Carr abolished inheritance taxes for billionaires and denied college scholarships for the middle class and working poor.”

Press Releases

TNDP Renew Demands for Haslam to Release Tax Returns

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; July 10, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam’s repeated self-dealing and government handouts to wealthy friends has prompted Democrats to renew a challenge to the governor to release his tax returns.

“With Haslam’s wealthy and well-connected friends lining up for multi-million dollar handouts from the governor’s office, Tennesseans have a right to know if Haslam is profiting from this double-dealing, too,” said Brandon Puttbrese, spokesman for the Tennessee Democratic Party. “It’s time for Gov. Haslam to stop hiding his tax returns and prove he has no conflict of interest in these no-bid contracts and huge handouts for his rich friends.”

In recent days, news agencies have reported multiple state contracts and inside deals that financially benefit Haslam’s friends and well-connected special interests. They include:

  • A top political adviser to the governor, on Haslam’s personal payroll, was given high-level access to government officials for his clients. [, 7/8/13]
  • A current board member and part-owner of Pilot being appointed by the governor as the interim president of University of Memphis. [MemphisFlyer, 6/4/13]
  • Another Pilot board member running the parent company of a mining firm that wants to extract coal from public land in Tennessee. [AP, 6/26/13]
  • A $38 million deal to manage state buildings and lease negotiations with a commercial real estate firm Haslam once listed as one of his major investments. [, 6/26/13]
  • A no-bid contract to outsource the state motor vehicle fleet — at a greater cost to taxpayers — to a well-connected rental car company. [, 5/13/13]

“Working and middle class families need a leader who looks out for regular Tennesseans and proves it with their policies — not a self-serving politician who only looks out for himself and their wealthy friends and then tries to mislead us about it,” Puttbrese said.

The Tennessee Democratic Party is collecting signatures on a petition hosted at calling for Gov. Haslam to release his tax returns.

Press Releases

TNDP Calls on Haslam to Disclose Income

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; June 19, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On the heels of three guilty pleas tied to a scandal embroiling Gov. Bill Haslam’s Pilot Flying J truck stop chain, the Tennessee Democratic Party is calling for the governor to release his tax returns and show how much he makes annually from Pilot Oil and other investments.

On Tuesday, three more Pilot Flying J employees pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a scheme that padded corporate profits by defrauding small business owners and trucking companies of millions worth of rebates. Two additional employees of the $30 billion company pleaded guilty in May.

“With five guilty pleas, we know Gov. Haslam’s company Pilot Oil stole from working and middle class family businesses, but the question of how much money poured into the governor’s personal fortune from this fraud remains unanswered,” said Brandon Puttbrese, party spokesman. “We don’t know because Gov. Haslam is hiding his income.”

For years, Republican and Democratic governors in Tennessee have embraced the values of open and honest governing by voluntarily releasing their tax returns.

“Tennesseans are due the same financial transparency from Haslam that other governors — whose companies weren’t the subject of fraud investigations — have shown,” Puttbrese said. “It is clear Haslam prefers to work in secret, but our democracy is built on accountability, and we can’t hold politicians accountable when they refuse to come clean on simple matters like releasing their tax returns.”

In May, the TNDP posted an online petition asking citizens to add their name in support of calling on the governor to release his tax returns.


Haslam Broke “Tradition” of Releasing Returns. Bill Haslam’s refusal to release his tax returns during the gubernatorial campaign (and in years following) breaks “a long tradition of governors disclosing their returns voluntarily. Republican governors including Lamar Alexander and Don Sundquist did so, along with Democrats including Ned McWherter and Phil Bredesen.” [, 10/9/11]

Haslam’s First Decision As Governor: Hide Pilot Income. “Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has signed an executive order that eliminates a requirement for the governor and top aides to disclose how much they earn.” [Associated Press,, 1/16/11]

Press Releases

Johnson Denounces ‘Apparent Grade Fixing’ at TN Virtual Academy

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; February 12, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) denounced the K12, Inc. education corporation for apparent grade fixing at their in-state subsidiary, Tennessee Virtual Academy, a for-profit online school.

More than $15 million in public funding is flowing to the for-profit Tennessee Virtual Academy this year thanks to a law passed by Republicans. Despite the hefty price tag, the poorly performing virtual academy has recently come under fire after scores placed the corporate school among the state’s worst performing schools.

This week WTVF News Channel 5 uncovered a Virtual Academy internal memo directing teachers to delete student’s bad grades.

Rep. Johnson, a career schoolteacher, said deleting bad grades would never be acceptable at the Knox County public school where she teaches.

“Public school teachers are accountable for every student test score every time, and we have multiple layers of accountability to honestly measure student success,” Johnson said. “This internal grade-fixing memo clearly shows that the Tennessee Virtual Academy’s bottom line is protecting corporate profits instead of improving student learning.

“They lied to parents, they cheated kids and they stole from taxpayers,” Johnson said. “Tennesseans deserve better than a big, out-of-state corporation cheating our children and taxpayers to line its own pockets, and it’s time to fix this multi-million dollar mistake.”

Proposals that would alter the laws governing the Tennessee Virtual Academy are scheduled for discussion in the State House Subcommittee on Education at 3 p.m. today.


  • The Tennessee Virtual Academy, a subsidiary of the K12 corporation, now enrolls about 3,200 students across Tennessee. —
  • Only 16 percent of K12’s Tennessee students were proficient in math. —
  • Gov. Haslam’s own education chief has called K12’s performance “unacceptable” — The Tennessean
Press Releases

New TNDP Boss Challenges GOP Supermajority to ‘Prove They’re Pro-Life’

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; February 5, 2013:

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron issued the following the statement after Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced today that Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Kate O’Day has resigned from her post:

“As a former chairman of the now-abolished Select Committee on Children and Youth, I saw the Republicans eliminate that legislative oversight which protected Tennessee’s children. Far too many children have suffered and died, and it’s past time for Republicans to prove they’re pro-life after birth by protecting Tennessee’s children.”

DCS has been sued by The Tennessean, The Associated Press and 10 other news organizations to obtain case records of 151 children who died between January 2009 and July 2012 and had been the subject of state investigations of abuse or neglect.

Press Releases

TNDP Claims National Economy Improving While State Economy Sinks

Statement from the Tennessee Democratic Party; September 20, 2012: 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For the fourth consecutive month, Tennessee’s unemployment rate has increased. Gov. Bill Haslam’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported the August unemployment rate at 8.5 percent, nearly a half point higher than the national average.

“Tennessee’s working families have a right to be frustrated — we’re seeing a disturbing downward economic trend in our state and steady improvement in the national economy,” said Forrester. “It’s clear the top-down economic policies favored by the special interest governor and tea party legislature have made our economy weaker and middle class families less secure.”