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Building on Our Success

John Ray Clemmons gives speech
2018 is going to be a good year.  Together, with unprecedented organization and hard work, we can make it historic. 2017 certainly had its challenges, but I can only think of those things that give me such hope for the year ahead.
Amidst the chaos of 2017, we managed to make headway in the state capitol on several key initiatives to benefit families and our local economy. Some of our successes included:
  • ensuring mental health parity and addiction equity in TennCare programs
  • protecting houses of worship and religious burial sites
  • increasing state transportation infrastructure funding and enabling local governments to address unique transportation needs
  • getting the much-needed I-440 project funded and underway
  • extending the proposed mass-transit system on Charlotte Avenue to White Bridge Road
  • placing 3 road projects on Charlotte Avenue from White Bridge Road to River Road on TDOT’s new projects list
  • stalling the Governor’s efforts to privatize our state parks
  • protecting jobs at state colleges and universities
  • raising awareness of the inherent perils of privatized prisons
  • reducing the grocery tax
  • restoring property tax relief for seniors and disabled veterans
  •  successfully pushing for real, substantive sexual harassment training in the state legislature.
None of this would have been possible with you.  From the Women’s March and Moral Mondays to the health care rallies and phone banks, all of you took action, promoted Tennessee values, and facilitated our progress at the local, state and federal levels in an otherwise difficult year.  Your resilience, persistence, and leadership created a positive momentum and strong foundation from which we must build moving forward.  A resounding, collective voice for change is ringing out across Nashville and the entire state.  Thousands of Tennesseans have a renewed focus, energy and commitment to activism, as well as an eagerness to organize and volunteer, that promises positive change in the coming year and for years to come.  Those who consistently attempt to block our path to progress are on their heels, and we must not let up.  We must work harder, keep marching, never stop watching, and cause more good trouble.
At noon on January 9th, the bang of the Speaker’s gavel will signal the start of the second session of the 110th General Assembly.  Given that this is an election year and there will be number of open seats in both the House and Senate (17 and 6 respectively at last count), I anticipate a relatively early adjournment this year.  We have to hit the ground running to move our top legislative initiatives forward and shape state policy for the better.  We will be rolling out my legislative package in the first newsletter of the new session so please stay tuned.  While it will feature a continued focus on mental health parity and addiction equity, equal pay, and increasing voting participation, I will also be addressing a wide range of new issues requiring thoughtful debate.  I also intend to initiate a forward-thinking discussion about reforming our state’s outdated transportation funding model. As always, my legislative initiatives originate from conversations with Tennesseans across District 55 and the entire state and represent a continued focus on our Tennessee values.
I want to take a moment to personally thank the leaders of all the neighborhood organizations, civic groups, and county parties who allowed me to join you for meetings and address your members in 2017.  The open line of communication and sharing of ideas is vital to the success of my service to District 55 and our state.  Please continue to invite me so that I can continue to keep you updated on important issues and my efforts on your behalf.
I also want to thank Thomas Zacharia and his team for an informative tour of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Thank you to everyone for all that you do.



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