The University of Tennessee College Democrats, and organization that includes many students from the 22nd Senate District, has given its endorsement to Tim Barnes. In a recent statement, citing the group’s decision as and “unusual move,” UT College Democrats President Zak Kelley said:
“After long thought, we of the University of Tennessee College Democrats Executive Board have decided to support Tim Barnes in the Primary Race. Tim Barnes is a statesman, not a politician. He is concerned first and foremost with his constituents. Barnes has no hidden agenda or lust for power; he simply wants to serve his community. In particular, Barnes is dedicated to education, an issue extremely important to the College Democrats. He supports the continued expansion of the HOPE Lottery Scholarship Guidelines to include as many students as possible. In addition, he supports efforts to expand vocational opportunities and increase funding for education so that Tennessee’s schools become second to none.”
This move is “unusual,” Kelly said, “but considering the recent actions of Senator Kurita (D-Clarksville), we believe it to be warranted.” Kelley charged that Senator Kurita “has chosen to advance herself over the best interest of her district.”
Kelley noted that in 2007, Senator Kurita voted to oust Tennessee’s most senior statesman, John Wilder (D-Somerville), in favor of a Republican for Lt. Governor. For this, she was rewarded with a leadership position in the Republican controlled chamber. This vote led to the stalemate that exists in the Tennessee State Senate today, as well as the hold up of several important pieces of legislation including issues of Lottery Scholarship GPA and Judicial Selection. It is clear to this board that Rosalind Kurita can no longer claim to represent the values of our party.
In supporting Tim Barnes, Kelley said that “Tim Barnes is a democrat we can trust. On issues like education, we know that Tim Barnes will put the interest of this state above his own personal interest. We know that Tim is dedicated to his district and dedicated to his party. That’s the kind of democrat we need and that is why we have chose to support him. On August 7, 2008 we encourage all our members in the 22nd Senatorial District to come out and support Tim Barnes.”
The 22nd Senate District includes Cheatham, Houston and Montgomery Counties.