New Party Chairman Says TN Democrats Face Challenges - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

New Party Chairman Says TN Democrats Face Challenges

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By Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - As Tennessee's Republican Governor Bill Haslam gave his State of the State speech Monday night, Roy Herron wrapped up his first day as chairman of Tennessee's Democratic party.

Herron was elected to the position Saturday at the state capitol, the same place he served as a state representative and senator for the last 26 years.

"Tennessee, right now, faces some enormous challenges," Herron said.

And Democrats in particular have a tough road ahead of them, in a state that has never been more red. A fact Herron has no problem pointing out.

"We've gone from common sense, to nonsense and we need to get back focused on the big picture and I think those Democrats in the legislature will help make that happen," Herron said.

Herron said Democrats must now work with centrist Republicans to try and turn around what he sees as a problematic shift on Tennessee's Capitol Hill.

"Tennesseans want common sense government, not radical, not reactionary, not stuff that way out of control. They want people who will focus on jobs, education, health care, helping people live better lives," according to Herron.

The new chairman said the far-right in the Republican party could, in time, actually help Democrats in the state.

"As the other party gets further and further out of touch from the mainstream, further away from the common sense center, I think that means there are enormous opportunities for the Tennessee Democratic party, and in those opportunities will be opportunities for all Tennesseans," Herron said.

But he knows in the current political climate in Tennessee, getting Democrats back in office will not be an easy job.

"The key to electing more democrats is three-fold; number one is hard work, number two is hard work and number three is hard work. There will have to be a whole lot of folks who work real hard for the values that we share, that most Tennesseans share," the chairman said.

Herron took over for Chip Forrester who was party chair the last four years.  Herron defeated Dave Garrison, who served as party treasurer under Chip Forrester by 12 votes with a final tally of 39 to 27.

Herron will serve a two year term as chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party.

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