Republicans have lined up to fight unions in Tennessee. As a matter of fact, Governor Bill Lee recently stated he believes it would be a mistake for workers at the VW plant in Chattanooga to unionize with the United Autoworkers. I respectfully and vehemently disagree with the governor. 

According to a December 15, 2021 report by the Economic Policy Institute, “Unions promote economic equality and build worker power, helping workers to win increases in pay, better benefits and safer working conditions.”

The positive effects of unions actually spill over to non-unionized workplaces. Some of the benefits all workers can thank unions for are:

  • The 8-hour work day
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Workers Compensation Laws
  • Employer provided health coverage
  • Child labor laws

According to an August 28, 2023 story on Labor Unions and the U.S. Economy published by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, unions helped close the race and gender gap in wages.  Additionally, union members generally vote more often than non-union members and union members are more likely to donate to charity, attend community meetings and volunteer for an organization. 

For these reasons and more, I strongly support our labor unions.   

By arming faculty and staff, we are putting them and students at greater risk of serious bodily injury or death by gunfire. Ask police officers who have responded to an active shooter event. They will tell you that information can be very sparse or inaccurate during an active shooter event, so if a teacher has a gun out when police show up, there is a decent chance the teacher will be shot.


Teachers and faculty carry a heavy enough load without being asked to shoulder the additional responsibility of carrying a firearm into the classroom. Who will be responsible when a student gets access to a teacher’s weapon and shoots the teacher? Another student? Himself? Or takes the weapon home and shoots family members? Will the legislators who gave the student access to that weapon be accountable?

The State Senate passed SB1325 by a vote of 26 to 5. HB1202 is on the April 17 State House calendar. These bills would allow teachers to carry firearms in schools – a potential death sentence to faculty, staff, and students.


The voices of the people are being ignored once again, as the Senate not only silenced microphones during public protest and outcry, but forcibly removed protesters from the gallery.  Our governing body needs to listen to the people and pass legislation that is in the best interests of students, parents, faculty, and staff; legislation that focuses on prevention of gun violence rather than the proliferation of weapons.  


We, the undersigned candidates, stand in solidarity with the activists who are speaking up for safety in our schools and urge the Tennessee House of Representatives to reject this irresponsible and dangerous legislation, for the sake of the lives of faculty, staff and students. Furthermore, we implore Governor Bill Lee to act responsibly on behalf of the citizens of the State of Tennessee and veto this bill if it crosses his desk. 


Tennesseans deserve a livable minimum wage.  But Tennessee does not have a state minimum wage law.  This means that, subject to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, Tennessee employers are only required to pay their employees not less than $7.25 per hour.  The last time the Federal minimum wage was increased was in 2009.  

Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) and Senator Sara Kyle (D-Memphis) introduced a bill to increase the hourly minimum wage in Tennessee to $20.00.  Because of the Republican supermajority, it failed. 

Here is a reality check about the current minimum wage.  If you work full-time (40 hours a week) for minimum wage, your annual income will be about $15,080, which means your monthly income will be about $1,256.67, which after withholding for Federal income taxes is a bring home of about $1,131 per month.  I honestly do not know how anyone can live on the current minimum wage in the state of Tennessee.

According to Investopedia, historical data seems to support the notion that raising minimum wage to keep pace with inflation would only have “a minimal effect” on inflation.  How is this possible?  There are many reasons, some of which are: well compensated employees work harder and tend to stay with an employer when the employee feels he or she is fairly compensated.  A more stable work force is much more cost effective.  The cost of hiring and training new employees increases the overall labor cost.

According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would raise wages of up to 27.3 million workers and lift 1.3 million families out of poverty. 

I believe Gloria Johnson and Sara Kyle are on the right track.  If elected I will work with them to establish a livable minimum wage in Tennessee.

The School Voucher Scam

What is the school voucher program (aka the “voucher scam”) why should you care?  The school voucher scam only helps the wealthy pay tuition for their kids who are already enrolled in private schools, or who will be enrolled in private schools, even without vouchers.

A wise person once told me, “The large print giveth and the small print taketh away.”  Like all scams, the school voucher scam sounds good at first.  But check the small print.  The school voucher scam gives tax dollars to parents to help parents pay for their children’s private school tuition.  The unspoken message here is that private school education is better than public school education and rather than fix our public schools, we should just fund the private school education for all who want a better education.  That’s the large print. 

The truth is, private school education is not available to all Tennesseans.  Private schools still get to pick and choose their students.  Private school tuition will likely still be out of reach for the majority of Tennesseans, even with school vouchers. The voucher scam takes tax dollars from our neighborhood public schools to pay for the private school education of the wealthy.  Simply put, the school voucher scam defunds public schools by funneling your tax dollars to private and religious schools. This allows for the religious indoctrination of children to be funded by you, the taxpayer.  That’s the small print.

The unspoken result of the school voucher scam is that our public school system will continue to be ranked in the bottom 10 in the nation.  Rather than taking money away from our public schools, which are already underfunded, we should be looking for ways to increase public school funding so that all of our children, not just the wealthy, have access to a better education.

 Teri Mai of Spring Hill announced her candidacy for the Tennessee House of Representatives, District 92, today. District 92 encompasses Marshall County and a portion of Williamson County, including parts of Thompson’s Station and Spring Hill. Teri will be running against Republican incumbent Todd Warner.

Teri is a lifelong Democrat who had not been interested in running for office until recently.  When asked “Why now?” she stated, “Because I cannot, in good conscience, sit back and let the current Republican supermajority continue to run rough-shod over the good people of Middle Tennessee.”

If elected, three key issues Teri will work to change are:

  1. Common sense gun safety reforms;
  2. The right of all persons to bodily autonomy; and
  3. Election reforms to make voting safe and accessible for all who are eligible to vote.

Teri is a native Texan. She received her undergraduate degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and her juris doctor degree from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida. She moved to Spring Hill, Tennessee in January 2021. In addition to her leadership role with the Williamson County Democratic Party, she is an active member of Grace Episcopal Church in Spring Hill and the Tennessee Valley Corvette Club.

For more information contact:

Teri Mai

In September 2023, Tennessee republicans announced the appointment of a committee to review “strings” attached to $1.89 billion (yes, that is billion with a “B”!) in federal school funds.   Cameron Sexton stated “Any time the federal government sends money, there are always strings attached to those dollars, and there is always a possibility that it opens the state up to other regulations or restrictions.”  Randy McNally stated, “Federal dollars and the various mandates and restrictions that come with those dollars affect the way Tennessee’s children are educated. Due to our state’s excellent financial position, this is a worthy subject of examination and study.”  The “strings” that are so disconcerting to the Republican supermajority are these – the funds are to be used to support programs for low-income students, students with disabilities, and school lunch programs. 

According to the website, Tennessee is ranked 11th in the United States for its economic outlook.  Compare this to our public schools which come in at an abysmal 41.  Can we afford to turn away Federal funds?  Remember also that those same federal funds the legislature is threatening to turn away are our tax dollars.

I will work to make our public schools better for all students in the state.  This means I will work to make sure Tennessee receives all funding available from all sources available to us to improve our schools so that in turn, our schools are able to prepare the children of the State of Tennessee to be the best they can be.  This in turn will make Tennessee the best it can be.  

The United Nations Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice prepared a paper stating, in part, “The right of a woman or girl to make autonomous decisions about her own body and reproductive functions is at the very core of her fundamental right to equality and privacy. . .”.  The paper further states, “The decision as to whether to continue a pregnancy or terminate it, is fundamentally and primarily the woman’s decision . . .” and that “It is imperative to understand that at this state, despite the intense efforts made by religious lobbies to portray the zygote as a baby, it still consists of unindividualized cells, from which the embryo as well as the placenta will develop.” 

The government has no business making healthcare decisions for ANYONE.  The best person to make healthcare decisions is the person whose health is at stake.  Healthcare decisions should be private.  The person making healthcare decisions should be legally able to make these decisions with the advice of their healthcare providers and using their own moral compass.  

I will introduce and support legislation that would allow all people in the State of Tennessee the right to make autonomous decisions regarding their own bodies and reproductive functions, including the right to access hormonal birth control, intrauterine devices, emergency contraceptives, abortion care, and more permanent forms of reproductive care, such as tubal ligation. 

Election laws should be voter-centric — making it easier for voters to select representatives of their choice.  I will work to strengthen our democracy and defend the sacred rights of every American voter.  The vote of each and every citizen of the United States should count!

I will introduce and support legislation to defend and expand the access to vote, particularly in response to legislation that marginalizes certain populations.

I will introduce and support legislation to expand voter education, make the voter registration process easier, and make the voting processes more easily accessible to all citizens who are or should be eligible to vote.   

I will introduce and support legislation to make early voting, voting-by-mail, and voting by drop box available to all registered voters.

I will introduce and support legislation to increase investment in our state and local systems that administer elections to promote government accountability and ensure free and fair elections.

I will introduce and support legislation to stop any form of partisan gerrymandering and rectify any partisan gerrymandering that currently exists.

I will introduce and support legislation to reform campaign finance to increase transparency in election financing. Finally, I will work to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act or similar legislation to strengthen voting rights by expanding and strengthening the government’s ability to respond to voting discrimination. 

Given the increase in number of mass shootings in the last few years, I believe it is time for ALL responsible adults to check their views. 

The Second Amendment reads: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”[1]

We have a well-regulated militia – namely the U.S Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Guard.  We also have well-regulated law enforcement in the FBI, the ATF, the DPS, the Department of Corrections, the Border Patrol, municipal police departments and county sheriff’s departments.  My apologies to any agencies I did not mention.   

The majority of our law enforcement officers would like to see some sensible gun control.  In fact, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (the “IACP”) published a position paper[2] in 2018 outlining “common sense policies that would assist in reducing gun violence, while upholding the second amendment”.

  • The IACP supports legislation to prohibit the mail order sale of bulletproof vests and body armor to all individuals except sworn or certified law enforcement officers.
  • The IACP opposes any federal legislative proposals that would either pre-empt and/or mandate the liberalization of individual states’ concealed-carry weapons (CCW) laws pertaining to the carrying of concealed weapons in other states without meeting that state’s requirements.
  • The IACP has been a strong supporter of the assault weapons ban since 1992.
  • The IACP supports a waiting period for the purchase of a handgun.
  • The IACP calls on Congress to act swiftly to close these loopholes and preserve the effectiveness of the laws in place.
  • The IACP is opposed to legislation that restricts the ATF’s ability to share vital gun trace information with its state and local counterparts.
  • The IACP opposes any legislative effort that would reduce the ability of government agencies to prohibit the sale of armor-piercing ammunition and weaken the standards for ammunition to be considered armor-piercing.
  • The IACP supports legislation and policies that will prohibit the sale or transfer of armor piercing ammunition.

Criminal and mental health background check must be required for all individuals who want to purchase a handgun, rifle, or shotgun from ANYONE ANYWHERE.  Additionally, the sale of all assault weapons and the sale of body armor to individuals must be banned. 

I know guns don’t kill. I know it is people who kill.  People with guns can and do kill more people than people without guns kill.  People with automatic assault-type weapons can, and do, kill thousands of people each year.  People with automatic, assault-type weapons, are capable of mass shootings – like the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, like the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida, like the mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, like the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas; like the mass shooting at the Tops in Buffalo, New York; like the mass shooting at the Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee; like the mass shooting at the synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, like the mass shooting at the Kroger in Collierville, Tennessee and the Covenant School shooting.  This year alone, there have been more than 200 mass shootings in the United States.  In 2023, more than 40,000 people have died from gun violence.

Parents should not have to wonder if it is safe to send their children to school.  Grocery shopping should not be life-threatening.  We should feel safe from gun violence at work, in the park, and at restaurants.  Churches should be sanctuary for all who enter. 

I will work to make our schools, restaurants, churches, synagogues, offices and homes safer from gun violence.  Work for your constituents.  Work with law enforcement.  Work to save lives.  I will work with all members of the Tennessee General Assembly to pass common-sense gun control laws.

[1] U.S. Const. amend. II

[2] IACP Firearms Position Paper 2018;