Rallying and marching nationally plus a letter-writing campaign locally have been two forms of expression for Fifth District Democrats, concerned about policies and platforms of new President Donald J. Trump, a Republican, with the GOP in control of both houses of Congress.
Fearing Civil Rights violations and inadequate replacement of The Affordable Care Act, Fifth District Democrats spoke out during their monthly meeting, with 21 present Wednesday night, Jan. 18, in Rosarito’s Mexican Cantina, 210 Lovell Road.
Brad Duckett, Knox County Democratic Party’s Fifth District co-representative, his wife, Laura Carrington Duckett, and fellow Fifth District member Sandra Robinson traveled to Washington D.C. last weekend to join Women’s March on Washington, Saturday, Nov. 21, concerned about Trump’s proposed policies and rhetoric. All three spoke about the trip after Wednesday’s meeting.
“To me its about respect. The administration that’s coming in just seems to not have respect for some of the people who don’t fit into the majority mold,” Brad Duckett said. “Some of the things Trump has said about disabled people and LGBT people, that’s gotten under our skin a little bit.
“And so this is a way of just saying, ‘Now wait a minute, we’re all here. This is real and we’re all a part of this thing,” he added.
About Trump’s rhetoric, Linda Carrington Duckett said, “It’s very alarming to me as an American the way he talks about minorities and immigrants and women. “… I see that against my American values, so I have to do something about it, so that’s why I’m marching.”
Robinson said, “Frankly I think that we have to show this administration that there are thousands and thousands of people that still need to be thought about and paid attention to and taken care of, and that’s why I’m going.”
Linda Lawson, KCDP Fifth District co-representative, told the gathering she hosted “letter-writing” campaigns Sunday, Jan. 8, and Sunday, Jan. 15, and sent those letters to Knox County’s three United States Congres-sional representatives who are all Republicans. The concern is how Republicans plan to promote, and what are the specifics, replacing The Affordable Care Act now that Republicans have majority control in Washington, D.C.
In addition to e-mailing, Lawson said she hand-delivered numerous stamped letters to the Knoxville offices of Sen. Lamar Alexander [R-Tenn.], Sen. Bob Corker [R-Tenn.] and U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. [R-Second District].
“And just by accident, we ran into Duncan at lunch,” Lawson added. “He was sort of vague about what he said, but what he said was, ‘this was going to take a very long time and nothing is going to happen soon.’
“When I got to Sen. Alexander’s office, they were very anxious to share with me a press release that they had just issued,” Lawson added.
“If I understand Alexander’s plan correctly … most of this and most everything out there involves maybe doing it in phases, different parts at different times, but sending money to the states and using block grants, which I don’t see as a positive thing.”
“… And giving people tax credits.”
However, “When you give someone who doesn’t have a lot of income a tax credit, they’re not going to get it until 15 months from now,” Lawson said.
“I do think they are concerned about the amount of push-back they are starting to see all across the country,” Lawson added. “Two of the key people are Alexander and Corker on this issue. They are the two Republicans who have stood up and said they won’t vote for a plan that doesn’t include a replacement.”
Referencing feedback from one of the three GOP offices, Lawson couldn’t recall which one, she asked, “Why did you vote for the Budget Resolution in the first place?
“And they’re like, ‘It’s just procedural, it really doesn’t mean anything.”
However, “I was encouraged by all three offices who said they had no intension of repealing [The Affordable Health Care Act] without a replacement,” Lawson said. “The scary part is, what is the replacement?”
While most of the 21 Knox County Democrats on hand were Fifth District, some identified themselves as visitors from other Knox Democratic Party districts.
Duckett said the Knox County Democratic Party needs to improve its “visibility, getting us out there in various ways; official ways but unofficial ways. … Actually talking to people, on both sides.”
Duckett referred to a highly respected official “who started working for the Democratic Party back in the ‘’70s” who advised, “‘if you talk about issues at the general level, you don’t get a lot of support. But every time you go into details, that’s when the issues start resonating.’”
The bottom line, Duckett said, “We really are the party of the people.”
“The odd thing, after this [November] election, is the energy is better than it was before,” Duckett said.
For more information about Fifth District Democrats or KCDP, contact Lawson at KnoxDemsDistrict5@gmail.com or call 865-397-8477.
For more information about Knox County Democratic Party convention and Fifth District Democrats convention, with one of the main purposes to elect county and district party officials, contact Lawson at -----.