Common sense State Sen. Reginald Tate is questioning what it means to be censured by the Shelby County Democratic Party Executive Committee, since they never gave him the courtesy of informing him.
The New Tri-State Defender reported the action taken against the Democratic senator from District 33 in Shelby County. The organization contacted him for comment, but that was the first he had heard about it.
“I’m censured? What does that mean? Do you know what that means? Have I lost my right to speak? Do I have to stay in my room? I can’t come out without permission? I’m censured. This is the first I have heard of it, and I don’t know what it could possibly mean,” Tate told the TSD.
The Executive Committee censured Tate during its July 17 meeting, according to a press release the organization sent to the TSD. The action was in response to remarks he made prior to the start of a committee meeting on May 30. The senator’s remarks were called “vulgar,” “detrimental to the Party” and “unbecoming of a Democrat.”
Tate said, “I entered the room where the Fiscal Review Committee was meeting. It’s a joint committee, and on this particular day, the meeting was held in the House. There is a camera in the room, and audio on the desks. I entered the room alone. I was early. This was before the meeting actually started.
“I was sitting with another senator, Bill Ketron, who is a Republican,” Tate said. “He asked me how my campaign was going. I answered, “Oh, well, you know, typical Memphis. Some of the Democrats say that I’m a black Republican. But they’re full of s***.
“‘There are some Republicans who are full of s***, too.’ That’s what Ketron said in response,” Tate said. “Now, this was a private conversation, and the audio is not supposed to be turned on until the chairman bangs that gavel down. So someone up in that control room had turned on the audio.”
The audio was manipulated and placed online to sound like he said, “I am a Black Republican,” Tate said, adding again that it was a private conversation.
Tate is Democrat who is willing to reach across party lines and seek real solutions. The chair of the Senate Education Committee, he wrote a column for The Tennessee Star in April that said, in part, “Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has accurately called
‘literacy attainment the equity issue of our time.’ I agree. I will take it one step further: Education is the civil-rights issue of our generation. Education is also the key to Tennessee’s future.
“In Tennessee, public schools must ensure all students are well-prepared for college or the workforce. All students must be ready to participate as responsible and engaged citizens when they graduate. The greatest challenge we have is to make sure our students leave high school as creative and critical thinkers. That begins with the ability to read on grade level. It all begins and ends with reading.”
Local Memphis reported that Tate’s bipartisan style has angered his party: “votes like making it more difficult to remove confederate statues, and votes against funding Planned Parenthood.”
Tate was one of two Senate Democrats who voted for a bill in the 2017 legislative season to increase the usual sentence for a criminal conviction when the person is also an illegal alien.