Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Former Congresswoman Diane Black and her husband Dr. David Black to the studio to talk about what inspired the creation of 2ndVote and their road to the American dream.
Leahy: In-studio with us, our good friends, former Congresswoman Diane Black – Good morning –
Black: Good morning. Great to be here with you.
Leahy: And Dr. David Black.
Dr. Black: Good morning. Thank you for having us.
Leahy: Boy, this is great to have people in here in-studio. It’s very different being in-studio. You’re able to have a longer conversation. You did this all the time, Diane.
You’d be on the campaign trail and somebody hands you a cell phone and you talk for five or six minutes with somebody you never met. It’s a little different being in-studio, isn’t it?
Black: Oh, yeah. I love being in-studio. It’s so much better than being on a telephone and not being able to see someone’s expression. Because they know how to respond. If your eyebrows go up when I’m saying something, I realize I’ve hit on something that’s important. So that visual is really helpful when you’re trying to express a topic.
Leahy: Absolutely. Talking about things that are important, let’s talk about 2ndVote. On the web at 2ndvote.com. Tell us what 2ndVote is, Diane, and how did this thing get started?
Black: Well, let me first of all start off with how it got started because it is an interesting story. Dave and I after church on Sundays, we typically will go to the grocery store, and we’ll do our shopping for the day and the week.
And as we got ready to check out the cashier, and she asked Dave if he would like to contribute to March of Dimes. And he is very generous and said, yes, absolutely. And he gave his contribution. I didn’t say anything at that time.
But as we were walking into the car to put the groceries in the car, I said, why did you do that? And he said, well, because it’s the March of Dimes. And I said, well, you know, you just supported an organization that supports abortion.
And he was like, no! Not the March of Dimes. They save children. And he said, how would I know that? And I said, well, first of all, I think you should always ask your wife because your wife has the answer.
Leahy: Okay. This is always the answer to any question. How would I know that? Ask your wife. Every married man knows that, David.
Dr. Black: Well, what you said, why did you do that? You also hear that a lot. (Laughter)
Black: Then I followed that up with, I don’t know. And Dave said, well, we need to do something to make sure that people understand and know where their dollars are being spent and where their dollars are being contributed.
Leahy: This is the mind of an entrepreneur. There’s a problem. Your wife has identified a problem and instead of saying, well, gee, that’s too bad, you said we need to do something.
Dr. Black: That, and also I’m a scientist. So research is kind of second nature. But I did ruminate on this for a while. And I began to think deeply about what else do I not know? And that led eventually to February.
I think it was March of 2012 when I pulled together on a Saturday morning some techy Christian young men and posed the question to them. And we began to do our research and began to look into: what are organizations like nonprofit and for-profit organizations doing with the money we either give or spend. That’s put us down a very interesting road for the last nine years.
Leahy: Nine years from an idea when your wife identified a problem. You mentioned you’re a scientist. Tell us a little bit about your scientific training.
Dr. Black: Well, my doctorate degree is in the field of legal medicine. I’m a forensic toxicologist, also a clinical toxicologist. I think a lot of people in the Nashville area know we started a small business in 1990 with four employees. And we borrowed $70,000 to do that. And 25 years later, we had a thousand employees. And it was a company worth more than $500 million.
Leahy: That’s what we call an American success story. Congratulations on that.
Dr. Black: Well, thank you. But we both were born poor. Diane was born in public housing, and I say my family aspired to live in public housing.
Leahy: (Laughs) Now that’s a good line. I wish I’d come up with that one. That’s a very good line.
Dr. Black: But we have both lived the American dream. I mean, here’s a lady who was born in public housing and ended up meeting with the president in the White House.
Leahy: That’s something.
Dr. Black: This is a great country.
Leahy: By the way, the public housing, just for our listeners. Where were you born? Where was the public housing? And how did you emerge from that?
Black: Yes. Well, my father and mother were from Baltimore, and I was born in Baltimore. My parents had four children. My father was an electrician at a factory and didn’t have a lot of money.
My father only went to the sixth grade, and my mother went to the ninth grade. And my father, fortunately, served in World War II. And while he was overseas, he learned and older men taught him how to to be an electrician. He really had difficulty reading, but he was so smart, he could put anything together.
So we lived in public housing until I was about six years old, and my father and mother had saved enough money to buy the house that my parents still live in. My mother is 96 years old and lived during wartime and difficult times. She’s just a strong lady.
Leahy: I guess if anybody believes in America and the American dream of creating success for yourself, it would be you, Doctor David Black, and you former Congresswoman Diane Black?
Black: We certainly understand it.
Leahy: When we come back, we want to talk about the details of 2ndVote. I can’t wait to hear about all this. How you got it set up, what it’s doing now, and where are you going in the future?
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