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DAY SIXTEEN: Bredesen Blocks The Office Door.

Activists renew demand to stop cuts, meet openly.


Phil Bredesen(NASHVILLE, July 5, 2005) Today three state troopers stand guard at the public entrance to Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen’s office and will only allow entry to a selected few. Following a long holiday weekend, activists continued their occupation of Bredesen’s office demanding the state stop the disenrollment of 323,000 citizens and meet publicly with healthcare advocates. Friday state police had locked the governor’s office as protestors were distracted by a press conference but the demonstration continued in the hallway.

This morning at 8:00 am as the public building opened, the guards greeted activists who have been in the building day and night since June 30th. The protest will continue in the hall as a dozen people refreshed their commitment not to leave until their demands are met.

“This seems like another silly action on their part,” said Stan Davidson who spent the holiday locked in the public building. “They just don’t understand. We are ready to start whenever the governor recognizes how committed we are.”

Quotes from each day of the Take-Over:

DAY 16


"We aren't effected by bullshit like this."  
- Stan Davidson 


DAY 15

“The numbers are beyond belief,” said Stan Davidson a TennCare enrollee preparing to sleep on the cold marble floor. “To take healthcare from over 300 thousand people is getting close to genocide. And the disenrollees are often those that are least able to fight for themselves, the sick and the poor.”

DAY 14


If you want to show your children what it means to be an American, take them to witness the power to protest. You can park on Charlotte Avenue in front of the Capitol. Then watch those willing to light a candle against the darkness — in hopes of a new dawn of government and leaders listening to the people.
- Tennessean 7/3/05


DAY 13


“Why doesn’t Bredesen station National Guard jets overhead?” asked one supporter, “the way he wastes our tax money and spins public-relations, I expect to see a large marble statue of ‘Phil the Great’ out here next week.”


DAY 12


“The governor’s staff seems opposite of the coalition of TennCare supporters,” said Lisa Abell, “they are grudging, untrustworthy and power hungry. I was surprised that people that are heading up our state government cannot control themselves and will act like an abusive parent. While the people of Tennessee are trying to make state government less corrupt, this administration is holding power by closed-door meetings, private deals, golf course encounters and handshake legislation.”


DAY 11


“Bredesen walks through us several times a day,” said Randy Alexander, “every day he knows we are here.”


DAY 10


“Gov. Bredesen is right now proposing an ethics panel for the state to improve transparency in state government,” said Randy Alexander of Tennessee ADAPT. “But he only seems to want transparency for other branches of state government, not his office and not TennCare.”




"The brave people who have occupied the governor’s office are fighting for their human rights.” said John Lozier of Healthcare for the Homeless. “They’re fighting for their very lives. They’re fighting for their neighbors, and that includes all of us.” 




“I remember April eighth when we delivered to this office a ten-point plan, developed by experts who know about health care, and we asked for a speedy response from the Governor. The plan called for the State to save $649 million and allow qualified TennCare recipients to stay," recalled Dr. Dwight Montgomery. “The Governor has never considered what we presented on April eighth.”




“Bredesen is not trustworthy,” said Don DeVaul who has met privately with Gov. Bredesen and has seen him frequently and met with him since the take-over on Monday. “His body language, smirk, eyes that are cold as ice, all make you feel he is insincere. His staff will come to his rescue because he doesn’t really know what he is talking about … He treats us like animals that cannot give back.”




“I believe that Governor Bredesen has a problem facing real people and real issues,” said Michael Heinrich of Tennessee ADAPT. “He may speak in generalities and manage the press well, but he has fails completely when he confronts citizens who are effected by his policies. For example, I was with Randy [Alexander] when Bredesen said he would put vent users in institutions; but last Thursday, in front of the press, the governor magically changes his position 180 degrees and talks like he has been working on the issue for some time.”




“We believe in what we are doing,” said Randy Alexander of Tennessee ADAPT from the governor’s office, “that belief is growing. More and more people are here everyday and more people every night. It is a fantastic feeling after a hard day to see fifty to sixty people outside the window holding a candlelight vigil.”




“The guy [Bredesen] doesn’t care about anything but his own image,” said Don DeVaul, “we have no secrete agenda, but the Bredesen administration is all behind closed-doors.”




"We did not turn him down from having a meeting," said Jerry Spriggs, a TennCare enrollee. "We refused to be divided."




"We will stay as long as necessary," said Louis Patrick from the Governor's Office, "absolutely, no doubt, we are staying."



Halt all of the termination letters immediately, the process for cutting enrollment, and the reduction of benefit limits.
- The Demands

"...There are millions of poor people in this country who have very little, or even nothing, to lose. If they can be helped to take action together, they will do so with a freedom and a power that will be a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life..." 
-- The Trumpet of Conscience, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, 1967


- Tim Wheat

MCIL Journal Index 2005

Follow the TennCare Sit-in

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