Usually, when a Tennessee Congressman steps down he or she gets a “thank you” resolution from the state legislature with all the members shown as sponsors. For a Democratic Congressman who is stepping down this year, the tradition changed.
U.S. Congressman Bart Gordon, a Murfreesboro Democrat, announced last month he would not run for re-election. So, state Representative Kent Coleman, also Democrat from Murfreesboro, drafted a standard resolution thanking Gordon for 25 years of service.
Such a resolution is routinely co-sponsored by all the members of the House and Senate so that all their names appear on the framed document for the Congressman’s wall.
But this time most of the names on Gordon’s “thank you” will be Democrats. Coleman was asked by Republicans not to add them as co-sponsors.
“I think with the maybe increased partisanship that exists in government today. It was probably a better idea to allow people to sign on to the resolution and not make that type of motion and cause a political disturbance.”
Coleman says several Republicans, including most members who are in Gordon’s 6th Congressional district, did sign onto the resolution. He says he hopes the legislature returns to bipartisanship to honor those who serve the state.
Thirteen of the 50 Republicans in the state House signed on to the resolution honoring Gordon’s services. The state Senate takes up the resolution next week.
A resolution honoring Democratic Congressman John Tanner, who is also retiring, is expected to be handled the same way according to the resolution’s sponsors. Lawmakers said they were unsure of how a resolution for Republican Zach Wamp, who’s leaving Congress to run for Governor, will play out.
Coleman says he has co-sponsored such bills for retiring Republicans in the past.
Two Republican state Senators, Diane Black of Gallatin and Jim Tracy of Shelbyville, are vying for their party’s nomination to replace Gordon.