Today is Saturday, July 22, 2017

Congressman Black talks boldness, budget and family

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If Congressman Diane Black had a word of encouragement for folks - particularly women - it would be: Be bold.

"When they feel called to do something, even though it is scary, they should move forward. Women many times have to be asked to run for office or seek a higher level in their career. The confidence of being bold will result in something enriching to them," she said in an exclusive interview with The Wilson Post.

Black was in Nashville on Tuesday to serve as guest speaker during the First Tuesday meeting. First Tuesday is a group made up of Republican party supporters who are interested in what is going on in the community. They meet the first Tuesday of every month at Waller Law Group.

When it comes to being bold - she is not only talking the talk - she's walked the walk, so-to-speak. During her address, Black noted that she is originally from Massachusetts and spent the first several years of her life living in public housing. Her family was not wealthy, but she pursued her dreams thanks to encouragement from a high school counselor.

"I had a high school counselor who saws something in me that I didn't see in myself. I articulated at one time that I wanted to be a nurse, but I didn't have money for college," she said. "He helped me to know good grades would result in my having the ability to go to college and I got a scholarship."

During her first year of college she also worked cleaning houses and ironing clothes to make extra money for tuition.

"Having a mentor in my life really meant a great deal to me," she said.

Black obtained her dream of being a registered nurse and although she is now in politics, keeps her license active.

She first ran for the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1998. "(I was a nurse at the time) and I saw the results of what TennCare was doing to both the cost and quality of care ... I had never run for anything previously, but I thought, 'I understand this.' I thought I could make a difference in policy."

Nowadays, Black serves as Chairman of the House Budget Committee where one of her goals is to "that root out wasteful spending and confront the drivers of our crippling $20 trillion debt burden in Washington."

She said she keeps a photo of her six grandchildren on the back of her voting card.

"We look at $20 trillion in debt. Who is going to pay for that? I'm 66 and my husband is 69. The crisis is going to come a little later and it is going to be on our grandchildren," Black added. "I don't want to leave them with this kind of debt."

What she will leave them with are fond memories - not just of Congressman Black - but as "Mimi."

Black was clear that her three children and six grandchildren are very near and dear to her heart.

"I have a great family who feel that what I am doing is worth sacrificing my time and it is a sacrifice. Grandchildren will have different programs and I can't come to one. My family is very gracious in saying, 'We believe in you.' They recognize that what I'm doing is important."

On Sundays, she commits to having a "family day." They go to church and cook a family dinner in the afternoon.

"They put in their menu selection," she said, laughing. "My granddaughter thinks we need to open a restaurant. I teach the grandchildren how to cook and they put on their little aprons and stand on stools and we cook together. That is a very special thing."

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