To the Editor:
I'm writing about the infamous "Bathroom Bill" that our local State Rep. Susan Lynn sponsored, which was taken "off-notice" Monday afternoon. While I'm glad that Susan has pulled the bill, I'm hesitant to thank her because the bill never should have been introduced to begin with! The very fact it was even written and sponsored by Lynn shows the severe lack of judgement and out-of-touch leadership that has been her trademark. Instead of paying attention to the needs of Wilson County, she has been trying to push through the agenda of The Family Action Council, a "champion of the bill." As Susan says on her blog, "when I and others realized constraints that needed to be resolved it seems that the group was too invested and had gone too far to allow us more time as if they couldn't disappoint their members. However, we can't operate that way when making state law that will affect so many and stands to lose so much."
The fact that Susan didn't realize this from the very beginning, whenever clergy, businesses, the State Attorney General's office, the Department of Education and even her own Republican Party was trying to warn against this bill weeks ago only further highlights how out of touch Susan is with reality and the people in her state. The leaders of more than 60 businesses signed a letter that called the proposal discriminatory, and 6,000 members of clergy signed a 67,000-person petition protesting the bill, yet Ms. Lynn says it's been pulled because she "knows we will get sued so we want to make sure we address all these issues to the best we can beforehand." Yes, you read that correctly, not because she thinks this bill would hurt children, not because she thinks this bill gambles with the already meager funding of our education, not because of the potential economic impacts it could have on our state, but because she thinks it needs to be written better since she knows we will get sued.
This type of leadership is not what Wilson County needs. Either she is totally oblivious to the real fiscal impacts such legislation proposes, or she does not care! I cannot figure out which is worse! This bill has wasted time, has wasted taxpayer money and she is gambling with the educational dollars for our children! This legislation was the most fiscally irresponsible bill I have ever seen to date, carrying a $1 billion fiscal note, and many House Republicans agree as well! If she really wants to protect children, she will help ensure that more of our children graduate high school (currently 1 in 6 do not). If she really wants to protect children, she will help tackle the poverty issue in our state since 1 in 5 children is below the poverty level! If she cared about children, she would help address why Tennessee has the fourth-highest infant mortality rate in our nation! If Susan really wants to do anything to move our state forward with meaningful legislation, she could. But instead she chooses fights over bathrooms, sponsors legislation to fight over marriage equality and argues why women shouldn't be paid the same as men because of "life choices women make."
Susan said the bill will be back next year, but it won't if I have anything to say about it. Not understanding or ignoring the fiscal implications of legislation you propose is terrible judgment. Not understanding or ignoring the other various concerns presented by colleagues, the Department of Education, the Governor, thousands of clergy, your own citizens and trying to cater to a special interest group is not what the people of Tennessee need in a legislator. Susan is out of touch with so many people in our state, even her own party, and this leadership and lack of judgment frequently displayed is why I am running to get her job.
Editor's Note: Trisha Farmer is a Democratic candidate running for State House Dist. 57 seat.