Cohen and Other Officials Implore Bredesen to Accept Stimulus Funds: "Do the Right Thing." 

Hosting a collection of other local public officials Friday, 9th District congressman Steve Cohen led them in imploring Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen not to follow through on recent hints that the will turn down federal stimulus funds for extending unemployment insurance.

Challenging Bredesen to “listen to his heart,” Cohen said, “It’ll tell him what’s the right thing to do.” The congressman said the money in question, some $143 million, is destined for “the purple hearts of this recession,” that the disbursement of the funds would be “temporary, targeted, and timely,” and that “if Tennessee doesn’t use the money, it’ll be spent somewhere else.”

Not to take the funds, said Cohen, would be “wrong—socially, morally, and economically.” Drawing an implicit comparison to Southern officials of an earlier age, Cohen suggested that those Southern governors (few so far, and so far all Republican) who have declined to accept federal stimulus funds for the unemployed are acting in the tradition of “”Jim Crow,” in the mold of former separatist-minded officials like the late Alabama governor George Wallace.

Asked if he would so characterize Bredesen in the same light, should the Tennessee governor also turn down the unemployment funds, Cohen declined to do so, but he said, “It is odd that all of the governors who’ve turned down the money so far are Southerners. Southern governors aren’t the only ones who care about fiscal solvency.”

State Rep. Jeanne Richardson addressed the concern stated by Bredesen, that accepting the unemployment funds would impose long-term obligations on Tennessee after the two-year term of their use expired, if unemployment totals should rise or continue at the present high level.

“That’s perverse logic not to help people right now. You can’t predict the future,” Richardson said.

Others supporting Cohen in calling for Bredesen to accept the federal funds were city council chairman Myron Lowery, county commission chairman Deidre Malone, state Senator Beverly Marrero, state Representatives Richardson, Ulysses Jones, Larry Miller, and Joe Towns, and Memphis Labor Council official Howard Richardson.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

Metal Museum Eyes Overton Park Expansion

News Blog

Group: 'Coliseum Is Officially Saved'

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies Beat Mavericks 98-88, Tie for #1 in West

News Blog

BREAKING: Fairgrounds TDZ Wins State Approval

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Fingertrick

From My Seat

Gameday Gratitude

We Saw You

Indie Film Fest, Grilled Cheese Fest, Adapt-A-Door and more!

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Jackson Baker

  • Post-Mortem, Pre-Birth

    On the surface, the GOP still rules in Tennessee, but the election showed evidence of Democratic revival.
    • Nov 16, 2018
  • Last Stop, Memphis!

    On the long campaign’s final night, most of the major candidates were working Shelby County.
    • Nov 8, 2018
  • Election 2018: Winners, Losers, and Close Calls

    Locally, the blue wave still had power, though most Democratic challengers to incumbent Republicans fell short; statewide, the red wall remained stout in wins by Lee and Blackburn; the Council's referenda all go down to defeat. (ORIGINAL ARTICLE RESTORED.)
    • Nov 7, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation