'No Sale' is Verdict on Kurita's Local P.R. Mission 

JACKSON BAKER

State Senate Speaker Pro Tem Rosalind Kurita (D-Clarksville) is launched on a serious P.R. effort to still the waters that were roiled among Democrats by her decisive vote in January for Republican Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville)as Senate Speaker and Lieutenant Governor.

Ever since then, Kurita’s action – which deposed long-time Speaker John Wilder (D-Somerville) and allowed her own elevation to the Senate post she now holds – has cast her as an outcast among influential state Democrats. One of the most prominent, Senate Democratic leader Jim Kyle of Memphis, wrote an open letter to statewide Democrats denouncing her for alleged defects in “trust, confidence and moral character.”

Kurita, who before the vote was widely regarded as a likely Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2008, has lately made a point of granting interviews explaining her vote on the speakership as a principled one in favor of majority control. (Until the switch last month of GOP senator Micheal Williams of Maynardville to “independent” status, Republicans held a one-vote majority in the Senate.)

This past weekend, while in Memphis to take part in Tennessee History Day activities, she met with members of Memphis’ liberal blogging community at the East Memphis home of lawyer/activist Jocelyn Wurzburg. The invitation-only affair, arranged by local activist Paula Casey, was billed as “off the record,” but the emerging consensus from the attending bloggers indicates they were only slightly mollified by Kurita's explanations for her vote. However civilly it is expressed, “No Sale” is still their predominant reaction.

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