GOP leaders said as much last week when they re-elected Brooks assistant majority leader for the Tennessee House of Representatives during the House Republican Caucus. The party’s executives, just like their Democratic Party counterparts, are gearing up for the coming 108th General Assembly which convenes in January.
If the 2012 session taught us anything, it is that the 2013 version will be just as newsworthy and hopefully equally as beneficial to Tennessee residents in every corner of the state. It also is our hope — just as it is our desire for the Washington, D.C., lawmakers of Congress and the Senate — that elected legislators on both sides of the aisle find ways to work together.
Because one politician is labeled a Democrat and another one a Republican is no reason the two should become automatic antagonists on any issue. Let us repeat, on any issue.
It’s all about debate.
It’s all about negotiation.
It’s all about compromise.
Being part of the majority in either branch of state government — House of Representatives or Senate — does not make a lawmaker right. Being part of the minority in either branch of state government — House of Representatives or Senate — does not make a lawmaker wrong. And, of course, the same holds true on the flip side.
The 107th General Assembly saw many accomplishments for the Volunteer State. Thankfully, Democrats and Republicans in some cases found common ground with Gov. Bill Haslam. Among the broad categories where legislators stood up — together — for the good of all Tennesseans were anti-crime measures, education and tax relief. Even more progress, some in the form of significant change, could be coming.
We offer our best wishes to lawmakers across the state and urge them to do what is right for Tennesseans, not what is politically convenient. This includes our own: State Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland who represents the 22nd Legislative District; State Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville who represents the 9th Senatorial District; and of course State Rep. Brooks, R-Cleveland who represents the 24th Legislative District.
We offer this reminder. Our community has not forgotten the Legislature’s first key political battle in the 2012 session; that being, the unwise redistricting that split Bradley County legislatively and congressionally. It was a prime example of political maneuvering at its very worst.
Likewise, thousands of our residents who are now part of the 4th Congressional District are watching all developments regarding the embattled Scott DesJarlais, the Republican incumbent whose personal battles over the past few months have cast even further doubt among Bradley Countians who had no desire to have their county split down the middle between the 3rd and 4th congressional districts.
Whether DesJarlais survives these distractions no one can know. He has indicated no willingness to resign and is apparently considering another re-election bid in two years.
And this returns us to state Rep. Brooks.
Upon his re-election as assistant majority leader in Nashville, Brooks acknowledged he continues to be approached with suggestions to set his sights on Washington in 2014, and specifically the 4th Congressional District seat held by DesJarlais.
It would be a natural transition for Brooks, but only he can make such a decision. Surely, it would be a significant step in the Cleveland legislator’s political career.
Several factors will weigh in his decision, some of the most important of which will be impact on his family, his faith, his assignment with the Church of God International Offices and his allegiance to his home state. All are critically important to the popular lawmaker.
In either capacity — as a legislator or a Congressman, assuming his success continues at the polls — Brooks finds himself in a unique position to serve the state of Tennessee.
We wish him well in his personal deliberation.
We understand it will not — nor should it be — an easy decision.