Tennessee needs reasonable representation. Without more common-sense lawmakers in office, our statehouse will remain locked in a bubble of ideological extremism. That kind of governance endangers our economic prosperity, the health of our families, safety of our communities, and reputation of our state. The Best of Tennessee was created to solve this problem.
We are not a policy organization. We are not a political organization. We are a bi-partisan group of experienced professionals from a variety of backgrounds ready to address the principal drivers of our state’s dysfunctional political environment.
Our objective is simple – to bring about more effective government by weakening the influence of extremism on and within our government bodies. We aim to accomplish this by doing two things:
We believe that representative democracy is neither self-sustaining nor structurally self-correcting. In that vein, we are guided by the words of the late President John F. Kennedy: “Let us not despair but act. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”
The responsibility for the future of Tennessee rests not in the hands of lawmakers, but in the hands of the citizens who hold the power to elect them.
Our vision is a Tennessee government we can all be proud of again. This vision transcends both political parties. It transcends policies. In fact, it is the same vision our country was founded upon. It is a government where public debate is robust, compromise is valued, and communication is open. It is a representative democracy where the laws ultimately reflect the will of the people.
Our approach involves the development and execution of three distinct strategies, each with their own independent initiatives.
The combined effect of these endeavors is to meaningfully chip away at the extremism within our governing bodies while also laying the foundation for more long-term, sustainable citizen engagement in the democratic process.
The polarization of politics has created a situation where many Tennesseans no longer feel aligned with a particular party, especially if their opinion on a given issue falls outside the party’s litmus test boundaries.
Without a landing place for their views, those in the middle have become increasingly dissatisfied, discouraged, and disengaged. This sense of isolation is further compounded by a media landscape catering exclusively to ideological extremes. We recognize the critical need to re-engage with this large part of the population, both as voters and as potential candidates.
Our statewide effort to develop a broader and more representative electorate is primarily operated within the structure of a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt corporation. In concert with our communications, digital, and media teams, we are currently preparing a comprehensive strategy for public rollout via a large-scale statewide launch in January 2024. This will include mainstream media, as well as social media platforms, targeted digital marketing, and a robust website featuring online tools to educate and empower the public.
Drawing on the momentum of the current moment, our unique campaign will focus not on what is wrong with government, but highlight what it looks like when government functions well.
In the noise of today’s media, there are ample opportunities to find things to oppose but very few opportunities to find something to support. Many of us have also forgotten how civil discourse sounds or what bi-partisan compromise can achieve.
By illustrating what good government looks like, we offer the chance for Tennesseans to be champions of something better. In short, we give people a reason to engage with politics out of hope, not fear or outrage.
Our website will serve as a resource for Tennesseans across the state who are interested in whether their views, as they define them, are being represented in government.
Through an easily accessible, fact-driven online tool, we will create a profile for each member of the General Assembly. These profiles will include links to a lawmaker’s positions on a variety of issues, including statements to the media and those made in committee hearings and other public forums, as well as a list and breakdown of all legislation they have introduced and their voting records.
This tool will not be subjective. It will not be designed to tell anyone whether they’re being represented well. However, it will be designed to give individuals the opportunity to decide that question for themselves. If people are satisfied with their representation, that is wonderful. If they are not, they can act – by voting, by contributing to campaigns and candidates, or even by running for office themselves.
A third component of our statewide initiative involves offering opportunities and tools for voters to become more involved in politics.
The Best of Tennessee will regularly host free training sessions to empower voters with critical information relevant to running for office themselves, managing campaigns, and financially investing in politics.
These training sessions are not limited to voters from a particular party, or with particular views.
Our Action Fund is designed to strategically reach, inform, and influence the outcome of elections in ways that promote effective government. For example, as legislative sessions unfold, our team will be closely monitoring attacks on reasonable incumbents, especially from extreme out-of-state organizations.
Through the use of independent expenditures, we will encourage support of incumbents who break from the all-or-nothing wings of their caucuses to support the majority of their constituents. We will also use independent expenditures to expose extremism by lawmakers, both as a means to disincentivize radical minority rule, and to encourage reasonable challengers to contest their seats.
As state races begin to take shape after the April 1 candidate filing deadline, we will also begin significant, targeted efforts across a variety of platforms to support candidates who oppose extremism – both as challengers and as incumbents.
Our Victory Fund will use collective dollars to directly support candidates who prioritize the needs of the majority and commonsense consensus-driven government.
Using a quantitative and qualitative model focused on the 2026 election cycle, we will evaluate districts in the state most affected by the dysfunction of extremism. Once these districts are identified, we will begin working directly with community members to recruit and support better candidates committed to finding solutions to the issues that matter to the majority of voters.
Importantly, candidates who decide to run against radical incumbents will be chosen by concerned citizens within their own communities, not by us. Our role is not to tell communities what they need. Our role is to collaborate with them directly so they may make those decisions for themselves. We then provide the tools and experience necessary to successfully run campaigns for more pragmatic and effective leaders.
Paid for by The Best of Tennessee, Inc., The Best of Tennessee Victory Fund, and The Best of Tennessee Action Fund.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidates committee.
Contributions to The Best of Tennessee, Inc., The Best of Tennessee Victory Fund, or The Best of Tennessee Action Fund are not tax-deductible.
For contributions to The Best of Tennessee Victory Fund or The Best of Tennessee Action Fund, state law requires us to use best efforts to collect donor names, addresses, occupations, and employers.