Statement on Indivisible East Tennessee's Endorsement Nominations:

Political endorsements are a tool to signal what policies and values a group wants from elected officials, and to support and elevate candidates who align with those values. Most importantly, it’s a way to hold candidates and elected officials accountable.

In that spirit, Indivisible East Tennessee took a bold step in creating a process based on the national Indivisible Project Endorsement Guide. This movement is – and always will be – about pushing for progressive values and asserting our constituent power. Indivisible calls on elected officials to hold town halls and lead with conviction and transparency. The endorsement process is an opportunity to set the stage for accountable public service and to assess whether a candidate has the values and fortitude to push for a progressive agenda.

After carefully vetting federal and gubernatorial candidates, a diverse, impartial endorsement committee has nominated Renee Hoyos and Craig Fitzhugh. (See the committee's statement below). In the coming days, we’ll provide details on how you can be part the final endorsement decision and share more about the nominees. First, learn more about the process and register to vote HERE. 

From the Indivisible East Tennessee Endorsement Committee:

We are unanimous in our recommendation to put forward Renee Hoyos and Craig Fitzhugh for nomination of endorsement.

Our reasons are as follows:

Renee Hoyos:
- Ms. Hoyos provided well informed, inclusive responses, including consultation from economists and other professional advisors. 
- We found her transparency refreshing; when questions or topics were unclear, Renee responded with questions for clarifications and stipulations with honesty in mind, not to sidestep the issues.
- She stays committed and focused to the four main areas: healthcare, education, environment, and wages. 
- Hoyos offers a practical increase to the minimum wage to $10.10 to $10.50 per hour, which empowers the poorest of our community but also protects independent, small business owners.

Joshua Williams, the Primary opponent of Renee Hoyos, declined to return the questionnaire citing concerns of releasing policy stances and strategy to a third-party organization. He withdrew his name from consideration for endorsement.

Note: The committee was not obligated to endorse a candidate in this congressional race.

Craig Fitzhugh:
- Rep. Fitzhugh’s articulate responses contained passion and in-depth explanation.
- Rep. Fitzhugh remained transparent and personable, correcting mistakes in his questionnaire verbally, namely in the Equity and Inclusion section:
o #5 I am against discrimination in housing (and workplace and education). 
o #6 I am for a woman’s right to choose and OPPOSED TO TRAP laws, not in support. 
- We appreciated his passion for education, including an in-depth plan to better fund public schools, including universal Pre-K education; he is also directly opposed to charter schools, as they could potentially undercut our public school system. 
- Rep. Fitzhugh vocally expressed regret around the current condition of our border policies that allow for children and families to separated.

We did not feel comfortable endorsing Karl Dean for the following areas:
• Karl Dean is only candidate who did not agree to speak with us personally, yet he answered in his questionnaire, “East Tennessee is where we will win this election.”
• Answers were vague and too centrist to justify a progressive endorsement.
• The Endorsement Committee looks for a governor who will speak out on issues, not just address them as they arise in legislation. 
• There seems to be a gap between his successes as a mayor in a blue city (Nashville) vs. getting support in an area like East Tennessee.

In Regards to Phil Bredesen:
Through this endorsement process, we have built a strong relationship with the Bredesen team and we are grateful for their focus on meaningful relationships. We look forward to offering a platform for an open dialogue between Gov. Bredesen and our progressive, grassroots community.