Recently, the freshman legislators of both parties held a joint meeting to foster communication and bipartisanship. Leaders of the effort were Republican Brian Terry and Democrat Bill Beck. Terry’s generosity of including the Democrats was quickly abused.
The incident involved the appearance of former UT basketball star, Allen Houston, who was invited to talk about his foundation and its efforts to promote fatherhood and family unity in minority communities. Unbeknownst to Houston or Terry, shortly before the meeting Beck and TEA union lobbyist Jim Wrye conspired to crash the event by having Lee Harrell rush to the podium after Houston finished and deliver a rant against vouchers. Republican freshmen sat stunned at the rude takeover of their meeting.
What is it with Jim Wrye? It seems with this Alabama transplant we are always waiting for the other sheet to drop. First there was the revelation that Wrye directed TEA campaign funds away from minority legislators, the union’s most loyal supporters.
And now the union operative from the home of George Wallace has the bad judgment to crash the event of a bona fide Tennessee African American hero, and that speaks volumes about how and where Wrye learned his politics.
Wallace & Wrye have a lot in common. George Wallace spent a career trying to keep minorities out of better schools and Jim Wrye has spent his career trying to keep minority students locked up inside bad schools.
They both stand in the school house door. One facing out, the other facing in.