Media - David Weatherspoon for TN State Senate, District 31

Roberson, who agreed to serve as Weatherspoon's finance director, believes that Weatherspoon, who serves as chaplain at Le Bonheur Hospital is the kind of moderate, public-spirited Democrat, keen on expansion of health care benefits, that Republicans can also feel good about.

In addition to being a husband and father, Weatherspoon serves his community as a hospital chaplain at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. The Tennessee native says he will continue to serve the broader community by bringing back a focus on the neighborhoods and the qualities that make the district a wonderful place to live. “I feel that I was called to serve in this capacity because for too long we have not had representation that advocates for our neighbors,” Weatherspoon said. “Now is the time to heed the call for responsible and honest people to run for office and help our neighbors through legislation that will make our communities better, safer places to live and work.”

Since 2010, ten hospitals in rural Tennessee counties have closed, sped by the state’s 2015 decision to turn down $1.4 billion annually in expanded federal Medicaid funding. Opposing Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s effort to expand Medicaid was Weatherspoon’s prospective Republican opponent in the Nov. election for District 31 State Senate, incumbent Sen. Brian Kelsey. This move blocked access to federally-funded health insurance to an estimated 280,000 Tennesseans.

It was good of state Sen. Brian Kelsey to acknowledge in his Dec. 9 guest column that he supports the Congressional tax-cut plan because he personally would benefit from it. Politicians are rarely so forthright about their motives, particularly when there is that much self-interest involved. The senator’s column was well-crafted and polished. It wove together the promises of financial boon for the lives of middle-class people with the hopeful time of the season looking to Christmas. As someone who grew up on a farm in rural Hickman County, Tenn., and as someone who has served as a chaplain for years, I learned to ask good questions when something seemed amiss.

Weatherspoon’s fundraising success so far seems to confirm this assessment, with the candidate pulling in more than $40,000 in the first quarter from over 275 individual donors. The Tennessee native also collected 75 signatures on his petition – three times the requirement. Weatherspoon, a chaplain at Methodist Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, has made health care one of his focal points of his campaign, and has secured the backing of some prominent local names in health care.