A startling direct mail piece started landing in state Senate District 20 mailboxes over the weekend. It includes an Arabic “Welcome” mat.
Nashville Scene The piece, paid for by GOP primary candidate Rob McDow hits incumbent Republican Sen. Steve Dickerson for declining to sign onto a letter urging Gov. Bill Haslam to block Syrian Muslim refugees from being resettled in Tennessee. Dickerson was the ONLY Senate Republican who didn’t support a ban.
Sen. Steve Dickerson was the lone holdout. Nashville’s only Republican in the Senate, Dickerson said he could see where the “unhelpful” rhetoric from some of his colleagues could make the refugees and immigrants living in Nashville uncomfortable.
“I have to think it makes them feel a little unease. A lot of these folks…they’re really coming here to flee tyranny, for safety, to protect their children, to have a new start and really live the American dream,” Dickerson said in a phone interview Friday. “These are the folks who will be the catalyst of prosperity for a large part of our county over a coming generation.” (Oh, really, like these?)
It wasn’t the first time Dickerson was one of the few, if not only, level-headed members of the Senate Republican caucus. He’s voted against bills to criminalize drug-addicted pregnant women and to make the electric chair Tennessee’s plan B for executions if lethal injection drugs aren’t available.
But in Dickerson’s opposition to rejecting refugees, McDow sees terrorist sympathies. “Steve Dickerson says ‘come on in,’ the mailer reads, “and puts out the welcome mat for potentially dangerous Syrian refugees. We do not know who they are or what they intend to do here.”
Johnson City Press A top Tennessee Republican lawmaker believes the time has come for the National Guard to round up any Syrian refugees who have recently settled in the state and to stop any additional Syrian refugees from entering Tennessee.
“We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them from coming in to the state by whatever means we can,” said House GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, R-Franklin, referencing refugees.
“I’m not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks. … We need to gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back to the ICE center and say, ‘They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours.’ “