Tennessee’s senior senator had kind words for its senior representative after hearing word of his impending retirement.
"Bart Gordon's leadership on science, technology, and education has been hugely important to the Tennessee Valley and to our country,” Sen. Lamar Alexander said Monday after Gordon announced his retirement plans.
“I have especially valued working with him to enact the 'America COMPETES' legislation, which will help create good new jobs for our future,” Alexander continued. “Bart should be proud of what he's accomplished in 25 years. I will look forward to the next steps in his career."
But not all Republicans feel as kindly toward Gordon.
“Like John Tanner, Bart Gordon can see the writing on the wall in 2010 and has chosen to step aside,” Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney said.
Devaney and 6th Congressional District challenger Lou Ann Zelenik credit Gordon’s decision to growing discontent in the mid-state.
“I commend him for recognizing that the voters are looking for representation that more closely aligns with their values and giving them the opportunity to select a new congressman …” Zelenik said.
“With the departure of Congressman Gordon from the race, I am more firmly grounded in my belief that Tennesseans are looking for new leadership that doesn’t place political career above the critical issues facing our nation,” she added.
Zelenik credited Gordon for his 25 years of service in the Congress.
“I applaud Congressman Gordon for his years of service to the people of Tennessee and for his willingness to accept the changes within our state,” Zelenik said. “When Congressman Gordon came to office, the Sixth District was a very different place than it is today.”
Devaney said the 6th district is ready for a change in Washington and a fresh economic view.
“Rep. Gordon’s decision is further proof that Democrats are sensing the mounting discontent among voters and know they are facing a potentially significant backlash in next year’s elections,” Devaney said. “Rep. Gordon made the right decision and I wish him and his family well as he moves on from his career in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or firstname.lastname@example.org.