“I’m censured? What does that mean? Do you know what that means? Have I lost my right to speak? Do I have to stay in my room? I can’t come out without permission? I’m censured. This is the first I have heard of it, and I don’t know what it could possibly mean.”
Tennessee Sen. Reginald Tate, D-33, was censured by the Shelby County Democratic Party (SCDP) Executive Committee in their July 17th meeting, according to a press release issued by SCDP Chairman Corey Strong.
Late Wednesday evening, Tate said The New Tri-State Defender’s call for an interview was the first he had heard of the action.
“I am the highest-ranking senator in the state,” Tate said. “And when I tell you no one called me, or even gave me the respect of discussing the matter with me, that is the truth. I was not contacted by anyone. And I still can’t tell you what it means.”
According to the document released on Wednesday, the censure action was taken because of remarks Tate made during a General Assembly committee meeting on May 30, 2018. The senator’s remarks were called “vulgar,” “detrimental to the Party” and “unbecoming of a Democrat.”
After hearing the three-paragraphed release in its entirety, Tate offered these remarks.
“I entered the room where the Fiscal Review Committee was meeting. It’s a joint committee, and on this particular day, the meeting was held in the House. There is a camera in the room, and audio on the desks. I entered the room alone. I was early. This was before the meeting actually started.
“I was sitting with another senator, Bill Ketron, who is a Republican,” Tate said. “He asked me how my campaign was going. I answered, “Oh, well, you know, typical Memphis. Some of the Democrats say that I’m a black Republican. But they’re full of s***.
“‘There are some Republicans who are full of s***, too.’ That’s what Ketron said in response,” Tate said. “Now, this was a private conversation, and the audio is not supposed to be turned on until the chairman bangs that gavel down. So someone up in that control room had turned on the audio.”
The audio was manipulated and uploaded online, Tate said, and “it sounds like I am saying, ‘I am a Black Republican.’ But now, if you think about it, why would I say during a joint committee meeting, ‘I am a Black Republican?’ The Fiscal Review Committee looks at contracts, either voting yes or no on them. Why in the world would I say in the middle of this committee meeting, ‘I am a Black Republican?’
“It was manipulated to say that, but that was a private conversation prior to the official start of the meeting.”
Strong further condemned Tate’s comments: “These remarks stepped over the line of acceptable behavior for a Democrat, and a substantial majority of our Executive Committee felt that censure was the appropriate response.”
Press release information did not specify any details of what the censure means for Senator Tate, except as a matter of official record.