(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves) [Order this photo]
That was the declaration made by Mike McWherter, the unopposed Democratic candidate for governor, as he loaded a massive dishwasher Thursday at Parkway Diner. "We used to have one just like this in the governor's mansion -- and I had to use it, too!"
McWherter, son of former governor Ned McWherter, said the whole family was expected to chip in on chores during the eight years spent in the governor's mansion, and when he wasn't washing dishes or busing tables there, he was doing it at his grandmother's restaurant.
The stop was one of several on his "Mike Works!" tour planned by the candidate to reach out to the public.
"I've traveled in all 95 counties in the state," said McWherter. "I usually meet with the local leaders to discuss infrastructure -- what their communities need to survive.
"Now what I want to do is spend time with the working people -- get their concerns with what they think the next governor needs to do to improve their lives and the lives of their children. The best way to do that is to work side by side with them."
So far, McWherter has shoveled mulch, made wooden pallets and washed dishes. He's not sure exactly what jobs are waiting for him, with each depending on the county, but he does know he's got a cool day of working at a car wash sometime soon.
(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves)
McWherter will be in Wilson County today, and by election day he will have rolled up his shirt sleeves and gotten down to work in all 95 counties. Yes, it's work, he said -- but it's also fun.
"It's a great break," said McWherter. "I really enjoy being out here with people who are working. You get some good advice and some great direction when you take the time to visit with them and hear their concerns."
Because of his own restaurant experience, spending a day washing dishes and cleaning off tables at the Parkway Diner may be one of the most familiar, but that doesn't mean his "boss" is going to let him off easy. Or the customers. Or the wait staff. Before his interview was over, they were already teasing him about sitting down on the job.
To follow the Mike Works! tour, visit www.mikemcwherter.com and click on the Mike Works! link.