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Monday, Aug. 31, 2015

Local activist fights fiscal cliff

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

(Photo)
From left are Colleen Janus, Murfreesboro; Meechie Biggers, Lewisburg; Donna Seeley, Tullahoma; Rebekah Majors-Manley, Bell Buckle; Jackie Shrago, Nashville; and Lenda Sherrell, Monteagle. The "discharge petition" referred to in the sign relates to extending tax cuts for the middle class. According to Janus, it has already been signed by senators from both parties and needs House approval.
(Submitted photo)
Rebekah Majors-Manley of Bell Buckle was one of 35 Tennesseeans lobbying Congress last week attending a White House-sponsored meeting on the fiscal cliff and lobbying Tennessee's representatives to try to avoid it.

"Working Together To Avoid The Fiscal Cliff," sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement, brought together leaders from Tennessee and Kentucky on Dec. 5.

Majors-Manley, Colleen Janus of Murfreesboro, Meechie Biggers of Lewisburg and others are members of The Action, an organization advocating tax breaks for the middle class and an end to tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The women met with U.S. Sen. Bob Corker during their trip last week.

"He was very generous with his time," said Majors-Manley, "and we appreciated it." Nevertheless, she said the group had "a spirited dialogue" with Corker, a Republican, over the issues.

They also met with Robert Jameson of U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais' office, whom they also described as generous with his time. They were unable to arrange a meeting with U.S. Rep. Diane Black, said Majors-Manley. Bedford County is in the process of moving from Black's district to DesJarlais' district effective with this year's election cycle.

The women also got the opportunity to tour the White House and the House and Senate chambers at the U.S. Capitol, as well as congressional committee meeting rooms.

Special moment

(Photo)
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker talks to Meechie Biggers, left, and Rebekah Majors-Manley.
(Submitted photo)
One member of their group, who normally uses a walker, swapped for a wheelchair during the busy trip, and that actually turned out to be an advantage, as the handicapped access entrances gave them a chance to see parts of the White House they wouldn't have seen otherwise.

They had just finished their White House tour, and were running late for their next appointment, when Majors-Manley realized that something was about to happen. She told those with her to wait, and sure enough the presidential motorcade sped by a few minutes later.

Majors-Manley, an unemployed registered nurse, said she's been politically-oriented for years.

'Power of my voice'

"I led my first protest in the eighth grade," she said. Her school had a rule requiring students to sit with their home rooms in the cafeteria. She organized a protest by having her fellow students reserve school lunches but then bring lunch from home, leaving the cafeteria with excess food.

The principal was impressed with the students' creative thinking and granted their request to be allowed to sit where they wanted.

"I learned the power of my voice," she said.

Majors-Manley said she wants to do more work with local students, organizing Young Democrat clubs and helping set up internships for Middle Tennessee State University students to implement presidential initiatives.

From left are Colleen Janus, Murfreesboro; Meechie Biggers, Lewisburg; Donna Seeley, Tullahoma; Rebekah Majors-Manley, Bell Buckle; Jackie Shrago, Nashville; and Lenda Sherrell, Monteagle. The "discharge petition" referred to in the sign relates to extending tax cuts for the middle class. According to Janus, it has already been signed by senators from both parties and needs House approval.