Meet the Candidate: Ruby Powell-Dennis(Tennessee)

6 mins read

Candidate Name: Ruby Powell-Dennis

What office are you running for?

State Representative – District 97

With which party are you running for office?

Democratic Party

Election Date

Primary – August 6, 2020- General November 3, 2020

Why are you running for office?

As a former elementary school administrator, I have worked with students, teachers, families and community members. It was my time serving students that shaped my desire to work in electoral politics fighting for educational equity.

What is the biggest issue facing your community and how do you propose helping?

I am running because our community deserves a weighted funding model to fund schools, affordable healthcare for families, and increased investments in small businesses. I have seen first hand how hard educators are working in schools (and now virtually) to deliver instruction to students, but do not have the much needed resources to help all children in their classroom learn. The workforce in education is overwhelmingly populated by women. Increasing funding ensures that those women, and all educators, can get paid the professional salary they deserve. I feel even more passionate about it now as I see corporate bailouts passed by lawmakers in a matter of days yet, our schools have to get by on minimum funding year after year.

I care about healthcare because both of my parents, now deceased, did not have access to affordable healthcare. I did not have access to healthcare for many years as a young professional. Our state has the ability to expand Medicaid and serve an estimated 113,000 residents in the coverage gap (those ineligible for Medicaid and also ineligible for premium subsidies in the exchange) but, one party leadership in Nashville is standing in the way of progress. If the state were to expand Medicaid, at least 250,000 people (some studies have put this number quite a bit higher) would gain access to coverage, including nearly 100,000 who currently have access to premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions in the exchange, but who would have access to much lower out-of-pocket costs under Medicaid. Source:

I care about small businesses because they are the driving force of our economic engine. Before Covid-19, I heard over and over again about the need to increase focus on locally owned small businesses and minority/women businesses in Shelby County. Now as we look to life after Covid-19, we have an opportunity to make investments in small businesses that will be even more vital now to the economic recovery efforts of our state and country. Oftentimes in moments of chaos, women and people of color are left out of the conversation. That is unacceptable and detrimental.

How do we fix the partisan divide in our country and start working together again?

I am proud to be running for state representative and to be someone who cares about equity. Our state needs equity of gender, equity of empowerment, and equity of rights. I am proud to be running for state representative and to be someone who cares about equity. Our state needs equity of gender, equity of empowerment, and equity of rights. I believe that the partisanship we see is a direct result of allowing inequality to persist in our country. We we eradicate inequality, we will achieve unity.

Who is your hero?

The other person I look up to is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. As the first elected female head of state in Africa, her work on women’s rights won her the 2011 Noble Peace Prize. She went on to serve for 12 years as president and her legacy still endures. I admire the strength she has not only to lead her people, but to protect those who are vulnerable.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy reading, gardening, volunteering and spending time with my family.

What is the most recent book you read?”

Freedom Faith – The Womanist Vision of Parthia Hall

Do you have any kids/pets/talking houseplants?

I have two children (August – 1 and Arianna – 3), two dogs (Leo and Alvin) and a slew of plants including 6 rose bushes!

How can our readers get involved in your campaign?

We are looking for volunteers to assist with phone banking. Not only can this be done from anywhere, but broadly it helps ensure Democrats turn out for elections and hear encouraging words from others fighting for new leadership. Sign up here to join the movement:

Candidate Social Media:
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Post created from answers submitted by candidate to our Meet the Candidate survey.

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