NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — In today’s political landscape, it’s rare to see shows of bipartisanship.
So, it caught state Capitol reporter Chris O’Brien a little off guard when he saw a photo of Rep. Harold Love Jr. (D-Nashville) and Rep. Sam Whitson (R-Franklin) together.
“A very nice group of folks, very concerned about the safety of their children,” Whitson said of the interaction.
The pair met at the home of a Covenant family, though it shocked Whitson a bit to see his colleague there.
“I knew he was going to be there, and I wanted to surprise him,” Love said. “He and I have worked on a lot of bipartisan issues.”
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“I was pleasantly surprised [Love] was there also,” Whitson said. “My dad and Harold’s dad were friends back years before during the Ned-Ray McWhorter administration when my dad was the Commissioner of General Services and Harold’s dad was in the General Assembly.”
“Run them through what happens in special session that will allow them to engage in the process and allow them to really be able to help foster good conversation during special session,” Love said.
The rare show of bipartisanship is a reminder that not everything in politics is polarized, even though that’s largely where things have moved.
Whitson also reminded that lawmakers don’t exist in a vacuum. They have lives outside the legislature too. “I think people would be surprised how well members get along outside the view of the camera or on the House floor,” he said.
The two don’t agree on everything – they’ll be the first to tell you that. But they say it’s not that we disagree; it’s how we go about our disagreements.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, we all represent different parts of the state. We have 95 counties in Tennessee,” Love said. “But that doesn’t mean we can talk to each other in any kind of way we want to. That’s one thing I think Representative Whitson and I always want to get back to.”