Rosalind Kurita Withdraws From U.S. Senate Race

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

State Sen. Rosalind Kurita today withdrew her name from the ballot in the Democratic Primary for the United States Senate in Tennessee.

Congressman Harold Ford Jr., who is currently campaigning in Chattanooga, has been the frontrunner in the Democratic contest for the seat being vacated by Sen. Bill Frist.

Bob Tuke, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, said, "I'm sure the people of District 22 are pleased to learn today that Rosalind Kurita will continue to serve them as their state senator. She is, after all, a tireless advocate for her constituents. I'm sure she will continue as one of the most respected and effective legislators in Nashville.

"I would like to express my thanks to Sen. Kurita for running such a positive and hard-fought campaign for the U.S. Senate. Tennessee Democrats admire her as a professional woman, as a mother, as a nurse, and as a state senator. We are lucky to have a person of such high caliber in our party.

"The Tennessee Democratic Party - including Sen. Kurita and her supporters - is now united behind the candidacy of Harold Ford Jr. for the U.S. Senate. We look forward this fall to defeating whichever failed candidate comes out of the cat fight that the Republican primary has become."

Sen. Kurita said, “I’ve decided that this is just not the right time for me to continue this race. I got into this race because I wanted to make a difference. That hasn’t changed. I will continue my work in the Tennessee State Senate as a champion for ethics, jobs and healthcare for the people of Tennessee.”

Sen. Kurita said she sent a letter to the state election coordinator today instructing the office to remove her name from the August ballot.

“For the last year and a half, I have traveled across the state and met wonderful people. I have been to strawberry festivals and bean suppers. I’ve been in parades, cafes, museums, nursing homes and schools,” Sen. Kurita said.

Sen. Kurita also discussed how her travels across Tennessee "have given a new depth of meaning and urgency to her work on issues of importance to Tennesseans."

She said, “I have observed first hand how important it is that we help our children reach their potential and I feel strongly that more of Tennessee's children need to go to college. We’ve got to work to make that happen.

“I have also come to a new level of awareness of the importance of jobs and economic development. We must have a real strategy to keep jobs in Tennessee. I have been to communities that have been devastated by the loss of local employers. And, in most cases, the families that lose their jobs also lose their healthcare insurance.

“In this campaign I have been able to hold the hands of senior citizens in nursing homes and look into the incubators of premature infants in neonatal intensive care units. I have been able to visit clinics run by student nurses and see Red Cross workers comfort refugees of disasters. Healthcare is an issue that impacts us all and we must find a way to make it accessible to those who need help.

“I want the voters of Tennessee to know that I’ve never forgotten that this all started when I went to my child’s school and discovered they didn’t have a lunchroom. It wasn’t easy but we built that lunchroom. That’s when I realized that one person can make a difference and that experience led me to this life of public service. I will continue my work for the people of Tennessee.”

Sen. Kurita said her campaign across Tennessee has enriched her life and made her even more deeply committed to public service.

“The reward is in the journey. I want to thank all of those who supported me with their time, their talent and their money. I have made many new friends and met so many people who share my vision of a better Tennessee and a better America,” Sen. Kurita said.

Sen. Kurita, a registered nurse, said she would begin to evaluate other opportunities.

“I feel confident that my journey in public service is not over. Throughout my life, when one door closed another has opened. There are other fights to fight, other roads to travel and many ways to make a difference,” she said.

Stuart James, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said, "I want to congratulate state Sen. Rosalind Kurita for her willingness to take part in the American political process by offering herself up as a candidate for United States Senate. Sen. Kurita just announced she is withdrawing from her campaign for the United States Senate-she ran a courageous campaign based upon opportunity, values, and common sense. She discussed the issues, openly and honestly. I would like to call on every Democrat to congratulate Sen. Kurita for her campaign. I am happy she will continue her service in the State Senate, and I am sure that we will hear from Senator Kurita in the future.

"I am, now that he is unopposed in the primary, calling on all Democrats to unite and support Congressman Harold Ford. Congressman Ford has shown that he has the integrity, and the intelligence, to become an outstanding Senator. Instead of engaging in deliberate tactics to divert the voters attention from the issues, Congressman Ford is talking about the issues. He is talking about creating opportunities in education, creating job opportunities, and creating opportunities in providing health care for all Americans. He is talking about values, values that make it abundantly clear that he is here to serve the public good, that he is here to help the people of the state of Tennessee and of this country. He is taking a common sense approach to his campaign, he is running in every county in Tennessee seeking the voters of Tennessee by asking them to participate in the electoral process, to change the leadership in the United States Senate.

"Sen. Kurita is an asset to the Democratic Party, to the state Senate, and to the political process. Sen. Kurita's involvement in the U.S. Senate campaign raised the bar, she was an able challenger who was willing to do what Congressman Ford is doing, discuss the issues. Sen. Kurita is an asset to the people of the State of Tennessee. She will serve us well in her continued service is a State Senator.

"This year, more than ever, we know there is a lack of leadership in Washington. State Sen. Kurita would have been outstanding senator, she is a person of character. Now that she is made her decision to withdraw from the race we must now support and elect another courageous person to the United States Senate - Congressman Harold Ford."

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