According to the Associated Press, with 95% of precincts reporting, 1086 Tennesseans honored (or humored) me by making me their choice for Governor. Thank you. That left me only 1,296,572 votes behind Bill Lee, so it was super close. It was a real nail biter at the #RiDEN4TN headquarters last night, and we’re all really worn out but I wanted to take this time to thank everybody who listened to me scream about these things over and over for the last year and a half or so. I do care about this stuff and I’m not done fighting about it. I hope Bill Lee comes up with a better plan than praying that Tennessee’s problems just fix themselves. I don’t think he will, but I hope. I hope I can handle not being Governor. It’s gonna be tough. Please come see me piece my life/act back together as I get out and start doing more shows. I promise I won’t talk politics (for a while). I don’t know how I’m going to find another source of endless fodder as rich as this election cycle. I’m just proud that my campaign lasted longer than Diane Black, Craig Fitzhugh, Mae Beavers, Randy Boyd and all the other dunces who spent MILLIONS of dollars to lose the same race I lost, spending Nothing. May Megatheos bless you, Megatheos bless Tennessee and Megatheos bless the United States of America!
– Chad Riden
Hi I’m Chad Riden and I’m running for Governor of Tennessee as an Independent. Here’s what I’m all about:
– fiber optic internet as a state-wide public utility
– unionized labor
– public schools
– high speed passenger rail
– common sense gun laws
– legalization of cannabis
– sustainable housing for the homeless
– LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination laws and protection
– money in politics
– career politicians
– fossil fuels
– charter schools
– privatized prisons
– hate, fear, ignorance
Many people I hear talking about their “faith” also say and do the most hateful, racist, sexist things imaginable as if demonstrating What Would Jesus Do on Opposite Day. Revelations says the church will become so corrupt that good will be called evil, evil will be called good and God will be so disgusted by the hypocrisy done in His name that He destroys everything.. and none of them think it’s talking about THEM. It doesn’t make sense until you realize their true God is money and power and that’s all they care about. I’m Chad Riden and I’m running for Governor of Tennessee. All I care about is doing what’s right.
Dear Williamson County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America,
My name is Chad Riden and I’m running for Governor of Tennessee as an Independent.
Katie Edwards contacted me and asked for some campaign materials for your meeting because my campaign has been given the Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction for standing up for gun violence prevention and recognizing gun safety.
Like you, I support criminal background checks on all gun sales to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories, including felons, domestic abusers and people with dangerous mental illnesses. Responsible gun owners know that supporting the Second Amendment goes hand in hand with common-sense solutions to reduce gun violence.
Instead of slick campaign propaganda designed to prove I’m everything to everybody, I’m sending you this letter. I’m not writing this to ask you for your vote. I’m writing to THANK YOU for what you’re doing right now at this meeting. Standing up for common sense gun laws is not a popular thing to do (yet) in Tennessee. You are on the front lines of an uphill battle against people who are armed with both guns and a lot of money.
I told Ms. Edwards that my 15-year-old daughter and all of her friends think our current gun laws are inadequate. They feel very strongly about a lot of issues that seem like a longshot in Tennessee. They can’t vote.. YET.. but in 2-4 years, they will be active voters and they will stand up for what they believe in like we’ve never seen before. Change is coming. Our children will be the votes we need for all of these things. They will vote for what is right because that’s what YOU have taught them. Thank you for that. Thank you for being good moms.
My mother always says, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” and that’s why I’m running for Governor. I am fed up with bipartisan politics and the hypocrites at all levels of government. Our elected offices go to the highest bidder and rich candidates backed by their elite friends spend millions on advertising claiming to be just like us.
As an Independent candidate my chances of winning this election are slim to none. I keep saying my goal is to push the conversation in a positive, progressive direction.. but honestly, I just want my daughter to be proud of the things I’ve said and done. Someday, if not already, your kids will think about the work you’re doing right here, right now and they will be proud.
Here’s my response to an email I received covering quite a few issues. If you have any questions for me, please give me a yell any time.
chad at chad riden dot com
Sat, Aug 11, 2018, 8:16 AM:
Dear Mr. Riden,
My name is Taner Guske and I am contacting you in regards to your run for Governor. I have not found much information on your campaign so I was wondering if you might be willing to answer some questions on issues we face today. This information is to help myself and my friends and family make better educated decisions in the upcoming election. Thank you for time.
What is your stance on:
legal/ illegal immigration and sanctuary cities?
America has always been a melting pot and that blend of cultures is our greatest strength. We should always welcome refugees and have a clear path to citizenship for immigrants. Illegals are already here, working in terrible conditions for crappy pay or worse, being abused or enslaved. Instead of wasting money on a wall, we should embrace those who are already here and help them become full citizens. I think it’s a shame sanctuary cities are even necessary, and I support those communities for standing up for what they believe in.
I support criminal background checks on all gun sales to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories, including felons, domestic abusers and people with dangerous mental illnesses. Responsible gun owners know that supporting the Second Amendment goes hand in hand with common-sense solutions to reduce gun violence. My campaign has been given the Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction for standing up for gun violence prevention and recognizing gun safety.
addressing school safety?
That’s a broad spectrum of things, but in general I do want to fund public schools better so they have the resources and staff needed to be a safe environment for learning. I think the best preventative care is having teachers, counsellors and support staff in place who are truly connected with the students and engaged with each of them in a way where warning signs don’t get ignored and kids who are troubled get the positive attention they need before they lash out in negative ways.
addressing the opioid crisis?
legalization of medical or recreational marijuana?
I support legalized cannabis in all forms for recreational and medical use. Multiple studies have shown that after states legalized cannabis, the number of opioid prescriptions and the daily dose of opioids went way down.
Instead of prison, I like prosecution-led residential drug treatment diversion programs that divert nonviolent felony drug offenders to community-based residential treatment.
I support MedicareForAll, and the expansion of TennCare. I also like the suggestions The Rural Health Information Hub offers including: Frontier Extended Stay Clinics (FESC) which help seriously ill patients or injured patients who cannot be immediately transferred to a hospital; and Team-based care models, such as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs), which extend primary care services in rural communities. Telemedicine is a fantastic way for patients to see specialists in a timely manner no matter where they are. County health departments and school-based clinics seem like a no-brainer to me.
I’d like to build high speed rail connecting Bristol to Knoxville to Nashville to Memphis and Knoxville to Chattanooga with regional light rail transit supporting those hubs. I’d like to deploy fiber optic internet as a public utility to the entire state and make sure every school and home is connected. Our bridges need to be checked and repaired if necessary. That’s a lot of good paying construction jobs out there just waiting to be done.
Pro abortion. I’m for women’s rights to choose as guaranteed by Roe v Wade and am against the chipping away at that right on the state level by restricting access in various sneaky ways.
Tennessee’s tax laws?
the government’s role on the economy?
I’d like to tax ONLY the top 1% of Tennesseans for 3% of their income. That won’t pay for everything but it’ll make me feel good. Our sales tax is super high and that affects poor people disproportionately more than anyone else. I’d like to see that change. I’d like to see a state-wide minimum wage increase to $15 an hour.
In general I don’t like it, but I’m not sure what to do about the people on death row. I definitely don’t like for profit prisons and would end those contracts.
rehabilitation/ incarceration of non-violent offenders?
I’d rather focus on rehabilitation than incarceration.
how to improve schools?
I think this comes down to money. (like so many things, right?) Politicians SAY they’re pro-education but I don’t think ANY elected official should make one penny more than the lowest paid teacher in Tennessee. In a recent article about me, the Tennessee Tribune said, “If Metro (Nashville) paid 6,106 city employees the same as first year teachers, the city would save $106 million a year.” I’d rather bump up the pay of teachers than cut everybody else down to their level, but if that’s the rule I’ll bet we’d see teacher pay increases pretty quickly.
Some schools open late when it’s cold because the HVAC systems are so out of date that the building can’t sustain life. If we could improve our education facilities state-wide, that’d create construction jobs in just about every community.
Earthship Biotecture in Taos, NM has developed systems that take waste materials like old tires, bottles and cans and build environmentally friendly sustainable structures that provide their own water, electricity and food production without the need for HVAC and with a negative carbon footprint. I’d like to build structures with that method to replace the outdated buildings and “temporary” trailers I see behind so many of our schools. Check out the “Garbage Warrior” documentary. They’re doing pretty incredible work and all it takes is a group of people willing to help. The trash/materials used is already in abundance EVERYWHERE.
As part of my fiber optic internet as a state wide public utility plan, I’d want to connect the schools first. I want to issue cheap tablets to each student and deliver their text books and handouts and information all electronically and eliminate paper as much as possible. Access to information and technology is the key to absolutely everything else and it’s as important as running water or electricity.
I’m against vouchers and Charter / for-profit schools. We need strong, well funded public schools.
It’s real. I’m a big believer in science. Never thought that’d be controversial, but here we are.
My dad’s mom, Grace Riden taught high school in the 70’s and 80’s and was recognized by the Tennessee state legislature for her environmental conservation programs decades and decades ago. My mom started the first municipal recycling program in McMinn County in the late 80’s. I’m an Eagle Scout who walks around parks picking up all the trash I see habitually. I want to protect our beautiful state and it’s natural resources.
Thanks for writing. I hope I answered these questions to your satisfaction. I’m generally for common sense things (I think) and am against voter suppression, discrimination, racism, sexism, hate, fear, and ignorance. There’s a lot of work to be done.
NASHVILLE, TN — Chad Riden will lose the Governor’s race. He’s got no name recognition. “I’m the snowball’s chance in hell candidate,” he says.
Riden has appeared with several Democratic hopefuls at forums around the state. He thinks they are all insane.
“Anybody who wants to be elected should automatically be disqualified,” Riden says.
Among the 35 candidates running to take over from Gov. Bill Haslam, Riden is pretty much at the bottom of the list. He is an unknown, the darkest of dark horses.
“Running for Governor is ruining my life,” he laments. “Really wish I hadn’t done it. I thought it would be a lot funner than it is. It’s not fun. I thought it would be a lot cooler. It’s just not. It’s really a drag.”
Riden, 43, has been working comedy clubs full-time since 2010. He’s been on “The Daily Show” and the “Late Show” with David Letterman. He’s a bit like Louis C.K. who uses life-after-divorce as a wellspring for much of his humor. Riden uses his father, a fanatical Trump supporter, as a foil for his political jokes.
Riden’s campaign slogan: the only candidate who isn’t a joke. Asked why he didn’t make it “the only candidate who can tell a joke” Riden said he didn’t want people to think the other candidates weren’t funny. “Everything they say sounds like a joke,” he says.
Riden said the “big bucks” candidates are using their families in expensive TV campaign ads, so he decided to go negative and launch a series of campaign ads against himself. He asked his fifteen-year-old daughter to help. She nailed it on the first take.
“You can’t take my dad seriously. Everything he does is a joke. Everything is ironic. He’s never taken anything seriously in his whole life…he is irresponsible and you should not vote for him. Thank you and have a good day,” said Callia Riden, a sophomore at Nashville School of the Arts. So much for Riden family values.
“I’m totally a Bernie guy,” Riden says.
He is running as an Independent because he admires Sanders and hates both major parties. He only had to gather 25 signatures to get on the November ballot. He tried to enter the 2015 mayoral race and collected 75 signatures during his club gigs.
But it turned out he didn’t collect enough valid signatures. Too many people who go to comedy clubs don’t take voter registration seriously. If you move and don’t vote in two successive elections, you can be purged like a Revolutionary Guard caught listening to Rock ‘n Roll.
Kansas started the practice and the Supreme Court recently upheld it in an Ohio case. The Davidson County Election Commission purges about 10,000 voters a year from its rolls that currently list 370,000 registered voters. Homeless advocates say there are about 25,000 people with no fixed address in Davidson County. That’s an estimated 35,000 people, ten percent of all registered voters, who probably won’t vote in November because they can’t.
“It’s voter suppression.” says Riden.
Riden is against voter suppression. He doesn’t want state jobs outsourced and he opposes the privatization of schools, prisons, and other state agencies.
“As Governor of Tennessee, my main focus would be economic revitalization spurred by implementation of fiber optic internet as a state-wide public utility. I support our public schools and don’t think any elected official should make one dime more than the lowest paid teacher. I’m for unionized labor, anti-discrimination laws, #MedicareForAll, and the legalization of Cannabis. I’d like to build high speed rail connecting Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Bristol and regional transit systems,” he said.
Former Mayor Megan Barry’s Transit Plan was soundly rejected by Nashville voters in May. So we are not ready for mass transit in Nashville although Chattanooga already has a municipal broadband network, so you never know about the fiber optic plan. It might catch on in other cities.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found 48 percent of likely voters think the U.S. should have Medicare For All. The House started a “Medicare-for-All “caucus in July. It has 70 members and a House “Medicare-for-All” bill has 122 co-sponsors. The Senate version has 16 co-sponsors, one-third of Senate Democrats. Single payer is no longer on the political frontier.
But in Tennessee Riden is an outlier. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery is suing to end Obamacare, the closest thing we have to Medicare-for-All.
If one or more of Riden’s ideas do come to pass— legalized pot, for example—he would no longer be on the lunatic fringe. He would suddenly become a political visionary ahead of his time.
High speed rail between Tennessee’s largest cities may be a long way from China, which connects 29 of its 33 provinces with high speed rail and has 25,000 kilometers of track. But Riden says bullet trains beat the hell out of what Diane Black proposed to improve Tennessee’s highways.
“She wants to double-stack the interstates. There is nothing crazier. No downtime or mishaps there, right? Why stop at double stacks? Why not just do four levels of interstates right on top of each other like a parking garage?“
Riden spreads his ridicule evenly across the field. “Everything my opponents say— it’s bat shit. You can’t parody things that’re so crazy. You almost have to report it verbatim and it’s still a joke,” he says.
Riden identifies with the social democratic wing of the Democratic Party, but like Groucho Marx who would never join a club that would let him in, Riden still expects to win some Tea Party votes.
Cutting the salaries of state and county officials to the lowest-paid teacher’s salary makes Riden the archest of fiscal conservatives.
A Metro teacher with a Bachelor’s degree makes $43,363. City department heads and their administrative staffs, General Sessions judges, city lawyers, Mayor Briley and his staff, Director of Schools Shawn Joseph and his inner circle, Dr. Joseph Webb and his top lieutenants at General Hospital all have six-figure salaries.
If Metro paid 6,106 city employees the same as first year teachers, the city would save $106 million a year. All the candidates say they support education, but Riden says he’ll be elected Governor before any of them put their money where their mouth is.
“I don’t’ think the voters will take a comedian seriously. I don’t think they will take an Independent candidate seriously. But maybe I can push the conversation in a progressive positive direction.” he said.
1. Is access to health care a right or a privilege?
A right. I support #MedicareForAll. Medicare is more efficient than private insurance companies whose primary concern is profits.
2. Do you favor expansion of TennCare?
3. How would you improve health-care manpower and facilities in poor counties?
How can they be stabilized?
What role do you see for telemedicine and mobile clinics for underserved areas?
Would enhanced services by county health departments or school-based clinics provide solutions?
I like the suggestions The Rural Health Information Hub offers including: Frontier Extended Stay Clinics (FESC) which help seriously ill patients or injured patients who cannot be immediately transferred to a hospital; and Team-based care models, such as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs), which extend primary care services in rural communities. Telemedicine is a fantastic way for patients to see specialists in a timely manner no matter where they are. County health departments and school-based clinics seem like a no-brainer to me.
4. Is there a role for the state in addressing rising costs of prescription drugs?
Could the state facilitate importation of less expensive drugs from Canada?
Yes. Many states offer State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAPs) to help residents pay for prescription drugs. Also, just an FYI: I don’t know how helpful it is but as a resident of Tennessee, you and your family already have access to a free statewide Prescription Assistance Program (PAP): https://www.tennesseedrugcard.com/
5. How do you propose addressing illicit use of opioids, methamphetamine and cocaine?
6. What is the role of state government in addressing high rates of childhood obesity?
Can state government promote healthier diets and increased recreational exercise?
Or is this meddling in personal matters?
I hope I answered these questions to your satisfaction. Thank you for helping raise awareness about these important issues. As Governor of Tennessee, my main focus would be economic revitalization spurred by implementation of fiber optic internet as a state-wide public utility. I support our public schools and don’t think any elected official should make one dime more than the lowest paid teacher. I’m for unionized labor, anti-discrimination laws, #MedicareForAll, and the legalization of Cannabis. I’d like to build high speed rail connecting Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Bristol and regional transit systems. I’m against outsourcing State tasks to for-profit businesses (including and especially charter schools and privatized prisons), voter suppression, discrimination, racism, sexism, hate, fear, and ignorance. There’s a lot of work to be done.
I pledge to not take contributions from the oil, gas, and coal industry and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits.
This means the #RiDEN4TN campaign will not knowingly accept any contributions over $200 from the PACs, executives, or front groups of fossil fuel companies — companies whose primary business is the extraction, processing, distribution, or sale of oil, gas, or coal. For more information about the movement, visit http://nofossilfuelmoney.org/
Thank you to voter M Nour Naciri for bringing this to my attention. Give me a yell if you have an issue you’re compassionate about.