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Following Dreams

"Tennessee State Senator, Diane Black"

Taylor: What are your responsibilities as a Tennessee State Senator?

Senator Black: I have two basic responsibilities: one is to go to the legislature for a total of 90 days over a two year period and help pass bills; and secondly, I must take care of the people I represent. For example if someone calls me and has a problem, I call people for them or give them advice as to what they should do.


Taylor: How long have you been a state senator?

Senator Black: I’ve been a state senator for 5 years, but I’ve been in the legislature for a total of 11 years.

Senator Black shares a picture of President Reagan and a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Taylor: What were the steps you had to take to become a state senator?

Senator Black: First of all, you get a group of people together that you call your advisors; or they are commonly called “your kitchen cabinet.” They are called that because you only want to have a certain number of people that will fill your kitchen table.  If you have too many advisors, you get too much advice. However, if you have too few people then you don’t get enough advice!

Secondly, you make a plan to decide how you are going to get your message out. You also need to figure out how people are going to get to know who you are so they can vote for you.


Taylor: Where did you go to school and what did you study?

Senator Black: I went to nursing school and then when I moved to Tennessee, I went back to nursing school again. I got my Bachelors degree at Belmont University.


Taylor: What would you say is your passion in the senate?

Senator Black: I have two passions: The first one is health care because I’m a nurse; second, would be anything that has to do with my love for children. Any issues that involve health care or children, people bring to me.

Alexis and I interviewed Senator Black in her home office.

Taylor: What did you want to be around the age of 12 years old?

Senator Black: I never had any other thought in mind except for being a nurse. I had two big brothers that used to bully me all the time! But when they got hurt, you know where they came? They would come to me! So from the time I was very young, I liked to take care of cats and dogs and people, whoever got hurt.


Taylor: What would you say is one of your fondest memories from when you were growing up?

Senator Black: Even though they were so mean to me, I remember playing with my brothers. It was so much fun because I was such a tom boy! We would climb trees, make forts, and we would have such a good time together.


Taylor: What kinds of friends did you try to surround yourself with?

Senator Black: I would say athletic, because I had a lot of friends from basketball and gymnastics.

Senator Black shows Alexis and I her high school basketball team picture.

Taylor: Who are your mentors and who encouraged you the most?

Senator Black: The person, besides my parents, who encouraged me most, was my high school counselor. He was kind of like a grandfather. He told me, “You can do anything that you want to do.” I came from a rather poor family and no one in my family had ever gone to college. He helped me get my scholarship that earned my way into college.


Taylor: If there are any girls out there that might want to become a State Senator someday, what advice and schooling would you recommend?

Senator Black: We need people from every walk of life. People think that you have to have a college degree in political science or law, but that’s not true at all. We need farmers and bankers too.  We cover many subjects in the legislature, so the most important thing is to get a good education.


Taylor: You are going to speak to girls everywhere. Is there anything you would like to say to them?

Senator Black: I want to tell girls to be themselves. They should figure out what their passion is and follow their dream. Integrity has led me to where I am because I always tell the truth; even when it’s very hard, I try to be honest. Therefore, follow your dream and always be honest in what you do!



Click to play a "shout out" from Senator Black.




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