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Black announces bid for governor

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Diane Black earlier this year at the Rotary Freedom Fry held at Rock Castle. RICK MURRAY

Gallatin U.S. Congressman Diane Black announced last Wednesday her bid to become Tennessee's first female governor.

It's been widely speculated for months that Black, who was elected in November to her fourth term representing the 6th Congressional district, would join the growing field of Republican contenders for the state's top spot.

In a brief video posted to her website DianeBlack.com, Black highlights her conservative values and a come-from-behind work ethic that have helped fuel her 19-year political career.

"Most people in politics say the right things, but never fight for the right things. They're too meek - or maybe too weak," Black said. "We believe in absolute truths. Right is right. Wrong is wrong. Truth is truth. God is God. A life is a life. And we don't back down from any of it. That's exactly the kind of Governor I will be."

The 66-year-old former nurse first won political office in 1998, and represented the state's 45th House District for six years. In 2004 she defeated incumbent Jo Ann Graves in a bid for the state's 18th Senate district. In late 2009 Black threw her hat in the ring for the congressional seat vacated by Democrat Bart Gordon, who chose to not seek re-election. She went on to narrowly defeat State Sen. Jim Tracey and Lou Ann Zelenik for the Republican nomination and won the seat handily in the fall of 2010.

As a congressman, Black serves on the powerful Ways and Means Committee and was named earlier this year chairman of the Budget Committee - a first for a female.

Her "Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015" was vetoed by President Barack Obama and the pro-life legislator has pushed to make sure the country's largest abortion provider doesn't receive federal funding under President Donald Trump's administration.

"I want to see this money actually go to local community health centers so that women can get the medical care they need," Black told the Hendersonville Standard in November.

Black highlights her pro-life stance in her recent campaign video. She also says she fought against a state income tax while serving as a state legislator, and that she believes in controlled borders and cutting wasteful spending.

Other Republican contenders who have announced bids for governor include businessmen Bill Lee and Randy Boyd, House Speaker Beth Harwell and State Sen. Mae Beavers. So far, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is the only Democrat seeking the seat.

Black's gubernatorial campaign team includes Communications Director Lance Frizzell and Treasurer Tommy Whittaker.

Her announcement comes exactly one year from the gubernatorial primary, set for Aug. 2, 2018. The general election to succeed current Gov. Bill Haslam is Nov. 6, 2018.

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