Merrilee Wineinger, an ordained United Methodist Minister, announces her candidacy for Tennessee’s U.S. Congressional District 6 seat on the Democratic ticket.
Wineinger, a 24-year resident of District 6, seeks the open seat due to current Rep. Diane Black’s run for Tennessee’s governor. The 6th District includes Cannon, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, White, and Wilson counties. Very small pieces of Cheatham and Van Buren are also in the district.
“If you elect me as your next Representative, I will take to Congress years of experience as a bridge builder in my work with non-profit organizations, on issues at the local, state, and national levels, as well as with people of all faiths,” said Wineinger, who lives in Hendersonville.
“We need real solutions to the very real problems you face every day here in the 6th District,” the life-long Democrat continued. “We need non-partisan plans put into action for the good of all of the people.”
Wineinger serves her community and Middle Tennessee through the Faith that Heals Ministries, Tennessee Conference United Methodist Church. Her efforts have helped to bring Tennesseans from across the state to advocate to close the health insurance coverage gap. She helped alcoholics and addicts recover from substance abuse and raised awareness of the importance of raising the minimum wage to a living wage.
“I am an advocate, teacher and organizer for peace and justice,” Wineinger said. “I connect, encourage, and organize community members to work toward a common goal. Everyone has the potential to achieve their highest dreams. People flourish when they have food security, clean water, fresh air, loving relationships, safe neighborhoods, and a roof over their heads.”
She said her campaign will focus on justice in health care, equality in wages, and strengthening the American infrastructure “that in the past made our country the envy of the world but is now being neglected,” she said.
“Also, people feel their voices are not being heard by their elected officials,” Wineinger said. If elected, she intends to change that.
“You are not voiceless,” she said. “We have a strong and powerful voice. When we listen to one another and join together, our voices become loud enough to drown out the ones who believe that their power is stronger than ours.
“Send me to Washington D.C., as your next District 6 Representative, so I can bring your voices to the table. I am a change agent for Tennesseans ready to work on the issues that will allow you to thrive, not just survive,” she said.
Wineinger holds a bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Development from Trevecca University and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University. She is a recipient of the Tennessee Justice Center’s Hometown Hero Award, the Tennessee Health Care Campaign Life-Saver Award, and the TNUMC Peace and Justice Award.
During her years in Tennessee, Wineinger held volunteer leadership roles in the public schools, charitable organizations, and civic programs. She’s a member of the League of Women Voters. She sits on the Tennessee Conference UMC Board of Church & Society, Committee on Health & Welfare, Disability Concerns. She is also a board member for Justice for Our Neighbors, a non-profit immigration legal service for survivors of persecution, violence and poverty.
Previously, she’s worked as the director of Health and Wholeness Ministries at Hendersonville First United Methodist Church, where she guided people in need toward physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health – addressing the whole person’s relationship with the world around them.
Wineinger is the mom of Samantha Mitchell and Alex Bogert and the grandmother of Quaid Mitchell. Her husband, Terry, works in the subsea industry. Her favorite pastime is playing with her grandson and crocheting.
For more information about how to get involved or donate to Wineinger’s campaign, go to www.merrileefortennessee.com.