“Religion, faith and belief in God go hand-in-hand with being a public servant, and I consider myself a public servant,” said Representative Brenda Gilmore at last week’s convocation event “Can Legislation Help Us Do God’s Work?”
Gilmore joined Representative Harold M. Love to discuss the impact that their faith has had on their careers in public office. The event was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Learning and Experience in collaboration with the Office of Spiritual Development, the Black Student Association and HOPE Council, who believed that the event would demonstrate how “church and state can work together for the betterment of society.”
The representatives spoke at length about the progression of their careers and how God has led them there. According to Love, “there’s always been an intersection between faith and politics.” He describes this intersection as a marriage. For instance, when the Maternal Mortality Review and Prevention Act of 2016 was enacted, he introduced a health summit at his church in conjunction with the legislation to help explain these needs.
The speakers also discussed an important piece of advice for students and community members: be active in your government. Gilmore asserted, “Good legislation bubbles up from the community… Don’t be silent,” and “if there are issues that are important to you, be involved.”
Love’s closing advice for students at Belmont was to register to vote in Tennessee. He asserted that because these students live in this district for eight or nine months out of every year, the policies that are enacted here affect them more than those in their hometowns, “and there’s nothing better than having active participation.” He especially emphasized the importance of voting locally because legislation is so based in belief and values, and the public elects officials who reflect their own beliefs. He cited the state budget as an example. “The state budget is a moral document, because we fund what we value.”
Love is a state representative for District 58 and the Pastor of Lee Chapel AME Church. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in public administration. Gilmore is a representative for District 54 and a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.