Sen. Gardenhire curses at Insure TN protestor during hallway enc - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Sen. Gardenhire curses at Insure TN protestor during hallway encounter

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TN Sen. Todd Gardenhire. AP photo TN Sen. Todd Gardenhire. AP photo
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

A hallway encounter between Tennessee state Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) and a protestor took a nasty turn when the senator was challenged about his own healthcare.

Gardenhire is a vocal critic of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's “Insure Tennessee” program that would offer health coverage to nearly 280,000 low-income Tennesseans. The program is an extension of TennCare, the state's Medicaid program.

He's also one of seven state senators that voted against the proposal recently.

The video, shared by the Tennessee Democratic Party, shows Gardenhire striding through a small group of people, and being asked “Are you willing to give up your health insurance?”

MOBILE USERS | Watch video here (Contains strong language)

Gardenhire continues down the hallway, responding “Not giving it up, a******!”

The response from the protestor is muffled and unintelligible.

Channel 3 reached out to Gardenhire, who said he had been in a committee meeting for six hours before the encounter. He went to the men's restroom and was followed by a protestor.

He said “There are some places off limits for harassment. This guy over-stepped the bounds.”

Gardenhire continued saying that he had signed papers six weeks ago to drop his state-sponsored insurance, which was one of the points of contention by the protestor.

Kris Murphy, the Senior Political Director of the Tennessee Democratic Party, told Channel 3 that a link to the YouTube video was emailed by staff member, but they have no idea of who shot the video or the people in the video may be.

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