Bruce Teague is holding a reception on Saturday to thank his supporters

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Bruce Teague swearing in and reception

Church of the Nazarene, 1035 Wade St — Saturday, Oct. 13 at 3 p.m.

City Council candidate Bruce Teague sings “You Are My Sunshine” as part of his closing statement during a candidate forum at the Center For Worker Justice. Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. — photo by Zak Neumann

Bruce Teague will be sworn in as the newest member of the Iowa City Council on Saturday, during a reception at the Church of the Nazarene on Wade Street. Teague said he’s holding the two-hour reception, which starts at 3 p.m., to thank everyone who supported him in the special election to fill the vacant at-large seat on the city council.

“There will be some light refreshments,” Teague told Little Village. “And music.”

The music will be provided by Teague’s mother Mary — known as Mama Teague — and his brother. Although Teague is musician, and has often performed with his family, he said he doesn’t plan to sign on Saturday.

Teague did, however, sing at the final candidate’s forum at the Center for Worker Justice on Sept. 27. As part of closing remarks, he sang a chorus of “You Are My Sunshine” to the audience. It was an interesting choice, because while most people think of it as just a happy song, “You Are My Sunshine” has a political pedigree.

The song was first made popular by country singer/actor Jimmie Davis in 1939. Long before other entertainers waded into politics, Davis ran for governor of his native Louisiana in 1944, and won. He was elected governor again in 1959. Both times, he played “You Are My Sunshine” at every campaign rally. He even showed up for rallies riding a horse named Sunshine. He also named a bridge over the Mississippi, built while he was governor, the “Sunshine Bridge.”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Davis, a governor in the Deep South during the early years of the Civil Rights movement, was very conservative and a segregationist. Asked if he knew about Davis and the song, Teague said no. But the fact that a song by a white supremacist candidate can now be sung by an openly gay, black candidate — who then wins a decisive victory — seems like progress worth celebrating.

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