Press Release from Debbie Matthews, Democratic Candidate for Senate District 13, Sept. 13, 2010:
Matthews to pledge Tuesday not to take reimbursement money
MURFREESBORO – As thousands of Tennesseans battle unemployment and low wages, State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) has taken nearly $65,000 in taxpayer dollars for so-called travel expenses over the last four years – including thousands for Nashville hotel rooms he has never stayed in.
“Senator Ketron abuses the system because, as an insider, he can,” said Debbie Matthews, Ketron’s District 13 opponent. “If any other state employee took per diem for hotels they didn’t stay in, they would be fired. For Senator Ketron, it’s just business as usual.”
Despite living 35 miles from Nashville, Ketron has repeatedly taken the full $185 daily reimbursement from the state for hotel and travel expenses. Ketron took $18,627.22 in the first half of 2010 alone – on top of his annual state salary – as he sat in the Capitol and voted for state budget cuts.
Among Ketron’s claimed expenses was a December junket trip to Washington, where Ketron racked up more than $2,600 in expenses in five days – and Tennessee taxpayers footed the bill.
Matthews, who commutes to Nashville every day on her own dime, pledges not to take any funds for nonexistent expenses and asks Senator Ketron to do the same. Matthews will discuss the issue during a press conference Tuesday at 11 a.m. outside the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel, 623 Union Street.
“Maybe Senator Ketron would like to come by and see the hotel rooms that taxpayers have been paying him for,” Matthews said.