This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced three grants totaling nearly $800,000 for Dresden and Martin to lengthen and develop recreational trails connecting the communities with the downtowns. “These greenways and trails not only enhance the pedestrian experience of our communities, but they also provide new recreational and healthy ways for Tennesseans to enjoy their neighborhoods,” Haslam said. “Downtowns are the heart of our cities and towns, and the projects announced today will make important connections between various destinations and the Dresden and Martin downtowns.”
Business Facilities, a national economic development publication, has released its annual state Automotive Manufacturing Strength ranking. For an unprecedented fourth consecutive year, Tennessee has been named the No. 1 state in the nation for Automotive Manufacturing Strength. “This impressive distinction further solidifies Tennessee’s position as a global leader in automotive manufacturing strength,” Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said.
The president of the United States will praise Amazon.Com tomorrow for creating thousands of new jobs. He’ll speak to employees at the Enterprise South plant. But a quarter mile away is the Volkswagen plant— another success story for Chattanooga and the state of Tennessee. It makes Chattanooga the center of the automotive south. Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant continues to reap national awards for quality. But that’s just one of the reasons that , for the 4th year in a row, a national economic publication has been named Tennessee the Number One state in the national for Automotive Manufacturing strength.
Retail and distribution giant Amazon announced Monday it will add a total of 5,000 jobs at 17 of its fulfillment centers nationwide. The company said that its facilities in Murfreesboro and Chattanooga will be included in this expansion. A company spokesperson told NashvillePost.com the Rutherford County facility has “more than 1,000 employees … and we’re actively hiring for more than a hundred open positions currently.” The jobs are expected to be full-time and — in an interesting bit of timing — their announcement comes the day before President Barack Obama visits Amazon’s Chattanooga facility.
Amazon has announced the creation of 5,000 new jobs just one day before President Obama is scheduled to speak at an Amazon facility in Chattanooga. According to Amazon spokesman Ty Rogers, the company is creating more than 5,000 new full-time jobs in its fulfillment network to meet growing customer demands. The salary for these new jobs are expected to be 30-percent higher than the salaries of people who work in traditional retail stores. The new positions will also come with comprehensive benefits that begin on the first day of work such as: health care, 401(k), company stock awards and a 95-percent prepaid tuition incentive for employees who wish to take college courses related to in-demand fields.
Amazon.com Inc. is beefing up hiring at distributions centers across the country by 25 percent, including at its warehouses in Murfreesboro and Chattanooga. In total, the company said it will add 5,000 full-time jobs to its distribution network, which currently has about 20,000 workers. Amazon did not say how many jobs would be added at each location. The announcement comes one day before President Barack Obama’s visit to an Amazon facility in Chattanooga. The world’s largest online retailer has been spending heavily on order fulfillment, a strategy meant to help the business grow, but one that has also weighed on profit margins.
When President Barack Obama comes to Tennessee today to celebrate a business success story, don’t expect the state’s top officials to give him a big, bipartisan hug. Each of the Volunteer State’s top three statewide elected officials is a Republican, and each is walking a political tightrope as the Democratic president prepares to head to the Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga. But none of them will appear with him. Gov. Bill Haslam needs the Obama administration’s help with a proposal to buy private insurance for poor Tennesseans who don’t qualify for TennCare, the state’s expanded version of Medicaid.
In what is billed as “a different kind of welcome” for President Barack Obama’s visit to Chattanooga today, the Tennessee Republican Party is airing a television ad declaring that Tennessee is a success “not because of your liberal policies, but in spite of them.” A White House statement says the president will tour the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Chattanooga today and “discuss proposals he has laid out to jump-start private sector job growth and make America more competitive, and will also talk about new ideas to create American jobs.”
Even a glimpse of the limo will be enough for Sarah Steffner and her two children. They’re among the hundreds planning to welcome President Barack Obama to the Scenic City today, when he’ll lay out his proposal for recharging the nation’s economic engines through manufacturing and other high-wage jobs during a visit to the Amazon distribution center at Enterprise South industrial park. The company announced Monday that it is adding full-time jobs at the Chattanooga and Charleston, Tenn., plants as part of a national employment boost of about 5,000.
Gov. Bill Haslam took office with a 45-day freeze on implementing any new government rules. Since that time, the administration is using less dramatic and less direct ways of affecting the bureaucratic regulatory process. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/18MMxD0 ), there is an effort in the legislature to end a practice of automatically approving proposed rules promulgated by state departments, boards and commissions. Sen. Mike Bell, a Riceville Republican, chairs a committee reviewing all rules. Bell said some new rules are required, but dated ones need to go. Since Haslam took office, 33 rules have ended.
A Nashville judge said the Department of Children’s Services has gotten back on track with providing records to the news media of children who died or nearly died. In a hearing last month, Chancellor Carol McCoy suggested that someone at DCS needed to go to jail for making extensive redactions to the records. In contrast, on Monday, McCoy said the department had failed to black out some identifying information in some of the records. DCS is releasing the documents in batches after a group of media organizations led by The Tennessean and including The Associated Press sued for access to the records of children who died or nearly died between 2009 to mid-2012.
Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy on Monday turned over to The Tennessean and other media dozens of additional state records of children who died or nearly died under the supervision of the Department of Children’s Services. A month after a provocative hearing in which McCoy said that her confidence in the department had been shaken and hinted at jail time if her orders were not followed, McCoy said the state agency has shown improvement. “The department is back on track,” McCoy said, referring to how the department has handled redactions of confidential information.
The state may have gone from revealing too little in files it’s giving to reporters, to revealing too much. The Department of Children’s Services is handing over sensitive records about kids who died in state custody, after a lawsuit from a media coalition led by the Tennessean. The records have to be redacted to take out identifying details like the children’s names, as well as locators like the names of funeral homes. But last month Chancellor Carol McCoy found someone struck out too much other information, and said they could face jail for misinterpreting her order. In releasing another batch this week, the state had the opposite problem – extra details that should be scratched out.
Middle Tennessee school districts, like their peers across the state, are still struggling to close academic achievement gaps between groups of children, especially the gap between students with disabilities and those without, according to state test results. The state Department of Education on Monday released district results of the 2012 TCAP, or Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, which showed districts mirroring state results released last month. Overall, the results show a majority of Tennessee school systems have growing achievement gaps between students with disabilities and those without disabilities, and also between English language learners and their peers, according to a news release from the Department of Education.
McIntyre calls results ‘promising’ District-by-district TCAP scores released Monday by the state revealed that student performance continues to grow, especially in the subject area of math — with more than 115 districts showing improvement in math scores in third through eighth grade. Among them was Knox County Schools, which saw 53.9 percent of its third- through eighth-graders scoring proficient or advanced in math this year, compared to 52.1 percent last year. The school system also saw percentage increases of its number of students who were proficient or advanced in the subject areas of science and social studies scores, 67.3 percent and 86.2 percent, respectively.
New data released by the state Monday shows Knox County students are making progress, even when they’re not quite reaching state objectives. Every year the state sets individualized district goals and establishes expectations for improvement in each subject area and grade level. New information on yearly tests, including TCAPs, shows Knox County reached those levels in nine out of eleven objectives. “It’s predominantly very good news,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre. Those gains come four years after state-wide standard increases and McIntyre says the data shows the educational system was right to expect more of it’s students.
Students in the city and county schools upped their progress substantially this year in math, science and social studies in grades 3-8, beating state gains in just about every subject and setting higher expectations for the combined district going forward. In the city, a third or 33 percent of these children were doing math at grade level, up 5.2 percentage points. In the county, 63.3 are proficient, up 5.9 percent. In local high schools, the results were spottier. The former Memphis City Schools outperformed the state’s students in only U.S. history and English III.
The last school year of the Memphis City Schools system showed more than 5 percent growth each in math and science proficiency with roughly a third to 38 percent of those students rated as proficient or advanced. Those are the results of Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests for third through eighth graders released by the state Monday, July 29, by school district. The same results showed a 0.4 percent drop in the number of MCS students proficient in reading from the previous school year.
Like many of their counterparts across the state, students in Rutherford County and Murfreesboro City schools made significant improvement in their math scores, based on results of the 2013 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program. The state Department of Education announced Monday that student performance improved for a majority of school districts across the state. The largest gains came in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — subjects, state education officials said. TCAP includes the four-day test taken each spring, in addition to writing assessments for grades 3-8.
The future preferred course of Pellissippi Parkway in Blount County will include a western shift to avoid impacts on a sensitive archaeological site, the Tennessee Department of Transportation announced today. The so-called “west shift” would move the parkway alignment about 150 feet to the west of the site. Another alternative that TDOT consider and rejected would have moved the alignment east of the site. TDOT plans call for extending the highway, also known as State Route 162, from State Route 33, or the Old Knoxville Highway, where it now ends, to Lamar Alexander Highway.
The Tennessee Dept. of Transportation picked the new route for the proposed Pellissippi Parkway extension in Blount Co. The plan was one of two proposed after a sensitive archaeological site was found along the original route.Two new alternatives were drawn up and presented for public review in May. In the end, TDOT chose the western one, The nearly four and a half mile stretch will connect State Route 33 (Old Knoxville Highway) to US 321/State Route 73 (Lamar Alexander Highway). TDOT noted several factors which led to its decision, including the selected route was shorter and required the state to need less right-of-way acquisition.
Mother Nature has been unkind to the old route U.S. Highway 41 takes around Aetna Mountain between Haletown and Lookout Valley. A seven-mile section of the road in Marion County is marked with abrupt dips and bumps, collapsing shoulders, damaged guardrails and some areas where guardrails dangle in the air above the ground. The road isn’t used the same way it was in its heyday, but it still gets plenty of traffic, according to Tennessee Department of Transportation officials. In 2012, 2,246 vehicles traveled between Haletown and the county line every day, records show.
Twenty-seven people have looked at the waterfront Georgian mansion at 940 Cherokee Blvd. Two have made offers in the last year. But the red-brick house that was once home to five University of Tennessee presidents continues to sit empty after more than three years. The offers did not come close enough to the $2.9 million list price, said Gina Stafford, a spokeswoman for the university system, which put the house on the market in March 2010. “We don’t have to have a fire sale,” Stafford said. “There’s no pressure and no requirement to sell.”
Tennessee cities’ use of annexation by ordinance generally meets muster under both the Tennessee and U.S. Constitutions, State Attorney General Robert Cooper says. In his new legal opinion, Cooper says the process “absent invidious [tending to raise resentment] discrimination or an intent to circumvent the ‘one person, one vote’ principle, annexation by municipal ordinance is constitutional.” According to Cooper, neither constitution “recognizes a right for a person to retain his or her real property in a particular unit of local government.”
Some Tennessee teachers could carry guns in class this year, but whether they do or not likely won’t depend on how it affects their school’s insurance rates. This school year retired police will be allowed to carry in class, though it seems few if any will. This spring, state lawmakers hoping to arm more teachers ended up with a compromise, requiring both police training and experience. Officials say maybe only a couple hundred educators in the state even qualify. Efforts to arm teachers have stumbled in places like Oregon and Indiana over insurance. But the Tennessee Risk Management Trust, an agency providing liability coverage for around a hundred school districts, just decided for the moment its rates are not going up. Even so, hardly any districts appear likely to start letting educators carry.
Flags have been lowered to half-staff statewide in honor of state Rep. Lois DeBerry following her death Sunday from cancer. Gov. Bill Haslam ordered the lowering of flags on Monday evening, effective immidiately. They will remain lowered until sunset on the day of DeBerry’s internment. Prior to her death, DeBerry was the longest-serving member of the state House of Representatives, having represented Memphis since 1972. A Democrat, she rose to the position of speaker pro tempore and seconded the nomination of Al Gore for president in 2000.
It’s another busy afternoon at Niedlov’s Bakery on East Main Street. Owner John Sweet says the small business economy in Chattanooga is the backbone of the city’s growth year after year. “I’m a middle class person hiring middle class people and I wish there was more support for the middle class,” Sweet says. Since President Obama took office, the state hit double-digit unemployment numbers in 2010 and gradually improved. Chattanooga has followed the same trend, but the most recent numbers show the city remains higher than the national average.
A new committee created by the Dickson County Chamber of Commerce Board will determine the future of the county’s economic development strategy — and whether the chamber will be a part of it. Ted Williams, board chairman and president of Dickson-based TriStar Bank, said the seven-person committee, which also includes the county and city mayors, was formed in recent months for “reviewing how the county goes about economic development.’’ David Hamilton retired as chamber president and CEO in June after 13 years.
Rhea County officials say the Rhea County Leadership Program is coming back, possibly by November 2014. “We’re starting on that,” Dayton Chamber of Commerce President Vaughn Berger said during Rhea Economic and Tourism Council’s recent monthly meeting. The program was formed in 1996 to allow leaders and emerging leaders to improve their leadership skills. It formerly was under the direction of the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, and was discontinued nearly two years ago. Berger said Dayton chamber officials had decided to oversee the applications and organization, and that they’d made progress on “the early stages.”
Marion County’s attempt to collect unpaid fines and court costs has failed, and now county leaders are going to re-examine the issue in hopes of coming up with a permanent solution. The County Commission hired a collection agency two years ago in hopes of recouping the lost money, but last week County Mayor John Graham said it’s just not working out. “We’re not paying anything [for the collection service],” he said. “The collector gets a fixed rate off anything he collects, but he’s not collecting much money at all.”
Two Shelby County Commissioners with about a year left in office see an afterlife of issues with the county budget and $4.38 property tax rate the commission approved earlier this month. But Wyatt Bunker and commission Chairman Mike Ritz differ on what the tax rate decision in particular says about the financial direction of county government and what taxpayers can bear. “This is not a Cadillac operation Downtown,” Ritz said on the WKNO-TV program “Behind The Headlines.” “I would agree,” Bunker replied. “But it costs us like a Cadillac operation Downtown. That’s my objection.”
U.S. Sens. Rand Paul and Lamar Alexander, leading a one-sided education talk in Nashville on Monday, concluded that the autonomy of charters has advantages traditional schools can’t match as they discussed ways to expand choice and strengthen charter funding. For Paul, the next step is to push a state law to allow charters in his native Kentucky, where such a proposal has regularly died. Both Republican senators, meanwhile, have put their weight behind federal legislation to enable Title I education funding to follow students to schools of their choice.
Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander guided Kentucky Senator Rand Paul around a Nashville charter school Monday. After handling questions about a possible endorsement for Alexander, the two Washington lawmakers joined several top state officials in spending more than an hour hearing from students, parents and administrators at KIPP Academy”I don’t know that charter schools are the answers, but they may be part of the answer, and it sounds like there a lot of good things are going on,” said the Kentucky Senator who comes from a state without provisions for charters like Tennessee has.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says he hopes Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander wins re-election, despite Tea Party groups who want to challenge the state’s senior Senator. But Paul is hedging when asked if he would officially endorse his GOP colleague. Paul and Alexander have been spending a lot of time together over the past few months. In February, the two joined forces to stop restrictions on fishing below Corps of Engineers dams. Footage of Paul from that event was used in Alexander campaign commercial. At the time, Paul said the ad was not an official endorsement.
With lots of chatter about a potential Republican primary challenger, Tennessee U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander received everything but an endorsement Monday from Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. It came just prior to a roundtable the two U.S. senators hosted at Nashville’s KIPP Academy, one of Nashville’ most successful charter schools. While calling it “a fun parlor game that the media gets involved with,” Rand took it one step further by saying, “I am very supportive of Sen. Alexander. He and I have worked together on a lot of issues. I am very complimentary of how he has been a great senator for the state of Tennessee.”
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says he’s “very supportive” of fellow U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Thinks he’s a “great senator.” Really hopes Alexander doesn’t get an opponent. Wants him to win re-election in 2014. But the Tea Party firebrand said Monday that’s not an endorsement of two-term incumbent Alexander as the two senators stood side by side in Nashville. Paul’s comments came as he and Alexander met with reporters before heading into a joint forum they sponsored on public charter schools.
Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais and his GOP primary rival Jim Tracy don’t agree on much, but the the two 4th Congressional District candidates both are offering jabbing welcomes to President Barack Obama in advance of the president’s Chattanooga visit today. Tracy, a state senator from Shelbville, released a video in which the lawmaker sits in a rocking chair and offers a folksy but barbed welcome to the president, saying, “We conservatives in Tennessee just have to thank you. Your left-wing polices have created such a backlash we now have control over the Tennessee General Assembly and our congressional delegation.
Tennessee is getting $3.3 million in federal funds to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to public school children. According to the Education Department, students at participating schools will receive a fresh fruit or vegetable during the school day at some point other than a regular meal. The program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture to combat childhood obesity by helping children learn healthy eating habits. The program allows students to sample fresh produce to which they might otherwise not have access.
Peaches, the gem of the Southern summer, are just not so sweet this year. The tomatoes in Tennessee are splitting. Tobacco in North Carolina is drowning. And watermelons, which seem as if they would like all the rain that has soaked the South, have taken perhaps the biggest hit of all. Some watermelon farmers in South Georgia say they have lost half their crop. The melons that did survive are not anywhere as good as a Southern watermelon ought to be. “They are awful,” said Daisha Frost, 39, who works in Decatur, Ga. “And this is the time of year when they should be the bomb.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority will test a new voice emergency notification system this week. The new voice system will be battery-powered, capable of operating for up to seven days, and mounted on metal poles that can withstand high winds. They will be in addition to updated emergency sirens located within the 10-mile notification area around the plants. TVA says the need for this additional security measure was identified after the nuclear emergency in Japan several years ago. The Fukushima facility lost all electric power for extended periods, and with it they lost their public address system, radios and cell phones.
A federal judge has sided with TVA and ordered closed a lawsuit over TVA’s tree-cutting policy, leaving plaintiffs to mull their options for appeal, one of the plaintiffs said Monday. U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan filed an order July 23 granting a motion by TVA lawyers for summary judgment against a claim by plaintiffs that TVA should have done an environmental impact statement before pursuing a more aggressive tree-cutting policy on its power line easements. “He pretty much blew us out of the water,” plaintiff Vance Sherwood said of the judge’s ruling.
Alstom’s boiler services facility in Chattanooga is laying off about 40 workers, or roughly 10 percent of its workforce, an official said Monday. The reduction is the second for Alstom in Chattanooga this year. In March, the company cut 80 jobs at its adjacent turbomachinery plant on Riverfront Parkway. Adam Pratt, Alstom’s U.S. media relations manager, said the company is adjusting the workforce size and makeup at the boiler facility based on current market conditions and to make its operations as lean as possible.
Innovative Hearth Products has announced it will close its Lennox plant in Union City. A statement by the company said the closure will come in the spring or summer of 2014. The Union City Daily Messenger reported company CEO Mark Klein said on Monday that the company will move all manufacturing to plants that mirror each other on the east and west coasts. There are currently four plants and two of them are in the same region. The other central plant is in Russellville, Ala. Innovative Hearth Products makes indoor and outdoor fireplaces, fireplace inserts, free-standing stoves, gas log sets, accessories and venting products.
Michael Fenwick and Janet Welch, former sales executives with Pilot Flying J, have pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to a scheme to defraud trucking firms of promised fuel rebates. A total of seven Pilot Flying J employees have now pleaded guilty to fraud charges. According to The Tennesseean, Fenwick worked as a regional sales executive in Utah while Welch worked in the company’s Knoxville headquarters. Recently, a settlement between several trucking firms and Pilot was announced.
Two more Pilot Flying J sales executives have entered guilty pleas to criminal charges stemming from a scheme to skim millions of dollars from promised rebates to trucking company customers of the Knoxville-based travel center chain. Seven Pilot executives and employees have entered pleas as a result of the federal investigation. Entering guilty pleas to mail fraud charges Monday in U.S. District Court in Knoxville were Michael S. Fenwick and Janet M. Welch. Fenwick, a regional sales executive, was based in Utah, while Welch, a senior account executive, worked at Pilot’s Knoxville headquarters.
When a fuel rebate came up short, Scott Fenwick blamed a computer glitch. He didn’t try that excuse with a federal judge Monday. Fenwick pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. His plea and another from Janet Welch, a former Pilot senior account manager who admitted to conspiracy to commit fraud, bring the total to seven ex-Pilot employees so far to admit to federal charges of rebate fraud — all with the promise to cooperate in future prosecutions.
As the first Tennessee school district to offer public virtual school, Metro Nashville is going a step further by having the first virtual school to adopt the academy model, officials said Monday. Metro’s online high school program is now the Virtual Academy of Business and Marketing, according to a news release from the school system. “At the click of a button, the new academy will provide students with dynamic and unique course options and career exploration opportunities,” said James Witty, Virtual School principal. The academy will offer classes in such areas as virtual enterprise, Web design and interactive multimedia.
When elementary students return to school in Williamson County August 9, they will see a new permanent security feature in the hall, a school resource officer. School resource officers are certified law enforcement officers who are assigned to a school campus. “We felt like the lives of those in the elementary schools are just as important as in the middle and high schools,” Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long said. The SROs will be Williamson County Deputies. The county schools had assigned SROs to the high schools and middle schools.
Nashville Police internal affairs officers are days away from releasing the findings of an investigation into what Franklin Police Chief David Rahinsky said may have been an illegal attempt by a city employee to use a law-enforcement database to access data on one of Rahinsky’s family members. “I pride myself on my own transparency,” Rahinsky said Monday in an interview. “I am not comfortable with any of this, but it is more important that I continue to provide exemplary police service.”
Exports are important drivers of local, regional and national economies. They bring valuable resources and help support good-paying jobs that in turn generate revenues, result in sustained local spending and many more rounds of job creation leading to a robust growth path. Sustained increase in exports is a welcome economic trend whose importance cannot be overstated. Recent data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau hold some important insights regarding Tennessee’s export-sector performance and its standing with respect to other states. Despite Tennessee having only a little more than 2 percent of the national population, it ranks 15th among states in the amount of exports, just behind Minnesota.
Years ago, The Tennessean’s late great Jerry Thompson noted that the United States was in the habit of giving countries that it invaded substantial amounts of foreign aid. At the time, Metro was going through one budget crisis or another — this was in the pre-Itness days of boom-time budgets — and Thompson suggested Nashville should secede from the union and then immediately surrender to the mighty forces of the U.S. and apply for foreign aid. He was joking, which was obvious when he suggested that Antioch would be the capital of this short-lived Republic of Nashville. The capital would obviously be Green Hills.
If Rep. Lois DeBerry had accomplished nothing else in her 40 years as a lawmaker, her work on prison reform alone would ensure her a place among Tennessee’s great leaders. Of course, the Memphis Democrat, who died on Sunday, was effective in many more ways. But in looking at the state’s correctional system before and after she spoke up about how inmates were treated, the difference was as stark as a system that treated people as animals, but eventually became a system that worked with convicts to help them re-enter society. Tennessee prisons were under court-ordered federal oversight in the late 1970s and early ’80s. That they were shortly thereafter released from that order is in large part due to Rep. DeBerry’s work.
State Rep. Lois DeBerry was a history maker and a fighter, whose behind-the-scenes legislative acumen made her a powerhouse in the Tennessee House of Representatives for nearly four decades. She was a fighter for the citizens of Tennessee, Memphis and Shelby County, and for the residents of the district she had served since she was first elected to the House in 1972. She was a fighter in her battle against pancreatic cancer, which began in 2009. She died of the disease Sunday afternoon. Rep. DeBerry was the first African-American woman elected to the General Assembly from Shelby County and the second statewide. She was the dean of the Shelby County legislative delegation and the second-longest serving member in the current 132-member General Assembly.
Just when we think Republicans can sink no lower, they surprise us with a deep dive. They run a misleading ad on TV to welcome President Barack Obama to Chattanooga and Tennessee, and then claim the new jobs at VW and Amazon are here “in spite” of “liberal policies” and are here “thanks to Republican leadership.” Hardly. But then honesty and accuracy have not been recent Republican virtues. Tennessee Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey, who is a Republican, were key in the successful recruitment of both Volkswagen and Amazon to Chattanooga.
President Obama, Welcome to Chattanooga, one of hundreds of cities throughout this great nation struggling to succeed in spite of your foolish policies that limit job creation, stifle economic growth and suffocate the entrepreneurial spirit. Forgive us if you are not greeted with the same level of Southern hospitality that our area usually bestows on its distinguished guests. You see, we understand you are in town to share your umpteenth different job creation plan during your time in office. If it works as well as your other job creation programs, then thanks, but no thanks. We’d prefer you keep it to yourself.