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TN GOP Announces Red to the Roots ‘Featured Candidates’

Press release from the Tennessee Republican Party; July 10, 2014:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Red to the Roots is gaining steam across the Volunteer State.

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney and Red to the Roots Chairman State Representative Ryan Williams (R–Cookeville) today jointly announced the next group of rising conservatives across the state.

“These are the next generation of leaders in our state. They have serious solutions for the issues voters care about and they’re going to make a difference in their communities,” said Devaney.

Williams commented, “Red to the Roots is a program designed to support Republican candidates who have a vision that aligns with the needs of their communities. Whether it is judicial candidates who will protect the Constitution, mayoral candidates who know how to recruit jobs, or local candidates who will guard taxpayer resources from wasteful spending, these individuals are part of an ideas revolution at the county and judicial level in Tennessee. I’m proud to offer our support for these people.”

The Featured Candidates are:

Alicia Mumpower – The Republican nominee for Sullivan County Trustee.

Ann Strong – The Republican nominee for Crockett County Mayor.

Bill Ailor – The Republican nominee for Circuit Court Judge in the 6th Judicial District, which is Knox County.

Justin Angel – The Republican nominee for Circuit Court Judge in the 12th Judicial District (Bledsoe, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Rhea, and Sequatchie Counties).

Mark Luttrell – The incumbent and the Republican nominee for Mayor of Shelby County.

Troy Brewer – The Republican nominee for State House in the 50th District (Davidson).

Devaney concluded, “Our Party has the momentum in Tennessee and, with the help of these candidates, I believe we can keep it going at the local level. Tennesseans want solutions for the problems our communities are facing, they want government to live within its means, and they want a judiciary that respects the Constitution. This group embodies those ideals.”

By being named Featured Candidates, the Tennessee Republican Party encourages supporters, donors, and activists to work to elect these Republican nominees.

Background

Red to the Roots is a program designed to elect more Republicans at the county and judicial level, while bolstering support for GOP legislative candidates.

2014 witnessed more Republicans running for office than ever before in Tennessee.

Alicia Mumpower’s website: https://www.facebook.com/AliciaMumpowerforTrustee

Ann Strong’s website: http://www.annstrong.net/

Bill Ailor’s website: http://www.billailorforjudge.com/

Justin Angel’s website: http://justin4judge.com/

Mayor Mark Luttrell’s website: http://markluttrellformayor.com/

Troy Brewer’s website: http://www.troybrewerfortn.com/

Upcoming UAW Vote at VW Concerns TN Senate Labor, Commerce Cmte Heads

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; February 10, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn, (February 10, 2014) — The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Tennessee’s Senate Commerce and Labor Committee today expressed concern regarding the United Auto Workers (UAW) upcoming vote in Chattanooga, saying a vote for organized labor would harm Tennessee’s reputation as a business-friendly state and reverse the state’s recent progress in automobile-related job growth.

Chairman Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and Vice-Chairman Mark Green (R-Clarksville) said the General Assembly has worked in concert with Governors Phil Bredesen and Bill Haslam for the past several years to move forward policies to support Tennessee’s competitive standing in growing and expanding new and better paying jobs in the state. The lawmakers said that pending decisions of VW employees are of statewide interest at a pivotal time when Tennessee stands currently as a national leader in job creation.

“We greatly value our auto workers, both in Middle Tennessee and in Southeast Tennessee,” said Senator Johnson, a businessman whose legislative district is home to the General Motors Spring Hill plant and Nissan’s North America headquarters.

“Our communities are very similar with great neighborhoods, schools that focus on achievement and a local economy that is envied by many. The automotive industry is a very important part of the quality of life we enjoy.” “As Chattanooga workers vote on the United Auto Workers presence, it is a decision that transcends just one community,” he added. “There is tremendous competition for job growth among states. A vote for organized labor would impede our daily efforts to benefit Tennessee families as we compete nationally in job growth. I ask that Chattanooga lead to honor Tennessee’s competitive spirit so we can continue moving our state’s job growth forward. Chattanooga workers, we don’t need the UAW in our state.”

“In business, reputation means a lot,” added Senator Green, who is a practicing physician and businessman who represents the more rural Clarksville region that competes with industry across the state-line of Kentucky. “Tennessee has developed a reputation of a top location for families and businesses because of the lower cost of living, commitment to an educated workforce and folks keeping more of our wages by holding taxes low.”

“Volkswagen chose our state and your community for important reasons: Chattanooga workers have a great reputation of a great work ethic and make an excellent product. That reputation has been yours without the United Auto Workers,” he continued. “The free market that VW chose in our state produces competition, empowers employees far more than a labor union, and keeps bringing jobs to Tennessee.” The United Auto Workers vote is scheduled for Wednesday, February 12 through Friday, February 14 at the Volkswagen site in Chattanooga.

House GOP Votes to Explore ‘Bilateral Session’ with Federal Delegation

The Republican supermajority caucus of Tennessee’s House of Representatives wants state lawmakers to host a get-together with the state’s congressional delegation.

At least some do.

A majority of House Republicans who attended a caucus meeting at the Capitol on Wednesday voted 31-16 to form a steering committee tasked with organizing a joint “bilateral session” to be held in January or February.

As proposed, the meeting would be in the Tennessee House chambers, co-chaired by the speakers of the state House and Senate, Beth Harwell of Nashville and Ron Ramsey of Blountville.

The discussion would center around topics deemed relevant to Tennessee by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The subjects of discourse would be given to the federal legislative delegation in advance, said Tullahoma Rep. Judd Matheny, who last week announced the idea.

The chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, Matheny wants Tennessee’s nine U.S. Representatives and two Senators to publicly and formally meet with state lawmakers to discuss congressional issues that affect the people and government of Tennessee.

Only two of the state’s lawmakers in Washington are Democrats: Reps. Steve Cohen of Memphis and Jim Cooper of Nashville.

“We need to do something to reach out to our congressmen in Washington,” Matheny said Wednesday. “There’s no reason we can’t have a dadgum good meeting.”

Matheny said the aim of his proposal is to start a conversation that “will leave both levels of government with a clear understanding of each other’s needs and actions while rebuilding public confidence.”

Matheny’s long-range plan is to hold such conferences annually. A seven-member steering committee will be appointed by Speaker Harwell. The committee will have four state senate members, should the Senate Republican caucus choose to join.

House GOP caucus members who attended Wednesday’s meeting expressed a variety of reasons for wanting to hold the meeting. The gist is they want to “open the lines of communication” on a perceived disconnect between Tennessee and Washington. Supporters of the meeting want to discuss what a number of Republicans see as an undermining of state sovereignty by Congress and the federal government.

Not all caucus members were completely sold on the idea, though.

Ooltewah state Rep. Mike Carter worries about opening the Tennessee Legislature’s doors to congressional dysfunction. “If we bring the problems in Washington to Nashville, I will be disgraced,” he said.

Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, likes the idea of a developing a constructive forum for sharing ideas between Tennessee’s members of Congress and the General Assembly, but he suggested moving forward cautiously until all the details of the conference’s aims are hammered out. Haynes said he doesn’t see much point in organizing a meeting doomed to degenerate into an ideological war of words between Democrats and Republicans.

Matheny tried to assuage such concerns. He stressed that the purpose of his proposal isn’t to spark a “political witch hunt,” but rather facilitate a “political business-meeting about issues.”

Matheny said he’s not simply trying to give state lawmakers “an opportunity to vent” at Tennessee’s members of Congress.

Evans Announces for State Senate District 25

Press release from the Campaign for Joshua Evans for Tennessee State Senate; Sept. 24, 2013:

SPRINGFIELD, TN – State Representative Joshua Evans announced his candidacy for the newly formed 25th District of the Tennessee State Senate. As a first responder, small businesses owner, and public servant, Evans has a unique understanding of the issues that face the five-county district, and the experience to achieve solutions.

“It has been an honor to serve in the General Assembly, and I look forward to the opportunity to serve in the Senate, and continue the fight for Tennessee’s families, to reduce our tax burden, improve our schools, and to develop an environment where business owners can succeed and create jobs,” said Evans.

During his five years in the General Assembly, Evans has been instrumental in moving forward key legislation that has resulted in the reduction of the sales tax on groceries and the Hall Income Tax, elimination of the state’s gift and death taxes, and establishment of essential education reforms that have led to measurable improvement in student achievement. Evans has also been a consistent champion for our constitutional rights, and for the sanctity of all human life. By focusing on fiscal restraint, improving education, and creating an environment where businesses can create jobs, Evans has shown a clear understanding of what it takes to make Tennessee and the district he represents appealing to employers and residents.

Through his years of service in elected office, Evans has built a strong reputation as a hard worker and responsive public servant. This strong reputation of hard work in both Nashville, and at home, is reflected in the strength of his early fundraising efforts. As he kicks off his Senate race, Evans has more than $50,000 cash-on-hand – significantly outpacing the other announced candidates in the race, who have each raised less than $7,000 as of the latest filing.

“I have been overwhelmed by the interest and enthusiasm I have seen as I have traveled across the 25th District. I share the values that characterize this district: a commitment to strong families, a passion for hard work, and a strong sense of responsibility to the community. These values will always shape my decisions as I work with the residents of the 25th District to improve opportunities for job growth, support parents and teachers in their efforts to provide the best education to our young people, and ensure that our values are reflected in the work that is done in Nashville,” continued Evans.

The 25th Senate District was created as a result of the 2012 redistricting, and it includes Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Humphreys, and Robertson Counties.

For more information, visit EvansForSenate.com or Facebook.com/RepJoshuaEvans.

About Joshua Evans:

Joshua Evans served eight years in local government and was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2008. He is a small business owner and has served as a volunteer firefighter in Robertson County since 2001. Joshua and his family live in Greenbrier, and he is a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Gresham Announces Dates for Senate Hearings on Common Core Standards

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; September 11, 2013:

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) – Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) today released information regarding the fact finding meeting on the state’s Common Core State Standards (CCSS), pledging a full and fair review. The Senate hearings will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 19 and at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 20 in Room 12 of the Legislative Plaza in Nashville.

  • Thursday’s meeting will be include a full review of CCSS details
  • Friday’s meeting will include testimony on CCSS

“Our guiding principle throughout these hearings must be our students and what is best for their future,” added Gresham. “That is why it is so important that we let the facts guide us as we take a thorough look through a full and fair review.”

“There have been many legitimate concerns expressed about the Common Core Standards from both ends of the political spectrum, from parents, teachers and other concerned citizens” said Senator Gresham. “This forum provides us with the opportunity to air these concerns, review the facts and offer recommendations for changes as we move closer to the start of the 2014 legislative session.”

TNGOP to Air Presidential ‘Welcome Message’ Touting State’s Economic Success

Press release from the Tennessee Republican Party; July 29, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— President Barack Obama will find a different kind of welcome mat rolled out for him in Tennessee when he arrives to tour the Chattanooga Amazon distribution plant on Tuesday. The Tennessee Republican Party has purchased airtime and will broadcast a welcome message to the President detailing the recent successes of the state.

“The message isn’t about President Obama or his feckless leadership on jobs and the economy–everyone is well aware of that dismal record,” stated Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney. “Instead, this ad is about the great things happening here in Tennessee because of Republican principles in action. We hope the President uses this opportunity to see what real leadership looks like and takes those lessons back to Washington. We’re the Party of opportunity and upward mobility in Tennessee and this ad touts that belief.”

The ad, which shows some of Tennessee’s stunning views and important landmarks, has a voiceover that lists just a few of the recent accolades given to Tennessee in the last year stating, “We’re fourth in job creation, top five for business, and the third freest state in the country, thanks to Republican leadership.” The ad continues stating, “In stark contrast to Washington, we’ve got the lowest debt of any state in the nation.”

In 2012 Tennessee’s gross domestic product grew faster than the country as a whole and personal income growth in Tennessee outpaced the country as well.

“Our economy and state are moving forward while we continue to see America stall under President Obama’s damaging economic policies. We hope that President Obama will see that Tennessee is the perfect example of Republican fiscal responsibility and free market approach working to grow the economy, increase personal wealth, and attract jobs. Like the ad says, ‘This is what America should look like,” concluded Devaney.

Click here to view the ad.

Summerville to File Bill to Freeze College Tuition at Current Rates

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; July 22, 2013:

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), July 22, 2013 — State Senator Jim Summerville (R-Dickson) has announced plans to file legislation in the Tennessee General Assembly to freeze tuition at the current rates at state colleges and universities. The announcement comes after the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and the University of Tennessee (UT) system recently adopted hikes in tuition ranging between 3 to 6 percent.

“The current increases are an outrage, especially in light of this year’s increase in appropriations to these higher education systems,” said Senator Summerville. “No other governmental department consistently raises their costs to the taxpayers at such a high rate on an annual basis.”

The General Assembly approved a budget providing a $108.6 million increase for higher education, including $65.7 million in additional funds for the Tennessee Board of Regents, $37.6 million for the University of Tennessee system and $5.2 million for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. A 2010-2011 study by the Bloomberg News College Board found that 56 percent of public four-year college students average $23,800 in student loans upon graduation.

“Over the past decade, tuition at public colleges and universities has increased by an astounding 62 percent,” added Summerville. “These ever-increasing costs lead students to take out more loans, thus saddling themselves with debt that can take almost a lifetime to pay back.”

Summerville said his legislation, the “Tennessee College Students’ Tuition Relief Act,” is currently in the drafting stage but will freeze tuition for several years. He said bill will include cost reduction recommendations to help the state’s higher education system realize efficiencies. This could include top-heavy administrative office expenses and excessive salary packages for college coaches.

“Non-instructional cost is a good place to start in looking for savings,” added Summerville. “If we are going to meet our goals of raising our college graduation rates, we must get a handle on the rising costs. This legislation is a big step in the right direction to accomplish this.”

Speaking for U.S. Senate GOP, Alexander Rejects ‘National School Board’

Press release from the Tennessee Republican Party; June 15, 2013:

‘Between now and the end of the month, Senate Republicans will work hard with the President and with the House to produce an agreement that ensures all student borrowers benefit from today’s low interest rates. That would mean that 100 percent of all new student loans made this year would have a rate below five percent.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the Weekly Republican Address, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) calls on Senate Democrats to put politics aside and support a long-term fix to prevent an increase in student loan interest rates. A former U.S. Secretary of Education and the ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee, Senator Alexander also highlights a Republican proposal that emphasizes state and local decision-making in K-12 education while a Democratic alternative, in essence, creates a national school board to oversee the 100,000 public schools that educate 50 million American children. A full transcript of the address follows:

“I’m United States Senator Lamar Alexander.

“This is the season for high school graduations. And more than two million of those graduating are going to college.

“Both Republicans and Democrats agree that college is the surest ticket to the middle class and we want to help by making it simpler and smarter to get a student loan.

“That’s why the Republican House of Representatives has passed, and President Obama and Senate Republicans agree, on the same idea: A permanent solution to all student loan interest rates before some automatically rise on July first. The idea is to allow the market to set interest rates.

“It’s fairer to students and fairer to taxpayers.

“Now some Senate Democrats want a short-term political fix that will only benefit forty percent of new student loans, but they stand alone.

“Between now and the end of the month, Senate Republicans will work hard with the President and with the House to produce an agreement that ensures all student borrowers benefit from today’s low interest rates. That would mean that 100 percent of all new student loans made this year would have a rate below five percent.

“We may be in agreement on student loans, but we have a major disagreement about who should be in charge of our 100,000 public schools that educate 50 million American children.

“To put it simply, Democrats want a national school board; Republicans favor local control.

“Over the last decade, the United States Department of Education has become so congested with federal mandates that it has actually become, in effect, a national school board.

“If you remember the childhood game, ‘Mother, May I?’ then you have a pretty good sense of how the process works—states must come to Washington for approval of their plans to educate their students.

“This congestion of mandates is caused by three things: No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and the administration’s use of waivers. Together, they’ve imposed federal standards for what children must know in reading and math, they’ve coerced some states into adopting Common Core standards, and they’ve imposed federal definitions of how a state should measure school, teacher, and principal performance.

“This week, Senate Democrats reported to the full Senate an eleven-hundred-and-fifty-page plan that would not only freeze these mandates into place, but double down, creating more than twenty-five new programs as well as more than 150 new reporting requirements.

“Republicans voted to move in a different direction. We offered a two-hundred-and-twenty-page plan to help children in public schools learn what they need to know and be able to do by restoring responsibility to states and communities, and giving teachers and parents freedom, flexibility, and choice.

“We call it, ‘Every Child Ready for College or Career.’

“Our plan emphasizes state and local decision-making. It puts Washington out of the business of deciding whether local schools are succeeding or failing. It rejects federal mandates that create a national school board, and prohibits the Education Secretary from prescribing standards or accountability systems for states. It continues the requirement that states have high standards and quality tests, but doesn’t prescribe those standards.

“Our proposal makes it easier for states to offer low-income parents more choice in finding the right public school for their child. And it gives teachers and principals more freedom by encouraging the expansion and replication of successful charter schools. It encourages states to create teacher and principal evaluation programs, free of federal mandates, and offers states flexibility in spending federal education dollars, while cutting waste.

“This is not a proposal just for Republicans. We believe this proposal represents the views and will attract the support of governors leading the charge for education reform, teachers who value the freedom to teach, parents who want more choices for their children, and state legislators who are working for better schools.

“The Democratic proposal establishes a national school board. What such a proposal really says is they don’t trust parents and they don’t trust classroom teachers and they don’t trust states to care about and help educate their children, and they want someone in Washington do it for them.

“We completely reject that. Our proposal places responsibility for helping our children learn squarely where it ought to be —on states and communities, and it does that by giving teachers and parents more freedom, more flexibility and more choice.”

Audio of Weekly Address.

Video of Weekly Address.

Download Weekly Address.

TNGOP Targets Gloria Johnson

Press release from the Tennessee Republican Party; April 25, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—As lawmakers return home following the conclusion of the legislative session, Tennesseans are reviewing the public record of their lawmakers and some of what they are finding is embarrassing.

Take, for instance, the record of Representative Gloria Johnson (D—Knoxville).

In a short four-month period as a legislator, Rep. Johnson:

  • Spent the last four months harassing and opposing Governor Bill Haslam’s common sense reform agenda for education and spending.
  • Voted against a bill that protects doctors who provide free medical care to low-income patients who need urgent attention.
  • Filed a self-serving bill she would personally benefit from.
  • Supported the implementation of ObamaCare in Tennessee.
  • Voted to strip worker’s rights protections from Tennessee law.
  • Stood against Knox County teachers having the ability to protect students.
  • Chose to not record a vote on a ban of the state income tax that would protect Tennessee families from having more of their hard-earned money taken by government.
  • Voted against a balanced state budget that meets the needs of our state and cuts taxes for all Tennesseans.
  • Voted against cutting the sales tax on groceries for all Tennesseans.
  • Voted against phasing out the death tax to save Tennessee families and farms from being double-taxed on their assets.
  • Voted against an initiative to find and remove examples of government waste.  

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney made the following statement about Rep. Johnson’s legislative performance.

“Representative Johnson was sent to Nashville to represent her constituents and this dismal performance was anything but that. It is troubling to see that her priorities were not carrying and passing good legislation, but rather being focused on updating her social media accounts with personal attacks on our leaders. Tennesseans hold their elected officials to a higher standard and expect them to work tirelessly on their behalf. Instead, she put petty personal politics above what’s best for Tennessee.”

He concluded, “I look forward to talking about Gloria Johnson’s embarrassing track record with her constituents over the next year and a half.”

Turner: In 2013 ‘One Major Victory After Another’ in GOP’s ‘War’ on Workers

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; April 12, 2013:

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee State House on Thursday passed a series of bills that will weaken rights and lower wages for Tennessee’s workforce. During the nearly four hour session, House Republicans voted to radically change the state workers’ compensation system and do away with the prevailing wage for construction workers.

“This year has been one major victory after another in the Republican Party’s war on working people in the state of Tennessee,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner. “The wealthy special interests have certainly gotten their money’s worth this year and it will be working families that have to pay the price for their indifference and greed.”

The Governor’s workers’ compensation changes will reduce payouts to injured workers by 1/3, make it easier to fire injured workers, and make it harder for workers to collect legitimate claims. In addition, the new law puts the appeals process out of the hands of local courts and into a new state-appointed bureaucracy underneath the beleaguered Department of Labor. Democrats had requested the Governor delay this legislation in response to the Comptroller audit which showed “internal controls…were ineffective or non-existent” with regard to the state’s unemployment insurance system.

“These are short-sighted changes that will result in more workplace injuries and higher rates of bankruptcy for injured workers,” said Chairman Turner. “All the while, these new changes do nothing to address the higher medical costs in Tennessee which are the reason our workers’ comp rates were higher in the first place.”

Also passing on Thursday was HB850 by Rep. Marsh (R-Shelbyville) which will eliminate prevailing wage protections for construction workers on state contracts. The prevailing wage law was designed to prevent contractors from undercutting competition by driving down wages on workers. If the Governor signs this legislation into law; lower paid and lower skilled workers will be used to complete projects, causing delays and infrastructure problems down the road.

“Working people in this state are being driven down further and further as Republicans try to win a race to the bottom in wages, benefits, and job protections for Tennesseans,” said Chairman Turner. “Unfortunately, many working families in this state won’t realize the damage that has been done until it’s too late.”