Press Releases

Rep. Terry Partnering With Central Magnet School Students in M’Boro to Sponsor Legislation

Press release from the Tennessee House Republican Caucus; February 9, 2015:

(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Bryan Terry, MD, is looking to get more youth involvement in politics. To do so, he has partnered with students at Central Magnet School to co-sponsor legislation this session. Mr. Allen Nichols instructs a class at Central Magnet entitled Contemporary Issues. The class focuses on teaching students about the constitution, as well as, debating current topics and issues.

One of the assignments for the students was to volunteer on a political campaign. Said Bryan Terry, “Before school started, several of the students helped during my primary. When classes began, students were asked as an assignment to volunteer on various campaigns. I had probably twenty or so Central Magnet students get involved in my campaign in some capacity.”

After the campaign, Dr. Terry thought about how he could pay back Mr. Nichols and his students and get them further involved in the legislative process. Dr. Terry reached out to Mr. Nichols with the idea of presenting the class with some legislative ideas that he looked to sponsor. If the Contemporary Issues classes could debate the issues and choose a topic, then Dr. Terry would sponsor or co-sponsor the legislation and keep the class up to date on the legislation.

Mr. Nichols had this to say: “I have the pleasure of teaching high school seniors contemporary issues. In our class, students get involved in citizenship by volunteering for local campaigns and simulating legislative sessions over real proposed bills. This year has been most exciting with an election and a new legislative session for the Tennessee General Assembly. Students enthusiastically debated several bills that are being brought up in Nashville. As a result of our class time devoted to current legislation, these students are more in tune to proposals that will have an impact on them and their families. While they had differing views from across the political spectrum, students appreciated the opportunity and are already seeking new opportunities for additional bills.”

In deference to the class and Mr. Nichols, Dr. Terry said he would not make public the students’ choice nor their comments. However, he did have this to say: “There was spirited debate on the issues with one topic appearing to generate an overwhelming positive response. As the legislation goes through the process, I will keep Mr. Nichols and the class informed on the status of the bill. As legislators, we must reach out to the youth and encourage their involvement in government. Article one, section one of the Tennessee Constitution says that the power is inherent in the people. It is one of my goals to help empower constituents and the youth through self-governance. I appreciate their enthusiasm and participation.”

The Tennessee General Assembly’s regular session begins on February 9 with the bill filing deadline set for February 12. Rep. Bryan Terry’s office can be reached at 615-741-2180 or via email at .

Press Releases

Stewart Criticizes House GOP for Opposition to Federal Expansion of Pre-K in TN

Press release from the Office of Tennessee State Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville; December 19, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Rep. Mike Stewart (D-Nashville) released the following statement following news that the Republican leadership in the House was going to oppose a federally funded expansion of Pre-K in Tennessee:

“Even in these hyper-political times, yesterday’s announcement by House Republican Leaders that they planned to give up $64.3 million in federal tax dollars freely available to expand Pre-K came as a shock and a disappointment.

“Sadly, Tennessee Republicans appear to be taking the lead from their national leaders, like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who have made a profession of putting their narrow political needs before the good of the nation as a whole. Here we have a program – Pre-K – that has bi-partisan support and that has proven to be highly effective. Here in Nashville, Vanderbilt’s Peabody Research Institute, working with the Tennessee Department of Education’s Division of Curriculum, recently conducted a “rigorous, independent evaluation” of Pre-K in Tennessee. The key finding? “[T[he Tennessee Voluntary Prekindergarten program produces significant improvements in the academic skills generally regarded as important for school readiness compared to the gains made by comparable children who did not participate in the program.”

“At one time, Tennessee leaders, whether Republicans under Governors Lamar Alexander and Don Sundquist or Democrats under Democratic Governors Ned Ray McWherter and Phil Bredesen, would not have thought twice about putting good policy before politics and bringing these millions of dollars in to help our neediest school children. What a disappointment that the same radical spirit that has so undermined our government in Washington is now seeping into Tennessee politics.

“Those of us elected by Tennesseans should remember that these federal funds are our citizens’ tax dollars at work. The money that we send to Washington can either be put to work in Tennessee or put to work in other states. Already this year we’ve seen the Republicans refuse billions of dollars in healthcare funding by refusing to expand Medicaid – a program that is already helping thousands of working families and seniors just over the border in Kentucky. Now they give up millions that would allow over seven thousand Tennessee kids a better start in life. Apparently, handing out our citizens’ money to other states is the New Math among Tennessee Republicans. It doesn’t add up – unless you care more about your radical base than about doing what’s right for Tennessee school children and working families.”

Press Releases

Dunn Questions Cost-Effectiveness of Pre-K in TN

Press release from the Tennessee House Republican Caucus; August 5, 2013:

(NASHVILLE) — Last week, researchers at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University released findings of their 2013 pre-kindergarten study – a research effort dedicated to detailing the effects of pre-kindergarten on the long-term academic success of Tennessee students.

The findings show that by the end of kindergarten “the differences between participants and non-participants were no longer statistically significant”, except in one case where the children who did not attend Pre-K actually outperformed those who did.

“Tennesseans were told that Pre-K would increase graduation rates and even prevent 80 murders and 6,400 aggravated assaults each year,” said State Representative Bill Dunn (R–Knoxville), citing Pre-K advocate literature. “I truly hope people will recognize this was all very expensive hype.”

According to estimates, the total cost of implementing a full-scale Pre-K program in Tennessee would exceed $460 million per year.

“If you do a cost-benefit analysis on this extremely expensive program, you will come to the conclusion that it is like paying $1,000 for a McDonald’s hamburger,” Dunn continued. “It may make an initial dent on your hunger, but it doesn’t last long and you soon realize you could have done a lot more with the money spent.”

Instead, Dunn called for shifting resources to places that have shown to have a real impact on students, like having a great teacher in front of every classroom.

“Our teachers have stepped up with the new educational reforms that have been initiated and have shown improvement on annual test scores for three years in a row. For all of this hard work, I think they should be rewarded,” concluded Dunn.

Bill Dunn serves as Chairman of the House Calendar & Rules Committee. He lives in Knoxville and represents District 16, which includes a portion of Knox County.

Featured NewsTracker

Slight Reshuffling Among House Republican Leadership

House Speaker Beth Harwell on Monday won unanimous backing to be the GOP’s nominee for Speaker for a second term. But the party tossed Speaker Pro Tem Judd Matheny from his post in a Republican caucus meeting, replacing him with Rep. Curtis Johnson.

“As far as our caucus is concerned, one of my big roles is to bring our caucus together,” said Johnson, of Clarksville. “We’re going to have differences, we’re going to have constructive criticism … but I think we need to all work together to move our caucus forward.”

Matheny, R-Tullahoma, a Tea Party favorite, was at times critical of other House Republican leaders, and had for a time considered challenging Harwell for speaker.

GOP lawmakers also chose Glen Casada of Franklin to serve as the caucus chairman, a position he held previously before running against Harwell for the speaker’s post in 2010. Casada will take over for Hendersonville Rep. Debra Maggart, who was defeated in the August primary by Courtney Rogers.

“In the 107th General Assembly, we did a lot to change how the Capitol operates internally and created a better environment for job creation throughout the state. Now, it’s time to take the next step,” Casada said in a statement. “Over the next two years, I look forward to leading a solutions-based Caucus that answers the needs of our citizens, creates more opportunity for economic growth, and enhances the educational landscape for our children.”

The caucus also dumped Rep. Curry Todd, of Collierville, from his seat on the powerful Fiscal Review Committee.

Todd, sponsor of Tennessee’s guns-in-bars law, resigned as chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee last year after he was jailed and charged with drunken driving and possession of a handgun while under the influence. He pleaded not guilty, and a trial is set for Nov. 30.

A list of those winning GOP leadership offices can be found by clicking here.

Trent Seibert can be reached at, on Twitter at @trentseibert or at 615-669-9501.

Press Releases

House Republican Caucus Members on Twitter Fall 2012

Press release from the Tennessee House Republican Caucus; November 9, 2012: 

Active Members

Harwell — @SpeakerHarwell
McCormick — @GeraldMcCormick
Rich — @RepBarrettRich
Powers — @DennisHPowers
Butt – @RepSheilaButt
Evans — @RepEvans
Marsh — @Marsh4TN
Brooks — @RepKBrooks
Weaver — @TerriLynnWeaver
Holt — @andyholtTN
Marsh — @RepPatMarsh
Sexton — @CSexton25
Pody — @MarkPody
Hall — @VoteSteveHall
Sargent — @CSargentTN
McManus — @VoteMcManus
Dean — @VoteVinceDean
Faison — @JerFaison
Womick — @RickWomick
H. Brooks — @RepHarryBrooks
Carr — @JoeCarr48
Swann — @RepArtSwann
M. White — @RepMarkWhite
M. Hill — @HillRep


New Members of the 108th General Assembly 

Lamberth — @WilliamLamberth
T. Hill — @TimothyHill_TN
Goins — @TilmanGoins
Lynn — @SusanMLynn
Calfee — @KentCalfee
D. White — @VoteDawn
Rogers — @LtColRogers
Farmer — @RepAndrewFarmer
Carr — @VoteDaleCarr
Durham — @JeremyRDurham