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Carr or Lamar? Mindblowing Upset or Run-of-the-Mill Blowout?

Just hours before election day the GOP primary contest between incumbent U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and Tea-Party-backed state Rep. Joe Carr is still a tough call. Both candidates claim the winds of momentum are blowing in their favor, and there’s fair reason to conclude at this late hour that anything can still happen.

Although a poll released last week by the Alexander campaign showed the longtime politician besting his closest opponent by more than two-to-one, Carr contended at a “Beat Lamar” rally in East Ridge over the weekend that the race is “very, very, very close.”

According to Carr, he’s recently been contacted by four members of the Tennessee General Assembly working on his behalf, who have all told him that from what they’ve seen, he’s winning, and that “two out of three voters” are in his corner.

Carr, a three-term Republican state representative from Lascassas, is challenging the political powerhouse of Alexander, a two-term U.S. Senator, former Tennessee governor, former U.S. Department of Education secretary and two-time candidate for president.

Both campaigns have touted their recent endorsements as evidence of their conservative credentials, as well as their penchant for getting things done.

Carr has recently picked up the endorsements from national Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin. Conservative commentator and radio host Laura Ingraham and has long had the support of the Beat Lamar PAC.

Alexander’s endorsements run deep. He was backed recently by two former chairmen of the American Conservative Union — Al Cardenas and David Keene. Keene is also a former president of the National Rifle Association.  Additionally, Alexander has been supported by many Republican leaders in the state, such as Gov. Bill Haslam and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson.

In his criticism of Alexander, Carr has done his best to tie the incumbent to the policies of the Obama administration, such as Obamacare and immigration reform.

Much of Carr’s attack on his opponent’s Conservative credentials focused on Alexander’s support of what all seven Republican members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation called “amnesty.”

Alexander has defended his vote for the legislation, arguing that voting against the bill was really a vote for amnesty.

Meanwhile, although campaigning for a third term, Alexander has paid little attention to Carr, other than one mailer sent out in Middle Tennessee — Carr’s own turf — criticizing the state-level politician over a vote for Common Core in relation to the state applying for “Race to the Top” funds.

Carr has said that he was not proud of having made that vote, and in a interview with The Murfreesboro Post last year characterized it as “a choice between a really bad vote and a really bad vote.”

And, although Alexander has been a recent vocal critic of the Obama Administration’s handling of the immigration crisis, according to The Washington Post, Alexander said that he hasn’t heard much talk about immigration from his constituency.

“We have a chance to have a Republican majority in the United State Senate. I’d like to be a part of that majority, send a message to President Obama, fix the debt, fix our borders, return education decisions back to the states and replace Obamacare,” Alexander said to reporters Wednesday, at a campaign event in Chattanooga with Haslam and Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.

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Press Releases

Immigration Reform Called for by 16 TN Higher Ed Leaders

Press release from Partnership for a New American Economy; September 19, 2013:

Nashville, TN – Yesterday, sixteen college and university leaders in Tennessee sent a joint letter to the Tennessee U.S. House delegation calling for immigration reform to be passed this year.

These leaders in education understand immigration reform is an economic imperative, writing “Our educational institutions succeed when all of Tennessee’s industries succeed, and research shows that passing immigration reform will benefit all sectors of the state’s economy – especially our agricultural and housing sectors.”

The letter was signed by:

  • Robert C. Fisher, President, Belmont University
  • John Smarrelli, Jr., President, Christian Brothers University
  • Harvill C. Eaton, President, Cumberland University
  • Brian Noland, President, East Tennessee State University
  • Gregory D. Jordan, President, King College
  • Gary E. Weedman, President, Johnson University
  • B. James Dawson, President, Lincoln Memorial University
  • Randy Lowry, President, Lipscomb University
  • Kenneth L. Schwab, President, Middle Tennessee School for Anesthesia
  • Bill Greer, President, Milligan College
  • Gordon Bietz, President, Southern Adventist University
  • Richard W. Phillips, President, Southern College of Optometry
  • John Morgan, Chancellor, Tennessee Board of Regents
  • Philip B. Oldham, President, Tennessee Tech University
  • Nancy B. Moody, President, Tusculum College
  • Jimmy G. Cheek, Chancellor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The letter cites several reasons for the need to pass immigration reform legislation this year, including:

  • The prevalence of foreign-born students graduating with Master’s or PhDs in STEM fields
  • The high demand for STEM graduates by businesses
  • The potential impact to the economy from passage of the DREAM Act
  • The need of the agricultural industry for more low-skill visas

The letter also cites broad support for immigration reform in Tennessee, stating “Tennesseans know we should not wait to fix our immigration system. Recent polls show that 63 percent of Tennessee voters support the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, with 91 percent believing it is important we fix our immigration system this year.”

A copy of the full letter is included with this release.

ABOUT PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW AMERICAN ECONOMY: The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. The Partnership’s members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing. Partnership members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations. Learn more at www.RenewOurEconomy.org.

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University Leader Letter:

September 18, 2013

The Honorable Diane Black 1531 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Marsha Blackburn 217 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Steve Cohen 2404 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Jim Cooper 1536 Longworth HOB Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Scott Desjarlais 413 Cannon HOB Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable John J. Duncan, Jr. 2207 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Stephen Fincher 1118 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Chuck Fleischmann 230 Cannon HOB Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Phil Roe 407 Cannon House Office Bldg Washington, DC 20515

Dear Tennessee Delegation:

As leaders of Tennessee’s colleges and universities, we are writing to encourage you to address a critical threat to America’s preeminence as the center of innovation and prosperity: our inability under current United States immigration policy to help Tennessee retain and capitalize on many of the talented individuals we are educating on our campuses.

Foreign-born students help create jobs for Tennessee and often provide the technological innovations that help drive economic growth. Many will serve as the next generation of entrepreneurs, scientists, and leaders in our state.

A recent study by the Partnership for a New American Economy and the American Enterprise Institute found that for every 100 foreign-born graduates from a U.S. Master’s or PhD program who stay in America working in a STEM field, 262 additional jobs are created for American workers.

In Tennessee, that can translate into a significant new growth — since our share of foreign-born advance STEM degree holders working in STEM fields grew by 85 percent between 2000 and 2010.

Yet, in 2009, 37 percent of the students earning Master’s or PhDs in STEM fields from Tennessee’s research universities were temporary residents, a group with no clear path to stay in America after graduation. And more than half of all students earning engineering PhDs in recent years have been non-citizens. We need reform to keep these graduates.

Studies also show immigrants are twice as likely to start new companies to support our communities and to create new jobs. Immigrant-owned businesses in Tennessee already generate about $851 million in income for the state each year.

But many of our future students came to this country as children and have been unable to take advantage of an American education and contribute to our economy because of their status. A recent study found that incentivizing these children to pursue a college education by passing the DREAM Act would add 1.4 million jobs and generate $329 billion in economic activity over the next 20 years.

Our educational institutions succeed when all of Tennessee’s industries succeed, and research shows that passing immigration reform will benefit all sectors of the state’s economy – especially our agricultural and housing sectors.

But our current immigration system creates real obstacles to growth. Low limits on high-skilled visas leave immigrants with no way to stay after earning a diploma, or they face untenable delays waiting for a permanent visa. At the same time, low limits on low-skilled visas leave farmers struggling to find the workers they need to produce and grow.

Meanwhile, too many people are living in the shadows unable to join our workforce, gain an education, and contribute to the economy they live in, while we face real worker shortages and slow economic growth.

Creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants will have a positive effect for Tennessee’s economy. According to a study by Regional Economic Models, Inc., for every person who enrolls, an estimated $6,916 will be added to our Gross State Product by 2020.

Tennesseans know we should not wait to fix our immigration system. Recent polls show that 63 percent of Tennessee voters support the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, with 91 percent believing it is important we fix our immigration system this year.

We call on you to work together to develop a comprehensive, bipartisan solution on immigration reform. From education to agriculture — to housing to business – Tennessee’s economy needs your support on this important issue at this critical time.

Thank you for your consideration and for your continued leadership.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Fisher President Belmont University

John Smarrelli, Jr. President Christian Brothers University

Harvill C. Eaton President Cumberland University

Brian Noland President East Tennessee State University

Gregory D. Jordan President King College

Gary E. Weedman President Johnson University

B. James Dawson President Lincoln Memorial University

Randy Lowry President Lipscomb University

Kenneth L. Schwab President Middle Tennessee School for Anesthesia

Bill Greer President Milligan College

Gordon Bietz President Southern Adventist University

Richard W. Phillips President Southern College of Optometry

John Morgan Chancellor Tennessee Board of Regents

Philip B. Oldham President Tennessee Tech University

Nancy B. Moody President Tusculum College

Jimmy G. Cheek Chancellor University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Press Releases

TN Chamber Prez Lauds New Report on Positive Impact of Immigration Reform

Press release from the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce; September 12, 2013:

Nashville, TN –Catherine Glover, President of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, reacted to a new report released today by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and Partnership for a New American Economy that shows immigration helps to create and preserve manufacturing jobs, and to increase housing wealth.

“This is just one more study that illustrates the positive impact that substantive immigration reform will have on our economy,” said Catherine. “The national manufacturing industry has struggled to keep jobs in the U.S., and our state’s manufacturers are no different. Reforming our broken immigration system will allow us to revitalize more Tennessee communities that rely on manufacturing jobs.”

The data shows that immigrants play a significant role in the preservation or creation of U.S. jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector. For every 1,000 immigrants living in a county, 46 manufacturing jobs are created or preserved that would otherwise not exist or have moved elsewhere.

Glover added, “Builders and contractors across the state understand the positive impact immigration reform can have on their business capacity, but the average American citizen stands to benefit from reform, too, because immigrants actually help boost housing wealth.”

Immigrants inject new life into cities and rural areas, making once declining areas more attractive to the U.S.-born population. For every 1,000 immigrants that arrive to a county, 270 U.S.-born residents move there in response. At the same time, the average immigrant who moves to a community raises the total value of housing wealth in his or her county by $92,800.

“This report is one of many that shows the positive economic impact of immigration reform is well worth our elected officials’ time, energy, and careful consideration.”

The data for this report was provided in the U.S. Census and American Community Survey, and was compiled by Professor Jacob Vigdor of Duke University.

More Findings:

  • The more than 40 million immigrants currently in the U.S. have created or preserved 1.8 million manufacturing jobs nationally.
  • Attracting 100,000 new immigrants per year would preserve 4,600 American manufacturing jobs and grow U.S. housing wealth by $80 billion annually.
  • The more than 40 million immigrants are responsible for an estimated $3.7 trillion boost to home equity.

About Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) unite opinion leaders to exchange ideas and create solutions to the challenges of the Americas today. Americas Society (AS), the recipient of a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to produce this research, was established by David Rockefeller in 1965 and is the premier forum dedicated to education, debate and dialogue in the Americas. Council of the Americas (COA), affiliate organization to AS, is the premier international business organization whose members share a common commitment to economic and social development, open markets, the rule of law, and democracy throughout the Western Hemisphere. Recognizing the link between U.S. immigration and overall hemispheric relations, AS/COA launched its Integration and Immigration Initiative in 2007 to draw on its public–private convening power in order to bring together key constituencies in new gateway cities and to produce research on the link between changing demographics and economic competitiveness. Visit us at www.as-coa.org.

About Partnership for a New American Economy

The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. The Partnership’s members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing. Partnership members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations. Learn more at www.RenewOurEconomy.org.

This research was made possible with partial support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The opinions and views of the authors do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Fund.

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Press Releases

TN Hospitality Association Supports Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill

Letter from the Tennessee Hospitality Association; June 18, 2013:

A bipartisan effort is going on in Washington to try and address the pressing problem of immigration. A group of four Democrats and four Republicans in the US Senate, collectively known as the “Gang of Eight,” have authored a bill to modernize our immigration laws.

In an effort to let our elected representatives in Washington know just how important the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act is to our economic viability, Tennessee is holding a virtual march on Washington this Thursday, June 20.

Please go to www.MarchforInnovation.com for more information. While you’re there, send a message of support this Thursday to our Senators via Facebook or Twitter. The time to pass this bipartisan legislation has never been better and we need to let Senators Alexander and Corker hear from us during this week’s #iMarch #TN.

The hospitality industry is Tennessee’s second-largest private-sector employer, with an extremely diverse workforce at all levels, comprised of approximately 180,000 employees-with a direct tourist spending impact of $14.1 billion dollars in Tennessee.

Our industry created over $5.2 billion dollars in worker income and paychecks and the industry collects over $1.12 billion dollars in state and local taxes.

We are glad to see our priorities being addressed in the bipartisan “Gang of Eight’s” proposal, which has the right framework to tackle our three key priorities:

  • 1) Improved border security to help prevent illegal border crossings, while encouraging legitimate travel and tourism to the United States to boost U.S. jobs.
  • 2) At its core, immigration reform must include permanent legalization, which would offer undocumented immigrants a pathway to permanent legal work status.
  • 3) A national employment verification system that would provide employers with certainty in regard to their legal obligations, while preempting a patchwork of state and local laws.

These serious issues have been neglected by Congress for too long, and both the well-being of our employees and the continued recovery of our industries depend on immediate action.

I’m marching today through www.MarchforInnovation.com because I want comprehensive immigration reform legislation passed this year. And I’m not alone.

Last week, the Partnership for a New American Economy released a poll showing that 91% of Tennesseans believe it is important that it pass this year.

If you’re one of the 91% who believe it is time to fix our broken immigration system, please join me in #iMarch #TN this Thursday.

Sincerely,

Greg Adkins
Chief Executive Officer
Tennessee Hospitality Association