Press Releases

Ramsey Names Woodson Co-Chair Of Lottery Stabilization Task Force

Press Release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, March 30, 2010:

(Nashville) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) today named Speaker Pro Tempore Jamie Woodson (R-Knoxville) Co-Chairman of the recently announced Lottery Stabilization Task Force. The task force will make recommendations to keep the scholarship program viable over time. Its initial focus will be to limit the use of lottery reserves and ensure the scholarships are there for students who earn them.

“Speaker Pro Tem Woodson has devoted her legislative career to improving the quality of education and access to education in Tennessee,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey (R-Blountville). “Her work on lottery scholarships, BEP 2.0 and the Race to the Top reforms make her the perfect Co-Chairman for the Lottery Stabilization Task Force.”

The Hope Scholarship is funded through lottery revenues and helps thousands of kids pay for college. Demand for scholarships has increased in recent years while lottery revenues have not kept pace. The state is using reserves to fill the hole now, which is expected to be more than $100 million in three years. The stabilization task force will look for ways to keep the program strong.

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Transparency and Elections

Ramsey’s Running, Officially

In his youth, Ron Ramsey never figured he would even be involved in politics, let alone turn in official papers to run for governor.

But that’s what the lieutenant governor of Tennessee did Monday, going through the formalities at the state Division of Elections on the 9th floor of the William R. Snodgrass Tower on Capitol Hill, a formality that will put Ramsey on the ballot for the Aug. 5 Republican gubernatorial primary.

After filing his paperwork, he walked back across the street with his wife, his mother and one of his three daughters to Legislative Plaza. Minutes later he addressed a boisterous crowd of supporters in the Old Supreme Court Chambers of the Capitol. He was officially running.

Many aspiring politicians can remember being fascinated with politics from a young age, dreaming of getting involved, maybe working in local government, thinking of becoming a governor, a senator, maybe president of the United States.

Not Ramsey. Never gave it a thought.

“If you had told me, in my wildest dreams, I’d be doing something like this, I would have never thought about it,” Ramsey said as he made his way back across the street, a short walk to the Plaza but a long, long way from upper East Tennessee, his home turf.

He certainly had opinions in his youth. But it was only through paying a normal amount of attention to what was going on in the world, taking a trip as a businessman to Nashville and getting moments of inspiration from listening to prominent voices on the radio that Ramsey got on the path that finds him today a contender for governor.

“I remember watching the Reagan elections in 1980 and 1984, but I was never involved in local politics at all,” he said. “I never ran for any office before I ran for state representative.”

In a story that sounds a lot like one of those that country music performers tell about listening to the Grand Ole Opry, Ramsey had memories of his own with radio, but in very different terms.

“I remember sitting in a barn grading tobacco and listening to Paul Harvey, who was about as conservative as you could find on the radio back then, pre-Rush Limbaugh,” Ramsey said. “And I said, ‘This guy sounds just like I do,’ so I knew I was conservative, both fiscally and socially.”

Sometime later, “I was driving through an Arby’s restaurant in Johnson City and heard Rush Limbaugh for the first time, and I said, ‘This guy thinks just like I do,” and so I realized there were other conservatives out there,” Ramsey said.

“Most of the media back then leaned toward the liberal side, pre-Fox, pre-talk radio and all that. So I realized there were people in the media who thought like I did.”

He had been on a different track.

“I would have never even thought about getting involved in politics,” he said. “I got involved accidentally.

“I became president of the Bristol Association of Realtors, and I came down here for a Realtors day on the Hill and liked it. The next thing I knew I was running for office.”

He was 36 years old.

He had graduated from Sullivan Central High School in 1973 and East Tennessee State University in 1978. He got a surveyor’s license in 1981 and began his own business. He started a real estate and auction business in 1986. By 1990, he put his business interests together to form Ron Ramsey and Associates.

He was elected to the 1st District from Sullivan County and served two terms in the House. In 1996, he won a state Senate seat from the 2nd District, representing Johnson and Sullivan counties. He later became majority leader and Republican caucus chair.

In 2007, in one of the most dramatic moments ever for the Senate, Democratic Sen. Rosalind Kurita cast a decisive vote for the Republican, Ramsey, to be speaker of the Senate. It put him on a leadership path that today has him one of three serious contenders for the Republican nomination.

Actually, being considered a contender is saying something. Ramsey said he learned Monday that several dozen people will be running for governor this year. In Tennessee, 25 signatures statewide will get you on the ballot. The formalities on Monday, however, followed many months of campaigning in what has become a marathon undertaking in the modern world of politics.

After filing his papers, Ramsey and his entourage made it back to the Plaza and on to a receptive audience in the Old Supreme Court Chambers. He was greeted with thunderous applause. It was a long trek from that barn and Paul Harvey.

And he told the crowd, “I just want to let you know that about 15 minutes ago, across the street at the Tennessee Tower, I filed my petition.

“I am officially a candidate for governor.”

Press Releases

Lt. Gov. Ramsey Moves Veterans Medal of Honor Through Senate Committee

Press Release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, March 17, 2010:

(Nashville) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) today passed legislation through the Senate Government Operation Committee which would create the Veterans’ Honor Medal program to recognize and honor Tennessee veterans. The bill would honor both active duty, National Guard and reserve component veterans based on criteria established by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Tennesseans have a long volunteer tradition of service in time of war,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “We should recognize their sacrifice and celebrate military men and women of every branch.”

Lt. Governor Ramsey’s bill, Senate Bill 2488, directs the commissioner of veterans’ affairs to establish a veterans’ honor medal program. Veterans’ Affairs will commission the design of a medal for the program, to which gold or silver stars will be added to indicate that an armed forces member was killed or wounded in action.

Veterans as well as the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House will serve in an advisory role to the Commissioner of Veterans’ Affairs in the implementation of the medal program.

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Press Releases

Ramsey Says Washington Health Care Summitt More Like A “Pageant”

Press Release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Feb. 24, 2010:

“Tomorrow’s health care meeting at the Blair House in Washington is more of a pageant than a summit. You’re going to see a bunch of Washington politicians trying to win the war of the sound bite and virtually no meaningful work on the issue of controlling health care costs. President Obama has refused to include even one Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or state Senate or House Speaker — despite the fact that he will force higher costs onto state governments if his health care takeover passes.

“If the President wants to put on a Washington talk show, he has the right crowd. But if he wants to hear the voice of the American people, he’s going to have to invite some people from the real world.”