Categories
Press Releases

Weaver Pushes Dems Back For Criticizing TDOT Bill

Press Release from Rep. Terry Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster; April 1, 2010:

Rebukes TNDP For Lies

(April 1, 2010, NASHVILLE) – Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) struck back at the Tennessee Democratic Party today after they made false allegations about a bill she is currently sponsoring in the Tennessee General Assembly. House Bill 3627 would encourage the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to take into account quality of life and economic impact when prioritizing road projects. The TNDP falsely accused Weaver of jeopardizing federal funding by requiring the General Assembly to approve road projects.

“It is clear to me that the Tennessee Democratic Party has no interest in the truth,” said Representative Weaver. “This legislation would simply encourage TDOT to consider certain important factors when prioritizing road projects. There is no price tag on the bill, and the Tennessee Democratic Party would have realized this if they had actually read it,” she continued.

Representative Weaver’s bill specifically encourages TDOT to prioritize projects with the following objectives in mind:

* Ensuring the continued viability of and improving the quality of life in rural communities affected by any projects;

* Promoting economic development and tourism in affected communities;

* Improving public safety;

* Improving the efficiency of transportation routes and

* Coordinating the traffic flow between local communities to maximize opportunities for all of the state.

“While the Tennessee Democratic Party plays deceitful politics, I have been working tirelessly with TDOT and the constituents in my community to make District 40 an even better place to live, work and raise a family,” said Representative Weaver. “It is disappointing that they are taking cheap political shots, but it will not deter my work for the people of Macon, Smith, and DeKalb Counties,” she concluded.

Categories
Press Releases

Haslam Announces Small Business Initiative: Small Business Works

Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor, March 17, 2010:

Identifies Small Businesses as the Driving Force for Tennessee’s Economy

JACKSON – Republican gubernatorial candidate Mayor Bill Haslam announced during a Jobs Tour meeting today with local small business owners a plan to focus on small business growth as a key component of his effort to make Tennessee the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs.

As governor, Haslam will launch Small Business Works, an initiative to promote entrepreneurship and job growth by working with small business owners to create the best possible environment for starting or growing a business while enhancing the state’s efforts to provide useful, timely information and guidance to anyone seeking to start a business in Tennessee.

“I will have no higher priority as your governor than fostering the creation of high quality jobs in our state,” Haslam said. “The reality is two-thirds of the new jobs in this country are created by small businesses. If we want our state to be a leader in job creation, we need to embrace and cultivate small business ownership.

“From the beginning of this campaign, we’ve been meeting with small business owners, hearing their concerns, and discussing what the state could be doing better to help small businesses create jobs. As governor, listening to and addressing the needs of small business will be a key part of our economic development efforts.”

Mayor Haslam is spending Week Two of his three-week, statewide Jobs Tour in West Tennessee, and today is being spent in Jackson, Trenton, Humboldt, and Bells leading small business roundtables, touring local businesses, and meeting with economic development professionals.

“What I hear all the time, and especially on this Jobs Tour, is that government shouldn’t be a hindrance. It can’t over regulate and taxes must be kept low,” Haslam continued. “The state should make sure the necessary information and resources for starting a business are readily available, and it should provide high quality customer service to anyone who has questions or needs help with the process.”

The Small Business Works campaign will include a number of new initiatives and enhanced efforts to support small businesses, which will be rolled out over the coming weeks and months. The goal is to make sure there is no better place in the country to start or grow a business than Tennessee.

“There are many great reasons to do business in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “We have no state income tax, each region has unique assets on which we can build, and our beautiful landscape provides a high quality of life for Tennesseans. We’re also a right-to-work state, and our labor force is made up of honest, hard-working individuals,” Haslam continued. “But the fact of the matter is the next governor will have to be aggressive in the effort to create jobs. This will require a laser-like focus on the needs of small business.”

”The current administration has done a good job hitting home runs by bringing in large investments like Hemlock, Volkswagen, and Wacker,” Haslam continued. “But if we truly want to be a leader in job creation, we’ve got to focus on the singles, doubles, and triples that homegrown small businesses create for us as well.”

Bill Haslam is the two-term Mayor of Knoxville, re-elected in 2007 with 87% of the vote. A hardworking, conservative public servant, he led Knoxville to become one of the top ten metropolitan areas for business and expansion, while reducing the city’s debt, tripling the rainy day fund, and bringing property taxes to the lowest rate in 50 years. An executive leader with a proven record of success, he helped grow his family’s small business from 800 employees into one of Tennessee’s largest companies with 14,000 employees. His combination of executive and public service experience makes him uniquely qualified to be Tennessee’s next Governor. Bill is the right person at the right time to lead Tennessee.

Bill and Crissy Haslam have two daughters, Annie and Leigh, and a son, Will, who resides in Knoxville with his wife, Hannah.

For more information on Bill Haslam, please visit www.BillHaslam.com. To follow Mayor Haslam on his Jobs Tour and submit ideas for how to grow our state’s economy, please visit www.Jobs4TN.com.

Categories
Business and Economy Health Care Tax and Budget

Ramsey Impressed with Cover Tennessee

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, wants to expand Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen’s Cover Tennessee health care insurance program, he said this week.

Ramsey, a GOP primary candidate for governor, views the fledgling program as an example of the kind of health care reform needed — a policy that encourages personal responsibility, shares buy-in and, if managed properly, is sustainable over the long term.

“I think it’s a way we could actually solve the problem here in Tennessee,” Ramsey said of Cover Tennessee, which was launched in 2007 as a way to provide a reasonable amount of coverage for workers in small businesses, the self-employed and for people unable to find affordable coverage elsewhere.

“I know the governor had intentions of expanding it, but we have to face fiscal reality in Tennessee, too,” he added. “We can’t be like the federal government and print money. We have to actually pay for things.

“So I would like to see what’s working in that program and expand it, because small businesses are the ones that need health care insurance, and Cover Tennessee could at least be part of that solution,” he continued.

Cover Tennessee was created as a way to offer limited-benefits coverage to the working uninsured. It was never portrayed as a large-scale answer on health-care reform, thus its modest beginning.

The fundamental concept in the program is that the premiums are split three ways, with an employer covering one-third of the premium, the employee covering one-third and the state covering one-third. If an employer did not choose to participate, the employee could pay two thirds of the premium.

The program includes CoverTN for uninsured workers; CoverKids which is free comprehensive coverage for children; AccessTN for those who can’t find insurance due to pre-existing conditions; and CoverRx for providing affordable drug coverage.

CoverTN was forced to suspend new enrollment after Dec. 31, 2009 in order to keep the program manageable. CoverKids also suspended new enrollment late last year but has since reopened enrollment, beginning March 1. Budget factors were cited as the reason for the enrollment suspensions, which was seen as both regrettable for limiting the rolls but also a sign that the program is working and has had a good satisfaction record.

Ramsey said, on his watch, the program would not drift away as some sort of experiment by the Bredesen administration.

“That’s a model I like actually, to allow some minimum coverage to where people can at least have coverage and pay part of it.” he said. “That’s exactly the kind of program I think works as opposed to what the federal government is trying to do, which is to completely take over health care, one-sixth of our economy.”

Ramsey’s support for the program seems to be exceeded only by his disdain for the kind of health-care changes being discussed in Washington. In fact, he sounds downright angry about the direction the national health-care debate has taken.

“I tell you, it has come down to this: I don’t think Washington really cares what passes. They just want something to pass,” Ramsey said. “That’s been obvious to me over the last month or two. I guarantee you there’s hardly a congressman or senator who could tell you what’s in that bill, even the ones who are for it. I don’t think the president could tell you what’s in that bill.

“They will mold it. They will squeeze it. They will make it whatever they can just so they can have a photo-op and stand in front of some flags with senators and congressmen saying, ‘We passed health reform,’ even though it does not solve the problem. That’s what bothers me. That’s no way to enact public policy.”

Ramsey said he ultimately would prefer it if Washington allow states to work out health care problems on their own.

“I’d tell them to leave us alone and don’t force us to expand our Medicaid rolls, when they can operate on borrowed money and we can’t,” Ramsey said. “In Tennessee, in general, we’ve had to make some very tough decisions in the last few years, to remove 140,000 from the rolls.

“We’ve gotten from where it was 38 percent of the state budget and now 26 percent of the state budget, and I’d just tell them to flat-out leave us alone, let us work on this problem as states should, as laboratories, and don’t tell us how to fix it.”

He sees a program like Cover Tennessee as something that could grow.

“We’re working on some solutions a little bit at a time in Tennessee, with Cover Tennessee, that will allow small businesses to buy into it,” Ramsey said. “That’s a program that should be advertised a little more than it is right now, because I think most people don’t know about it.”

Ramsey does endorse a reform concept that’s often been discussed in Washington as a significant policy shift generally more acceptable to opponents of a public-option plan.

“If the federal government could do anything to help us, it would be to allow insurance companies to compete across state lines,” he said. “Right now you can buy your car insurance across state lines. You see what the Geicos of the world and the Nationwides of the world are doing, advertising those lower rates. Competition works.

“You can buy fire insurance across state lines. Why shouldn’t you be able to buy health insurance across state lines? I think competition in the free-market system would help drive down health insurance costs.”

Categories
News

Economists Talk, Haslam Listens

Bill Haslam went to school Wednesday, listening to analysis from economics professors at Middle Tennessee State University.

What he learned wasn’t cheerful. The economy — and the state budget — are in for some challenging times. There will be improvement, he was told, but better days are not likely to come quickly.

Haslam, mayor of Knoxville and Republican candidate for governor, met on the Murfreesboro campus with university President Sidney McPhee, economists and other community leaders.

Haslam began the meeting by saying he was there to learn. He asked questions, and he took notes.

He told the group that when running for governor you do three things. You raise money, you try to sell yourself to the voters, and the part that gets crowded out is learning.

Haslam did offer his own opinion about the economic picture, however. “The economy will come back,” he said. “There are more learned minds than mine here, but in my own view it’s going to be awhile before it comes back.”

Haslam heard a lot. Albert DePrince, professor of financial economics, forecast a 1 percent revenue growth for the next year, but he said he tends to forecast lower than others might because it’s easier to adjust to circumstances when figures are higher than expectations rather than lower. DePrince said he believed the economy will turn a corner or at least flatten out this spring.

“But there is a big headwind out there,” DePrince said.

McPhee said times have changed for a college president.

“Ten years ago, when I came to this job, if anyone had told me I need to understand the economics of our society, I would have said you’re looking at the wrong person,” McPhee said. “But we have moved from the president being an academic to managing a major operation, and what happens in the economy impacts what goes on on our campus.”

McPhee noted that in eight of his 10 years as president, MTSU has had budget cuts.

“If someone thinks there are places to cut fat, I promise you we’re at the marrow,” McPhee said.

William Ford, professor and holder of the Weatherford Chair of Finance at the school, urged Haslam if he becomes governor to look at universities’ success ratio in terms of per-pupil cost and outcome. He promoted strides at MTSU on that count.

“I’m not trying to talk you into going around beating up on the University of Tennessee, but we are saying in higher education look at the per-pupil cost for what’s coming out,” Ford said. “We turn out more well-qualified people than Tennessee State University and the University of Memphis and particularly some others. I honestly believe we are the most efficient.”

The group addressed the need to match what schools offer to the kind of training workers will need in a recovery. The conversation also touched on the housing market in the community.

After the meeting, Haslam was asked what he thought of the discussion.

“I think it’s a realistic appraisal of our economy and the challenges facing the state,” he said. “When I started running, I knew the state faced serious challenges, and the problems are deeper than any of us thought a year ago, in terms of both the state’s budget and the job challenge.”

There’s a need to be patient, he said.

“I do think the economy is going to come back, but I don’t think it’s going to come rushing back in terms that are going to save the state’s budget situation or make it easy to come back in the job market,” he said.

“When this job market comes back, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to be where all boats rise at the same time,” he added. “I think it’s going to be a much more differentiating economy, where those people who have better training or education are going to feel the economy come back first, and for others it will be a lot harder.”

As for Ford’s plug for MTSU’s efficiency compared to other schools, Haslam said, “Everywhere you go as a candidate for governor, everyone is proud of their institution, and they want to make certain their institution gets their share. I don’t know that that’s a bad thing.”

He was asked if he gets to do as much listening as he would like.

“No. As a candidate, you’d love to spend the majority of your time learning,” he said. “That’s the important thing that gets crowded out.”

Haslam, whose wife, Crissy, was with him throughout the day, spent much of the afternoon knocking on doors in a Rutherford County neighborhood. Several people who answered immediately said they recognized him from television. Sometimes residents told Haslam he had their votes. When a woman said she would “put you on my list” to be considered, he said, “Just remember who came and knocked on your door.”

Haslam had lunch Wednesday at the City Cafe in Murfreesboro, a popular spot for political candidates. Among the people he met as he made the rounds shaking hands was a Democrat, Bob Kolarich, a Nashville attorney with the firm Price, Hill, Kolarich.

“I was speaking with a fellow Democrat, and we were talking about which of the gubernatorial candidates we should contribute to,” Kolarich said after meeting Haslam. “My friend said, ‘Let’s face it. It’s going to be a Republican year, and the best man in the field is Mr. Haslam out of Knoxville. So give your money to him.'”

So Kolarich was asked if he will follow through.

“I haven’t decided yet,” he said.

Bill Haslam went to school Wednesday, listening to analysis from economics professors at Middle Tennessee State University.


What Haslam learned wasn’t cheerful. The economy — and the state budget — are in for some challenging times. There will be improvement, he was told, but better days are not likely to come quickly.


Haslam, mayor of Knoxville and Republican candidate for governor, met on the Murfreesboro campus with university President Sidney McPhee, economists and other community leaders.


Haslam began the meeting by saying he was there to learn. He asked questions, and he took notes.

He told the group that when running for governor you do three things. You raise money, you try to sell yourself to the voters, and the part that gets crowded out is learning.


Haslam did offer his own opinion about the economic picture, however. “The economy will come back,” he said. “There are more learned minds than mine here, but in my own view it’s going to be awhile before it comes back.”


Haslam heard a lot. Albert DePrince, professor of financial economics, forecast a 1 percent revenue growth for the next year, but he said he tends to forecast lower than others might because it’s easier to adjust to circumstances when figures are higher than expectations rather than lower. DePrince said he believed the economy will turn a corner this spring or at least flatten out this spring.


“But there is a big headwind out there,” DePrince said.


McPhee said times have changed for a college president.


“Ten years ago, when I came to this job, if anyone had told me I need to understand the economics of our society, I would have said you’re looking at the wrong person,” McPhee said. “But we have moved from the president being an academic to managing a major operation, and what happens in the economy impacts what goes on on our campus.”


McPhee noted that in eight of his 10 years as president, MTSU has had budget cuts.


“If someone thinks there are places to cut fat, I promise you we’re at the marrow,” McPhee said.


William Ford, professor and holder of the Weatherford Chair of Finance at the school, urged Haslam if he becomes governor to look at universities’ success ratio in terms of per-pupil cost and outcome. He promoted strides at MTSU on that count.


“I’m not trying to talk you into going around beating up on the University of Tennessee, but we are saying in higher education look at the per-pupil cost for what’s coming out,” Ford said. “We turn out more well-qualified people than Tennessee State University and the University of Memphis and particularly some others. I honestly believe we are the most efficient.”


The group addressed the need to match what schools offer to the kind of training workers will need in a recovery. The conversation also covered the housing market in the community, and Steve Flatt, president of National Healthcare Corporation, which operates nursing homes, told Haslam 55 percent of the 4,000 patients his company cares for are covered by TennCare, the state’s troubled Medicaid program, so it’s increasingly difficult.


After the meeting, Haslam was asked what he thought of the discussion.


“I think it’s a realistic appraisal of our economy and the challenges facing the state,” he said. “When I started running, I knew the state faced serious challenges, and the problems are deeper than any of us thought a year ago, in terms of both the state’s budget and the job challenge.”


He voiced a need to be patient.


“I do think the economy is going to come back, but I don’t think it’s going to come rushing back in terms that are going to save the state’s budget situation or make it easy to come back in the job market,” he said. “When this job market comes back, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to be where all boats rise at the same time. I think it’s going to be a much more differentiating economy, where those people who have better training or education are going to feel the economy come back first, and for others it will be a lot harder.”


As for Ford’s plug for MTSU’s efficiency compared to other schools, Haslam said, “Everywhere you go as a candidate for governor, everyone is proud of their institution, and they want to make certain their institution gets their share. I don’t know that that’s a bad thing.”


He was asked if he gets to do as much listening as he would like.


“No. As a candidate, you’d love to spend the majority of your time learning,” he said. “That’s the important thing that gets crowded out.”

Haslam, whose wife Crissy was with him throughout the day, spent much of the afternoon knocking on doors in a Rutherford County neighborhood. Several people who answered immediately said they recognized him from television. Sometimes residents told Haslam he had their votes. When a woman said she would “put you on my list” to be considered, he said, “Just remember who came and knocked on your door.”


Haslam had lunch Wednesday at the City Cafe in Murfreesboro, a popular spot for political candidates. Among the people he met as he made the rounds shaking hands was a Democrat, Bob Kolarich, a Nashville attorney with the firm Price, Hill, Kolarich.


“I was speaking with a fellow Democrat, and we were talking about which of the gubernatorial candidates we should contribute to,” Kolarich said after meeting Haslam. “My friend said, ‘Let’s face it. It’s going to be a Republican year, and the best man in the field is Mr. Haslam out of Knoxville. So give your money to him.'”


So Kolarich was asked if he will follow through.


“I haven’t decided yet,” he said.

Bill Haslam went to school Wednesday, listening to analysis from economics professors at Middle Tennessee State University.

What Haslam learned wasn’t cheerful. The economy — and the state budget — are in for some challenging times. There will be improvement, he was told, but better days are not likely to come quickly.

Haslam, mayor of Knoxville and Republican candidate for governor, met on the Murfreesboro campus with university President Sidney McPhee, economists and other community leaders.

Haslam began the meeting by saying he was there to learn. He asked questions, and he took notes.

He told the group that when running for governor you do three things. You raise money, you try to sell yourself to the voters, and the part that gets crowded out is learning.

Haslam did offer his own opinion about the economic picture, however. “The economy will come back,” he said. “There are more learned minds than mine here, but in my own view it’s going to be awhile before it comes back.”

Haslam heard a lot. Albert DePrince, professor of financial economics, forecast a 1 percent revenue growth for the next year, but he said he tends to forecast lower than others might because it’s easier to adjust to circumstances when figures are higher than expectations rather than lower. DePrince said he believed the economy will turn a corner this spring or at least flatten out this spring.

“But there is a big headwind out there,” DePrince said.

McPhee said times have changed for a college president.

“Ten years ago, when I came to this job, if anyone had told me I need to understand the economics of our society, I would have said you’re looking at the wrong person,” McPhee said. “But we have moved from the president being an academic to managing a major operation, and what happens in the economy impacts what goes on on our campus.”

McPhee noted that in eight of his 10 years as president, MTSU has had budget cuts.

“If someone thinks there are places to cut fat, I promise you we’re at the marrow,” McPhee said.

William Ford, professor and holder of the Weatherford Chair of Finance at the school, urged Haslam if he becomes governor to look at universities’ success ratio in terms of per-pupil cost and outcome. He promoted strides at MTSU on that count.

“I’m not trying to talk you into going around beating up on the University of Tennessee, but we are saying in higher education look at the per-pupil cost for what’s coming out,” Ford said. “We turn out more well-qualified people than Tennessee State University and the University of Memphis and particularly some others. I honestly believe we are the most efficient.”

The group addressed the need to match what schools offer to the kind of training workers will need in a recovery. The conversation also covered the housing market in the community, and Steve Flatt, president of National Healthcare Corporation, which operates nursing homes, told Haslam 55 percent of the 4,000 patients his company cares for are covered by TennCare, the state’s troubled Medicaid program, so it’s increasingly difficult.

After the meeting, Haslam was asked what he thought of the discussion.

“I think it’s a realistic appraisal of our economy and the challenges facing the state,” he said. “When I started running, I knew the state faced serious challenges, and the problems are deeper than any of us thought a year ago, in terms of both the state’s budget and the job challenge.”

He voiced a need to be patient.

“I do think the economy is going to come back, but I don’t think it’s going to come rushing back in terms that are going to save the state’s budget situation or make it easy to come back in the job market,” he said. “When this job market comes back, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to be where all boats rise at the same time. I think it’s going to be a much more differentiating economy, where those people who have better training or education are going to feel the economy come back first, and for others it will be a lot harder.”

As for Ford’s plug for MTSU’s efficiency compared to other schools, Haslam said, “Everywhere you go as a candidate for governor, everyone is proud of their institution, and they want to make certain their institution gets their share. I don’t know that that’s a bad thing.”

He was asked if he gets to do as much listening as he would like.

“No. As a candidate, you’d love to spend the majority of your time learning,” he said. “That’s the important thing that gets crowded out.”

Haslam, whose wife Crissy was with him throughout the day, spent much of the afternoon knocking on doors in a Rutherford County neighborhood. Several people who answered immediately said they recognized him from television. Sometimes residents told Haslam he had their votes. When a woman said she would “put you on my list” to be considered, he said, “Just remember who came and knocked on your door.”

Haslam had lunch Wednesday at the City Cafe in Murfreesboro, a popular spot for political candidates. Among the people he met as he made the rounds shaking hands was a Democrat, Bob Kolarich, a Nashville attorney with the firm Price, Hill, Kolarich.

“I was speaking with a fellow Democrat, and we were talking about which of the gubernatorial candidates we should contribute to,” Kolarich said after meeting Haslam. “My friend said, ‘Let’s face it. It’s going to be a Republican year, and the best man in the field is Mr. Haslam out of Knoxville. So give your money to him.'”

So Kolarich was asked if he will follow through.

“I haven’t decided yet,” he said.

Categories
Press Releases

Gibbons Campaign Outlines Priorities for Fighting Crime

Press release from Bill Gibbons, GOP candidate for Tennessee governor, Jan. 20, 2010:

With the Tennessee General Assembly now in session, Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons today released his plan to cut crime in Tennessee by outlining what he hopes to accomplish his first year in office as governor.

“Tennessee ranks third in the nation in violent crime. This is unacceptable. Tennesseans deserve to feel safe in their homes and on their streets, and they should not have to live in fear in their own neighborhoods. Creating safer communities is a top priority for me, which is why I’m ready to lay out specific plans for combating crime in our state my very first year in office,” Gibbons said.

Gibbons has eight steps he plans to take his first year in office as governor:

1. Toughen sentencing laws for violent gun crime

Under Tennessee law, someone can be convicted of robbery with a gun and only serve a small portion of his sentence before being paroled. This system is creating a revolving door of criminal activity, with repeat offenders viewing the punishment simply as “the price of doing business.” “Specifically, I will propose abolishing parole for robbery with a gun, enhancing sentences for gang-related violent crimes (defined as violent crimes committed by three or more), and expanding of the current crooks with guns law to provide enhanced sentences for additional types of crimes committed with guns not currently covered,” he said.

2. Toughen sentences for burglars

“In Tennessee, someone can be convicted of burglary and basically get a slap on the wrist – diversion if it’s his first offense, probation if it’s his second offense, and less than a year in jail if it’s the third offense. I will propose an end to diversion for conviction of burglary and an end to the current presumption that a defendant is entitled to probation and tie the availability of probation more to a willingness to undergo effective drug treatment for those with drug addiction problems.”

3. Increase funding for drug treatment courts

“Crime is closely tied to drugs. I support reaching out to non-violent drug offenders and getting them the help they need to combat their drug addictions. More of our state dollars spent on drug treatment should be earmarked for effective drug treatment court programs.”

4. Attack juvenile crime by combating truancy

Far too often, skipping school leads to juvenile crime. As Shelby County District Attorney General, Gibbons has held parents accountable for their kids’ truancy and has worked to implement what is becoming a model program to match truants with volunteer mentors. “As governor, I want to expand this effort and tap into the volunteer spirit of the Volunteer State by recruiting thousands of citizens to serve as mentors for kids who are skipping school,”

5. Enact Stronger laws on methamphetamine

“Our meth home-cookers and their pill shoppers have learned to avoid purchasing certain amounts of a primary meth ingredient at any one time. I want to strengthen state law so that having more than nine grams of such a product becomes a presumption of intent to manufacture meth for purposes of prosecution. I also want to enact legislation to make it a felony to endanger a child through the manufacture of meth. Tennessee has no law addressing this problem, yet we know through recent reports that home-cookers often do so in the presence of a child.”

6. Restore professionalism to the Tennessee Highway Patrol

“Our Highway Patrol should not be a political football. The citizens and our state troopers deserve better. As governor, I will recruit a true professional to lead our Highway Patrol, someone who will give it the status it deserves as our state’s top law enforcement agency. The Highway Patrol already has a role in the interdiction of drugs, but we need to make better use of this agency and give it a more prominent role on the front line of the fight against drugs. Interstate 40 must be a top priority, as it is one of the leading drug trafficking corridors in the United States.”

7. Toughen sentencing for repeat domestic violence offenders

“Under our current state law, unless a deadly weapon is used, no matter how many times an offender commits a domestically-related assault, it’s a misdemeanor. We must change that to make repeat offenses a felony. This change is badly needed in order to break the cycle of domestic violence we see far too often.”

8. Provide Additional prosecutors

“Many D.A.’s offices across the state are handling huge caseloads with limited personnel. It is not unusual for state prosecutors to face a thousand new cases each year. We must give D.A.’s offices across the state the help they need so that cases can in turn, be given the attention they deserve.”

Bill Gibbons, a Republican, is the Shelby County District Attorney General, serving as the top state law enforcement official in Tennessee’s largest jurisdiction. He entered the governor’s race on January 4, 2009. For more information on Bill Gibbons, visit his campaign website at www.Gibbons2010.com.

Categories
News

Gibbons Pushing Open Gov’t Agenda

Forcing public officials to release their personal financial records may be an intrusion of privacy, but it’s necessary if voters are to get an accurate picture of their backgrounds and business interests, said GOP candidate for governor Bill Gibbons.

Currently the district attorney for Shelby County, Gibbons wants to mandate that people in public office make more of their financial dealings open to citizen review. He said he plans to publish his own federal income tax returns for 2009 soon.

“When you think about it, there’s no more reliable, trustworthy way for the public to know whether or not we have any conflicts of interest, and the scope of those conflicts, as a result of our income and investments,” Gibbons said.

During a press conference in downtown Nashville Thursday afternoon, Gibbons continued to hammer on cross-state political rival Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, also a GOP gubernatorial candidate, for not being more forthright in releasing financial information, particularly the financial stake he has in the Haslam family-owned Pilot Corp. fuel company and chain of Pilot Travel Centers. (See video below.)

Gibbons released five years worth of federal income tax returns last fall after a request for financial data from Tennessee’s largest newspapers.

Gibbons and his wife, a federal judge, reportedly earned just above $300,000 for the past three years, mostly from their government jobs, and have paid about $62,000 a year in federal income taxes.

The Memphis Republican said he’ll push several other open government initiatives if elected governor, such as requiring public officials to disclose how much money they’ve received from financial interests along with how much they have in various investments. The law currently only requires lawmakers to disclose the sources of those dollars.

Gibbons promised also to:

  • hold public budget meetings with state agencies when discussing budget requests
  • change the formula used when governments charge for public documents
  • reestablish as many as six regional governor’s field offices throughout the state
  • pin down lawmakers on each significant vote they take in the General Assembly including procedural action and committee votes.

The general primary election is Aug. 5. Gibbons is one of several GOP hopefuls, including Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp and Haslam.