Press Releases

Carr Campaign Touts Five More Endorsements from State Legislators

Press release from the campaign for Joe Carr for U.S. Senate; July 2, 2014:

NASHVILLE, TN – The Joe Carr for Senate campaign today announced the endorsements of Tennessee State Senators Jim Summerville (R-Dickson) and Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) and State Representatives Richard Floyd (R-Chattanooga), David Alexander (R-Winchester), and Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown).

“Lamar Alexander has chosen to support an amnesty agenda driven by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and LaRaza at the expense of Tennessee’s working families,” stated Rep. David Alexander on behalf of the group of Legislators. “Look at the growing crisis on our southern border today, and we know exactly where that agenda has gotten us. We need a strong conservative like Joe Carr to go to Washington to do what he has done in the Tennessee State House – fight to enforce the rule of law.”

“I have always believed that this is a campaign that will be won or lost at the grassroots level and to have this kind of support from so many of my colleagues in the State Legislature tells me that something special is happening on the ground here in Tennessee,” said Carr. “Lamar Alexander thinks he can hide from his record, refuse to debate, and that somehow the people here in Tennessee won’t hold him accountable for choosing 11 million illegal immigrants over them – he’s setting himself up for a Dave Brat-like surprise.”

  • Senator Summerville represents the 25th Senatorial District covering Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Humphreys and Robertson Counties.
  • Senator Campfield represents the 7th Senatorial District covering part of Knox County.
  • Representative Floyd represents the 27th House District covering part of Hamilton County.
  • Representative Alexander represents the 39th House District covering Franklin, Moore and Marion Counties.
  • Representative Keisling represents the 38th House District covering Clay County and part of Fentress, Macon, Pickett and Scott Counties.

They join a growing list of TN state legislators who are backing Carr’s bid for Senate. In recent weeks, the campaign has announced the endorsement of:

  1. Senator Hensley (R-Hohenwald)
  2. Senator Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains)
  3. Rep. Hill (R-Jonesborough)
  4. Rep. Holt (R-Dresden)
  5. Rep. Sanderson (R-Kenton)
  6. Rep. Shipley (R-Kingsport)
  7. Rep. Van Huss (R- Jonesborough)
  8. Rep. Wirgau (R-Buchanan), Butt (R-Columbia)
  9. Rep. Matheny (R-Tullahoma)
  10. Rep. Pody (R-Lebanon)
  11. Rep. Rogers (R-Goodlettsville)
  12. Rep. Sparks (R-Smyrna)
  13. Rep. Spivey (R-Lewisburg)
  14. Rep. Womick (R-Rockvale)
Press Releases

NFIB Picks Favorite Incumbents to Support In August Primary

Press Release from the National Federation of Independent Business, Tennessee Chapter; July 6, 2012: 

NFIB Endorses Candidates in 5 Senate, 20 House Primaries

NASHVILLE, July 6, 2012 – The National Federation of Independent Business, Tennessee’s leading small business association, today said it has endorsed candidates in 25 state legislative primary races. The endorsements were made by NFIB/Tennessee SAFE (Save America’s Free Enterprise) Trust, which is comprised exclusively of NFIB members. State primaries are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 2, with early voting beginning July 13 and ending July 28. NFIB expects to announce general election endorsements later this summer. The general election will be held Nov. 6.

“NFIB supports candidates who understand how important it is to reduce burdens on small business,” said Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee. “These candidates have consistently supported less taxation and have worked diligently to improve our unemployment and workers’ comp systems.”

Endorsements by Senate and House Districts (NFIB members bolded)

Senate District, Name

2, Doug Overbey

14, Jim Tracy

18, Ferrell Haile

28, Joey Hensley

32, Mark Norris

House District Name

2, Tony Shipley

5, David Hawk

6, Dale Ford

8, Art Swann

10, Don Miller

11, Jeremy Faison

12, Richard Montgomery

20, Bob Ramsey

22, Eric Watson

24, Kevin Brooks

27, Richard Floyd

31, Jim Cobb

45, Debra Maggart

48, Joe Carr

61, Charles Sargent

66, Joshua Evans

71, Vance Dennis

90, John DeBerry

96, Steve McManus

99, Ron Lollar

NFIB’s endorsement is critical to these campaigns. Small business owners and their employees vote in high numbers and are known for actively recruiting friends, family members and acquaintances to go to the polls. NFIB has pledged it will activate its grassroots network on behalf of these campaigns. NFIB’s political support is based on the candidates’ positions and records on small business issues.

Education Featured News

GOP Moderates Mull Collective Bargaining Compromise, Tea Party Pressure

About 20 “waffling” House Republicans are on a Tennessee Tea Party do-email list for refusing to take a strong public stand on one of this session’s dominating issues: teachers’ union collective bargaining.

The loose network of conservative activists sent out an “action alert” Monday morning encouraging Tennesseans sympathetic to their cause to pressure middle-of-the-road Republicans to get on board with conservative efforts to ban collective bargaining for public school teachers.

“We are instructed that we have 47 confirmed House members who want to see collective bargaining ended and will support the original version. We need 50 (+ 2-3) for a majority,” according to the Tennessee Tea Party email blast. “We also need to be aware that Senator Ron Ramsey will appoint the more conservative of the Senators to the conference and Representative Beth Harwell will likely appoint the weaker of their members. Rep Harwell is in lockstep with Governor Haslam, who has proved himself weak on a variety of issues confronting our state.”

The email encouraged recipients “to apply heavy pressure” to GOP lawmakers deemed soft on the collective bargaining ban, or who “have varying degrees of allegiance to the unions” and may be “tied to and closely related to the (Tennessee Education Association).”

Teacher collective bargaining has been a focal point of controversy this legislative session since Republicans introduced bills to revoke unions’ leverage to negotiate on behalf of their school district’s educators.

Despite the attention, several of the lawmakers on the Tea Party’s list say they’re still in no hurry to stake out a position. Another who spoke to TNReport Monday indicated that while he favors limiting the reach and scope of collective bargaining, he’s not supportive of prohibiting it.

“I generally don’t take a firm stand on a bill until it’s completed, especially if there’s a great chance it’s going to be amended,” said Rep. Vince Dean, an East Ridge Republican, who added that the legislation still has a long way to go before becoming law.

Mountain City Republican Rep. Scotty Campbell said he’s avoided taking a position on the issue up to now because that’s what Gov. Bill Haslam has done.

“I was trying to follow his lead, and I think that was the commendable thing to do on this issue in particular,” said Campbell. “I didn’t campaign on it, it wasn’t part of my agenda and I think there are bigger matters facing us, like the economy, jobs, and the need to pass a balanced budget, which we of course have to do.”

Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, said he’s in the process of informally polling teachers in his district to see whether or not they favor union collective bargaining. So far, Pody said he’s found that about about 60 percent of teachers in his district favor collective bargaining and 40 percent don’t care.

Asked whether he thinks unions are a positive influence in education, Pody said, “That’s exactly why I am going to the schools — to see what is best for the students.”

Currently, teachers in 91 of the state’s 136 school districts are unionized. Under the Education Professional Negotiations Act of 1978, local school boards are required to engage in collective bargaining with a teachers’ union if a simple majority of educators employed by the district demand it.

Senators are waiting to vote on a bill to eliminate mandatory collective bargaining, SB113, which would repeal the 1978 law that gave teachers the negotiation leverage.

Advocates of collective bargaining repeal, mostly Republicans, say the system has been used over time to block education reform and protect bad or mediocre teachers. Democrats and teachers’ union leaders say the GOP’s effort to do away with collective bargaining is “political payback” against unions refusing to financially support Republican candidates.

However, House Republican leaders last week introduced a modest “compromise” amendment that, instead of doing away entirely with collective bargaining, would block unions from negotiating a handful of issues — in particular, merit pay for teachers who teach in particularly challenging subjects or classroom environments. The House GOP plan would also make it easier for teachers to dissolve their local union.

The House GOP’s more modest proposal isn’t supported by TEA or the tea parties — or for that matter Senate Republicans.

Democrats and union lobbyists are complaining they they were closed out of the behind-the-scenes talks that produced the amended bill. Conservative activists “are popping vessels over the idea of a compromise amendment,” said Tami Kilmarx, president of the Tennessee Tea Party.

The new version could make it easier for lawmakers like Rep. Richard Floyd to vote for limiting union power without having to be seen voting against the ability of teachers to unionize.

“Do I support the right of union people to bargain? I certainly do, that is their right,” said the Chattanooga Republican. However, he added, taxpayers have rights, too — as do some teachers who don’t want to be involved in unions and “have been intimidated by the TEA.”

The House GOP’s amended bill addresses both the potential for union and collective bargaining abuses, but “is not anti-teacher legislation,” said Floyd.

“Do I support the bill that is out there now? I sure do,” he said.

A hearing is scheduled on the House’s new version in the education committee today. Here’s a rundown of the bill’s current elements:

  • Teachers unions can no longer negotiate on behalf of members on the district’s management team, which is defined as employees who devote a majority of their time to the system-wide management of personnel matters, fiscal affairs or general management. That group also includes principals, assistant principals, supervisors and others primarily charged with administrative duties.
  • The union could not negotiate merit pay and other incentive programs like stipends or extra benefits in exchange for employee performance or to attract teachers to hard to staff schools and subject areas.
  • Neither could they officially weigh in on how grants or awards from the state, local or federal government, foundations or private organizations be spent.
  • Educator evaluations would not be subject to negotiation.
  • Salaries, benefits, staffing and policies relating to virtual and innovative education programs such as partnerships with local colleges or technology centers allowed under state law would not be negotiable.
  • Also off the table are personnel decisions such as filling vacancies, assigning educators to specifics schools, positions, professional duties, transfers within the school system, layoffs and reductions in force and recalls.
  • The union would no longer be able to negotiate payroll deductions.
  • Personnel decisions could no longer be based on seniority.
  • Agreements between the school district’s board of education would have to be given to all educators — regardless of their membership with the union — and require a ratification or rejection to be agreed to.
  • A majority vote of eligible teachers would be needed to install a union in a school district. Previously, only a majority of voting educators was required.
  • Thirty percent of educators instead of 50 percent are needed to call for a vote in order to dissolve the union. However, a majority vote of educators is still needed to actually remove the union.
  • New teachers unions must prove after about a year that a majority of educators are full dues-paying members.
  • Makes it illegal for the union to coerce or try to intimidate educators who do not join the union.