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Campaign to Fix the Debt Launches TN Leadership Committee

Press release from the Campaign to Fix the Debt; October 24, 2012: 

NASHVILLE, TN — (October 24, 2012) – The Campaign to Fix the Debt – a national nonpartisan coalition of business leaders, political and community leaders, academics and individual citizens – today officially launched its Tennessee leadership committee and growing efforts to bring concerned individuals together all across the state to encourage federal lawmakers to address the ballooning national debt.

Campaign to Fix the Debt Tennessee co-chairs, including former Governor Winfield Dunn, and Tim Pagliara, CEO of CapWealth Advisors in Franklin and Founder of Enact the Plan, were joined by other leaders from both political parties in the launch, which was held at the Legislative Plaza in Nashville. Former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen was traveling today and was not present, but Bredesen serves as a member of the Campaign to Fix the Debt’s national steering committee.

During the event, Gov. Dunn and Pagliara called on lawmakers in Washington to put aside political differences to find practical solutions to the debt and encouraged Tennesseans to ask their leaders to take swift and sensible action. Former Tennessee Congressman Lincoln Davis, as well as Paula Flowers, former Tennessee Commissioner of Commerce & Insurance, and Matt Kisber, former Tennessee Commissioner of Economic & Community Development, also made remarks in support of the campaign.

“The national debt has grown out of control, and now threatens our economy here at home and our influence around the world,” said Gov. Dunn. “Continued inaction and gridlock is not acceptable. So immediately following the election, we need our leaders in Washington to quickly put partisan differences aside and work together to find some common-sense solutions to get the job done. I have great confidence they can do this, but they must act quickly.”

In addition to the long-term challenges facing the country due to runaway deficits and debt, federal lawmakers must confront the rapidly approaching “fiscal cliff” – of more than $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax hikes next year alone that most analysts agree would push the country back into economic recession.

“Private sector businesses, the people we employ and those who are out there looking for work, are already feeling the uncertainty over whether Congress and the White House will be able to strike a budget deal before January. Most businesses are not going to hire new workers or invest in new plants and equipment if they can’t be certain that a couple of months from now the economy won’t be going over a fiscal cliff,” said Pagliara. “The federal debt is massive, and it’s a problem that affects every layer of the economy. So we want to be sure our Tennessee representatives know it’s time to roll up their sleeves and work together on the tough decisions.”

Members of the growing Fix the Debt-Tennessee State Leadership Team announced today include:

Governor Phil Bredesen, Nashville, National Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Governor Winfield Dunn, Nashville, State Co-Chair, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Tim Pagliara, Franklin, Chairman & CEO, CapWealth Advisors; State Co-Chair, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign & Founder, Enact the Plan

Calvin Anderson, Memphis, Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Victor Ashe, Knoxville, Former U.S. Ambassador to Poland; former Mayor of Knoxville; former Chair, U.S. Conference of Mayors; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Joe Bailey, Knoxville, City Councilman & Former Vice Mayor, City of Knoxville; President, Bailey & Associates; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Bayard Boyle, Jr., Memphis, Chairman, Boyle Investment Company; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Forrest Conner, Nashville, CEO, McCarthy, Jones & Woodard; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Judge Lew Conner, Nashville, Senior Counsel, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, Former Judge, Tennessee Court of Appeals; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Doug Cruickshanks, Nashville, Vice Chairman, FirstBank; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Congressman Lincoln Davis, Pall Mall, Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Dr. Bob Fisher, Nashville, President, Belmont University; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Doug Fisher, Chattanooga, President, DH Fisher & Associates; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Paula Flowers, Oak Ridge, President, Enovation Group, LLC; Former Tennessee Commissioner of Commerce & Insurance; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Jim Frierson, Chattanooga, Founder, Compass Innovation; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Dave Goetz, Nashville, Vice President, Optum; Former Tennessee Commissioner of Finance & Administration; Former President, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry; ; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Cordia Harrington, Nashville, CEO, Tennessee Bun Company; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Dan Hogan, Nashville, Founder & President, Church Street Consulting; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Gordon Inman, Franklin, Chairman, FirstBank Middle Tennessee; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Jon Kinsey, Chattanooga, Partner, KPH Development; Former Mayor of Chattanooga; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Matt Kisber, Nashville, President & CEO, Silicon Ranch Corporation; Former Tennessee Commissioner of Economic & Community Development; Former Chair, House Finance, Ways & Means Committee, Tennessee General Assembly; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Warren Neel, Knoxville, Executive Director, Corporate Governance Center, The University of Tennessee; Former Tennessee Commissioner of Finance & Administration; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Robert Orr, Franklin, Attorney-at-Law; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Johnny Pitts, Memphis, Chief Manager, Lipscomb & Pitts; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Linda Peek Schacht, Nashville, Associate Professor and Executive Director, Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership, Lipscomb University; Former Vice President, Global Communication and Public Affairs, Coca-Cola Company; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Gary Sisco, Nashville, CEO, Sisco Group; Former Secretary of the United States Senate; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Deborah Taylor Tate, Nashville, Former Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission; ITU Special Envoy; Executive Committee, U.S. Minority Media & Telecommunications Council; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Charles Trost, Nashville, Attorney, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis; Associate Dean, Belmont University College of Law; Former Tennessee Commissioner of Revenue; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Congressman Zach Wamp, Chattanooga, Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives; Founder, Zach Wamp Consulting; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Richard Warren, Nashville, Partner, Bradley Arrant Boult Cummings; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Mayor A.C. Wharton, Jr., Memphis, Mayor of the City of Memphis; Former Mayor of Shelby County; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

Woody Woodruff, Nashville, Partner, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis; Member, Tennessee Steering Committee, Fix the Debt Campaign

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is committed to advocating for our elected leaders to avert the fiscal cliff while gradually putting our debt on a sustainable course by generating more tax revenues and making smart spending cuts to programs that aren’t working or aren’t necessary.

“We are thrilled that the Campaign to Fix the Debt is involving so many Tennesseans at the grassroots level,” said Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, who is spearheading the Campaign. “In order to put our debt on a sustainable path, elected officials are going to have to make tough choices. These choices will be made easier if they know that the people they represent do indeed value cooperation and demand a long-term, comprehensive agreement over our debt.”

Through grassroots organizing, earned media activities and high-profile outreach, the national Campaign to Fix the Debt is urging lawmakers to set aside partisan differences to formulate practical solutions to our nation’s debt problems.

For more information, or to sign the campaign’s Citizen’s Petition, please visit www.fixthedebt.org.

Rediscovering the Importance of Childhood Reading

State government has grabbed firmly onto warnings that children whose reading skills are lagging by the third grade face an uphill educational climb from then on.

In a news release Wednesday about a Department of Education website on reading, First Lady Crissy Haslam said, “Research has shown that if children do not read on grade level by third grade, they never catch up with their peers.”

The first lady and the DOE launched ReadTennessee.org, a site the department says is designed to help teachers, parents and community members regarding new standards and higher expectations.

The point about the third grade has become a recurring theme on many fronts.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed a law this year regarding “social promotion,” saying students who do not perform at expected reading levels in the third grade will not be sent to the fourth grade.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Charlotte Burks, D-Monterey, and Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville

“We cheat our children and ourselves when we allow students to move through our schools without actually learning the material,” Burks said in a release in May about the bill.

The Senate Republican Caucus said about 45,000 students in the state had been considered to be socially promoted.

“The main problem with social promotion is that the student falls further and further behind if they cannot master the third-grade-appropriate testing,” Gresham said in a release.

“Mastery of the basics, which are tested in the third grade, is critical to a child’s future success in school. Everything else builds on that foundation.”

The measure was highlighted in a recent speech by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (see video), but while Ramsey and Gov. Bill Haslam were campaigning in 2010 on a jobs agenda, former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp was the strongest voice on the campaign trail about third-grade reading levels. His emphasis on the issue in the Republican primary was noticeable as far back as 2009.

Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, is another passionate advocate of improving early elementary school reading skills. Parkinson said he’s learned that it is possible to project as early as the third grade whether a child may be incarcerated later in life.

“Think about that. Third grade. We know the likelihood of you going to prison based on how you come out of the third grade,” Parkinson said.

The new website the Department of Education announced Wednesday is geared with information boosting student achievement. It includes an online toolkit for teachers to connect them with various resources related to the issue.

TNDP: Republicans Still Pitching ‘Failed Economic Policies’

Press Release from the Tennessee Democratic Party, Sept. 23, 2010:

Republicans from Washington, D.C., including Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, are crisscrossing the state in an attempt to confuse Tennessee voters into believing the weak job market is a result of current economic policies.

“I’m confident Tennessee voters remember what got us into this mess in the first place,” Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said. “It was the failed economic policies of a Republican White House that was more concerned about helping the bottom line of its Wall Street and Big Business buddies.

“This Congress and this White House have turned things around for us. We’ve emerged from a deep recession, but we still have a long way to go before this economy churns out the level of jobs it was before George Bush took office.

“Tennessee Republicans like Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, along with Reps. John Duncan, Phil Roe, Zach Wamp and Marsha Blackburn, seem to have a memory block about what happened. They want to blame Democrats when they know full well it was their Republican leadership that nearly sent our economy into a ditch.”

Forrester pointed out that the entire Republican congressional delegation from Tennessee voted against the Recovery Act last year, a package that has committed $6 billion in federal funding to help the state create or retain more than 10,000 jobs and provide much-needed infrastructure improvements. Included in that funding package is $500 million in Race to the Top funds helping Tennessee complete a comprehensive reform of its schools.

“It is shameful that each of them has the audacity to come back home and take credit for the very projects they voted against,” Forrester said of the state’s Republican congressional delegation.

“Whether it’s a new $11 million school construction project over in Hamblen County or a $483 million investment at the Spring Hill General Motors plant to create 500 jobs, Republicans want to take credit for it. If that isn’t the ultimate example of hypocrisy, I don’t know what is.”

Forrester also called the Republicans so-called “Pledge to America” a gimmick that would send our economy into the same ditch from which we are now climbing out.

“They would rather continue to protect corporate loopholes and their Wall Street buddies than help ordinary hard-working Tennesseans find a job or send their children to a good college,” Forrester said. “Their pledge is nothing more than a gimmick. We cannot afford to go down that path again.”

Wamp: Haslam’s Family, Big-Money Donors Pushed for State Income Tax

Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor; Aug. 3, 2010:

Tennessee Conservative Union Joins in Sounding the Alarm

NASHVILLE – Zach Wamp, Republican candidate for governor, sounded the alarm again today on the likelihood that Bill Haslam would ultimately call for a new state income tax if elected, noting that those who led the last push for the income tax now serve on Haslam’s leadership team and have contributed tens-of-thousands of dollars to his campaign for governor.

In 1999, Bill Haslam’s father, James Haslam II, was joined by Clayton McWhorter of Nashville and Allen Morgan of Memphis in creating and leading Citizens for Fair Taxes, a group that raised and spent nearly $2 million in an attempt to ram through the Sundquist–Naifeh state income tax.

Now Allen Morgan and McWhorter’s son, Stuart McWhorter, serve on Bill Haslam’s statewide leadership and finance committees, and along with the Haslams recruited their family members, co-workers and employees to contribute tens-of-thousands of dollars to Haslam’s campaign for governor.??Just last week Haslam proudly announced that he has the support of state Rep. Steve McDaniel, the lone remaining Republican in the state House of Representatives who co-sponsored and vote for the legislation to enact a state income tax in Tennessee.

In fact, McDaniel, Morgan, McWhorter and Big Jim Haslam were so convinced that a state income tax was the only answer to the state’s budget deficit in 1999 that Mr. Haslam wrote in a piece published by the Knoxville News Sentinel: “Simply put…we must have more revenues…”

Wamp said that with the state of Tennessee facing a $1 billion shortfall early next year, the influence of Bill Haslam’s core campaign team and his family’s support for a state income tax means Haslam cannot be trusted when he says he won’t push for a new state income tax to cover the deficit because he did the same thing in Knoxville when he instituted the largest property tax increase in history to pay for only a $10 million budget shortfall.

“Past performance and the advice and counsel of those around you are good predictors of future behavior, and unfortunately that means the prospects for a state income tax increase dramatically if Bill Haslam’s allowed to buy this election on Thursday,” Zach Wamp said.

“Haslam’s friends and family tried real hard to fool us once before on the state income tax, but we should not let them all do it again.”

The Tennessee Conservative Union weighed in on this issue yesterday, sounding the alarm about what Bill Haslam could mean for Tennessee: “Bill Haslam will be surrounded by many of those who were Sundquist foot soldiers in the income tax battle. It is worrisome to say the least.”

“Actions speak louder than their words, and Bill Haslam puts us one step closer to a state income tax in Tennessee,” Wamp said. “If working families and small business owners want an income tax, then Bill Haslam is their guy. But if they don’t, then I hope they will vote for Zach Wamp on Thursday.”

If Haslam Wins, Expect to Hear Plenty More About Pilot Oil

Bill Haslam has a double-digit lead by almost every measure in the Aug. 5 Republican primary for governor.

The lone Democratic candidate, Mike McWherter, has already been making steady jabs at Haslam, as though the general election is already between the two of them.

Republican Zach Wamp says the state will be surprised and he will be the next governor, and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey claims to be the only one moving up in the race.

But in the event that the polls are not wildly off base, it seemed natural to ask Haslam a simple question: Would he be ready for three more months of pounding about Pilot Oil?

Pilot is the Haslam family business, the string of truck stops that has made the Haslams a fortune. The company recently completed a merger with competitor Flying J to become Pilot Flying J, a colossus in the world of travel centers.

Haslam has been targeted for his involvement with Pilot from the start of the campaign — primarily for not disclosing his personal income from the business, which is classified as a Subchapter S corporation, which means its shareholders claim their gains and losses through their personal tax returns.

It’s also a status that allows a gubernatorial candidate to keep his income from the family business a secret if he wants to.

Haslam has done exactly that, insisting that since people already know about Pilot and that he has a stake in it, that’s all they need to know to make a judgment about it. While Haslam has endured near constant criticism from his opponents over the matter, he has not wavered on disclosure, the financing of the merger or any other aspect of his position about the company.

Wamp has especially been tough on Haslam for not disclosing his income from Pilot and laying to rest concerns about conflicts of interest.

McWherter has been just as keen on bringing up Pilot. From the day the Democrat announced his candidacy, he started hitting Haslam, first on Haslam exaggerating the number of jobs he had created. McWherter, like Republican candidates, said Haslam should disclose his income from the company. McWherter referred to Haslam as an oil sheik. He even criticized Haslam on the grounds that people don’t know how the financing was done on the Flying J deal.

So how about it, mayor? Ready for more? Three months more of the same thing?

“I am,” Haslam said. “And I guess the question I’ve always asked of everybody is: Are you guys saying you don’t want Pilot here?

“If they don’t think they want Pilot to be a Tennessee company and don’t want more companies like Pilot, they should say that, because I’m proud of Pilot.”

Yet with opponents in the race for governor talking about the importance of having strong businesses to bolster the state’s economy, Pilot has been a consistent issue in the campaign.

And McWherter has clearly shown he’s ready to repeat some of the same lines of inquiry and criticism should he and Haslam square off in the general.

Haslam said he finds the ill will directed at his family’s successful enterprise somewhat curious.

Pilot began in 1958 as one gas station in Gate City, Va. The company built a convenience store in 1976 and began transforming its other locations. A “travel center” debuted in 1981, and aggressive expansion of the company followed. With the merger of Flying J, Pilot Flying J became one of the 10 biggest privately held companies in the nation.

“I think anybody who is governor would be proud of Pilot,” said Haslam, adding that another fellow named McWherter — former Gov. Ned McWherter — seemed to be fine with the company.

“Mike’s dad was awful proud of Pilot and came and spoke several times to our group,” Haslam said. “And I’m not quite certain why all this hostility toward a company I think most governors of most states would be proud to have.”

Two New Wamp TV Ads Hit Airwaves

Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor; July 29, 2010:

NASHVILLE – Zach Wamp, Republican candidate for Governor, today unveiled two new television commercials in his campaign for governor designed to speak directly to voters in the closing days of the Republican primary.

One ad sets the record straight about Bill Haslam’s multi-million dollar barrage of TV and radio attack ads and negative direct mail pieces that seek to mislead voters about Wamp’s conservative voting record and outstanding public service.

The second ad cuts through all campaign clutter and features Wamp speaking directly to voters from his heart. You may view these ads online via the campaign’s You Tube channel by clicking here: http://www.youtube.com/user/zachwamp2010#p/u/7/gw_1s1ThMpY

Both ads are now running on broadcast television in all of the state’s media markets. Scripts of the two new television ads follow:

Zach Wamp :30 TV ad – “SMOKESCREEN”

Rusty: “This Bill Haslam ticks me off.

He’s spending his millions attacking a good man, Zach Wamp.

What a smokescreen. Haslam doesn’t want you to know that the first thing he did as Mayor was raise property taxes.

Zach Wamp’s got my vote because he’s never raised taxes.”

Zach Wamp:  “I’m Zach Wamp. We don’t need higher taxes.

As Governor, I’ll cut spending, create more jobs and guarantee no state income tax.

That’s why I need your vote.”

Zach Wamp :30 TV ad – “HERE’S MY HEART”

Zach Wamp: “I’m Zach Wamp. The other candidates for Governor are spending millions attacking me.

But the truth is I have a solid conservative record and the right experience to be our 49th governor.

And here’s my heart.

I believe God is the center of the universe. He made us to serve him and to serve others.

We must restore America to its Judeo-Christian heritage and our constitution.

This can start here in Tennessee.

So I want to be your Governor.”

For more information about Zach Wamp and his campaign for governor, including his 20/20 Vision For an Even Better Tennessee, please visit the campaign online at www.ZachWamp.com.

Wamp: Don’t Trust Haslam on State Income Tax

Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor; July 28, 2010:

NASHVILLE – Zach Wamp, Republican candidate for governor, again questioned today whether Mayor Bill Haslam would ultimately institute a state income tax if elected governor to deal with the state’s looming budget deficit. Wamp based his concern on Haslam’s record of pushing through the largest property tax increase in Knoxville’s history and the Haslam family’s political and financial support for a new state income tax in Tennessee just a few years ago.

An Associated Press article out today noted the Haslam family’s active role in promoting a state income tax in Tennessee: “Haslam’s father, Pilot Corp. founder Jim Haslam, was a board member of Citizens for Fair Taxes, a group formed in 1999. The group gathered $1.8 million and aired a television advertisement noting that the last time Tennessee’s tax code was overhauled in 1923, the Ford Model T was still on the road. ‘The budget crisis is real,’ the ad said. ‘It’s time to fix it.’”

Nationally syndicated talk show host and finance expert Dave Ramsey also expressed concern today about Bill Haslam’s record of raising taxes and the Haslam family’s push for a state income tax, telling Knoxville’s WNOX radio this morning: “Bill seems to be a little bit more moderate on that stuff. If I remember correctly, I was in the middle of that fight, the Haslam family…came out and said the income tax we needed it. And that scares me because I really don’t want an income tax in Tennessee.”

Such questions have been raised because Bill Haslam has acknowledged the state faces a looming billion-dollar budget deficit. When faced with only a $10 million budget shortfall in Knoxville in 2003, Mayor Haslam immediately raised the property tax rate on working families from $2.70 per $100 of assessed value to $3.05, demonstrating that his first inclination was to raise taxes rather than cut spending when faced with a deficit.

With the state of Tennessee facing a $1 billion shortfall early next year – a deficit 100 times larger than what he faced in Knoxville – Mayor Haslam’s record of raising taxes and his family’s history of political and financial support for a state income tax suggests Haslam could ultimately push for a new state income tax rather than work to right-size state government and reduce overall spending – despite his claims to the contrary.

“The record is clear. Mayor Haslam raised taxes before he cut spending in Knoxville,” said Zach Wamp. “Mayor Haslam’s history and his family’s support for a state income tax should be a huge concern for every working family and small business owner across our state. Because past actions speak much louder than weak campaign promises, I just don’t think Mayor Haslam can be trusted on this issue.”

Wamp noted that Haslam has spent millions of dollars throughout this race disguising his record and pretending to be something he’s not, including claims that he’s against a state income tax.

“One of my biggest fears about Bill Haslam, one that would do more damage than anything else to Tennessee families and the small business community, is the very real chance that he will ultimately support a state income tax when faced with the real-life pressure next year of balancing Tennessee’s budget,” said Wamp. “And nothing could be worse for the future of our state and job creation in our state than Bill Haslam trying to force a new state income tax on us.”

Firearms, Sportsmen Community ?Backs Wamp for Guv

Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor; July 27, 2010:

NASHVILLE – On the heels of a major endorsement from Tennessee gun rights advocate Ronnie Barrett, CEO of Barrett Firearms, Republican Zach Wamp announced today additional support from grassroots leaders in the sportsmen and 2nd Amendment community in his bid for governor.

More than 30 hunting, fishing and firearms advocates representing Tennessee’s three grand divisions have publicly endorsed Zach’s bid for governor, highlighting his lifelong commitment to the 2nd Amendment and the state’s hunting and fishing heritage while acknowledging the need for a strong conservative governor who will actively protect the sporting rights cherished by so many Tennesseans.

“I have enjoyed a tremendous amount of support from gun owners and sportsmen throughout this campaign,” said Wamp. “We are leading in the rural areas of the state and much of that support comes from those who are familiar with my strong commitment to hunting, fishing and the 2nd Amendment. As governor, I will protect and nurture these rights from day one.”

As a member of Congress, Zach has proudly and consistently supported Tennesseans’ right to own and bear arms while protecting the important traditions of hunting and fishing. Zach opposed the United Nations’ taxation on firearms, protected Tennesseans’ rights to defend themselves and supports an amendment to the state constitution that guarantees Tennesseans’ right to hunt and fish.

“I agree wholeheartedly with what Ronnie Barrett said two weeks ago. Zach Wamp has stood strong with us to protect and defend our 2nd Amendment rights,” said David Waldrip, a longtime 2nd Amendment grassroots activist and resident of Shelby County. ??“We must make sure that our next Governor understands, supports and defends our rights under the constitution. Zach Wamp is that man, and I encourage my fellow gun owners, carry permit holders and sportsmen to follow Ronnie Barrett’s example and join me in supporting Zach Wamp for governor.”

Tennessee sportsmen supporting Zach Wamp for Governor

Gary Arnett; a resident of Lake County, owner of Gary’s Guide Services on Reelfoot Lake, lifelong sportsman and Tennessean

Mike Beauchane; a resident of Robertson County and a National Rifle Association (NRA) Member

Tom Bible; a resident of Hamilton County and a lifetime member of the NRA

Jeff Breedlove; a resident of Hamilton County, Sportsman, and avid hunter

Lewis Card ,Jr.; a resident of Hamilton County, Life Member of Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Ducks Unlimited member,  Lifetime Tennessee Hunting License, Wild Turkey Federation member,  Lifetime NRA member

Jon Clapper; resident of Wilson County, past NRA member, member of Alaskan Sport Fishing Association and lifelong hunter and angler

Jim Colley; a resident of Knox County and past chairman of the Knoxville Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Doug Cook; a resident of Hamilton County, member of Safari Club International (SCI) and QDMA

Tom Eberle; a resident of Hamilton County, and member of SCI, Ducks Unlimited,  and NRA

Jerry Floyd; a resident of Sevier County  and owner of J. Floyds Golf and Guns, a staple in the East Tennessee sporting community since 1970

Trey Haley; a resident of Williamson County, avid hunter, member of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

David Harrison; a resident of Hamilton County and member of  Ducks Unlimited, SCI, Trout Unlimited, Conservation League

Kurt Holbert; a resident of Decatur County and life long sportsman

Steve Jones; a resident of Anderson County, state record setter for black bear and elk, member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and winner of the 2008 Outdoor Life’s Adventure of the Year Photo

Tull Malone; resident of and Deputy Sheriff in Lincoln County, National Wild Turkey Federation committee member and avid hunter

Pat May; a resident of Meigs County and 3 Time Past President of the Highland Sports Club

Joe Painter; a resident of Hamilton County, Sportsman, Concealed Weapon Permit Holder

Charlie Peavyhouse; a resident of Hamilton County, he formerly served on Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) Board of Commissioners.

David Perry; a resident of Blount County and former co-owner of Gunny’s Guns

Rick Pollard; a resident of Hamilton County and member of the NRA

Jubal Ragsdale; a resident of and Deputy Sheriff in Lincoln County and lifetime member of the NRA

Tony Sanders; a resident of Hamilton County, President of Chattanooga NRA Chapter, and local radio host on Tennessee outdoor living

John Shorter; a resident of Davidson County and avid fisherman

Marvin Smith; a resident of Hamilton County and a member of Boat US

Dr. Stephen Sawrie; a resident of Hamilton County and a lifetime member of the NRA

Bill Swann II; a resident of Sequatchie County, President, Chattanooga Chapter, Safari Club International, Ducks Unlimited, NRA member

Bill Swann III; a resident of Hamilton County, Treasurer, Chattanooga Chapter, Safari Club International (SCI),  Ducks Unlimited (DU), NRA member

G.L. Teauge; a resident of Decatur County and former TWRA Commissioner

Curry Todd; Tennessee State Representative from District 95 in Shelby County, 2nd Amendment advocate in the State House and author of recent legislation to protect gun owners’ rights.

Bob Turner; a resident of Shelby County and past member of Ducks Unlimited

Lewis Walker; a resident of Cumberland County and a lifelong sportsman. Lewis has been a longtime member of the NRA and has helped to start various National Wild Turkey Federation chapters across the Southeast.

Tom Waller; a resident of Hamilton County, Gun Owners of America Life Member, NRA Benefactor Member, Second Amendment Foundation Life Member

David Waldrip; a resident of Shelby County State wide NRA volunteer who has been involved in grassroots political efforts in support of the Second Amendment for the past ten years. The 2008, co-winner of the NRA’s Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year award.

Dexter White; a resident of Hamilton County, member of the Federation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS) and QDMA

For more information about Zach Wamp and his campaign for governor, including his 20/20 Vision For an Even Better Tennessee, please visit the campaign online at www.ZachWamp.com.

Immigration Group Founder Endorses Wamp

Press Release from the Minuteman Project; July 26, 2010:

Only Candidate with Proven Record on Ending Illegal Immigration, Enforcing Border Security

Aliso Viejo, CA – Minuteman Project Founder and President Jim Gilchrist, the nation’s leading grassroots activist on the issue of immigration reform and border security, announced today that he is endorsing Congressman Zach Wamp in his bid for Governor of Tennessee.  Gilchrist cited Wamp’s strong record on securing our borders, denying illegals any form of amnesty, and cracking down on taxpayer funded benefits that attract illegals to the United States.  Polls show that immigration reform and border security remains one of the top issues facing voters of the state of Tennessee in the upcoming August 5 Republican Primary.

Gilchrist stated, “Instead of politicians who like to talk about illegal immigration without actually having a record of acting to end this problem, America needs real leaders like Zach Wamp to implement Arizona style laws in states like Tennessee.   With his strong track record of calling for the Federal Government to enforce our laws and secure our borders, Zach Wamp is the only candidate who truly has a committed stand on the issues of immigration reform and border security.  We need Zach Wamp as Governor of Tennessee to end the chaos of illegal immigration.”

Regarding the August 5 Republican Primary Gilchrist said, “For too long law abiding Americans have grown tired of watching the political establishment lack the will to enforce our nation’s laws when it comes to border security and immigration policy.  For over 15 years Zach Wamp has earned the strongest record of any member of the Tennessee Congressional Delegation on this issue and has proven he will fight that same status quo establishment.  Tennessee needs someone in Nashville that will fight on behalf of taxpayers to end the influx of illegal aliens in America and that is why I wholeheartedly endorse Zach Wamp for Governor of Tennessee.”

Jim Gilchrist founded the multi-ethnic Minuteman Project on Oct. 1, 2004, after years of frustrated efforts trying to get a neglectful U.S. government to simply enforce existing immigration laws.  Called “the world’s largest neighborhood watch”, their volunteer members aid efforts of the US Border Patrol by watching for illegal activity along the US-Mexican border.

Jim Gilchrist is the founder and President of the Minuteman Project, a multi-ethnic grassroots organization dedicated to border security and immigration reform.  For more information see www.MinutemanProject.com.

Haslam Calls Out Wamp, Ramsey for False Attacks

Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor; July 22, 2010:

New Ad Sets the Record Straight on His, Opponent’s Records

NASHVILLE – Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam has run his campaign focused on the issues of job creation, education and conservative budget management, but now he is setting the record straight after recent false attack ads by his fading and desperate opponents.

Haslam has maintained that while he would focus on the critical issues facing Tennessee and its citizens, he reserved the right to defend his record, knowing the Washington Congressman and State Senator would seek to muddy the waters on his record and theirs because of their trailing and failing campaigns.

Haslam’s new ad, “Enough is Enough”, does just that, focusing on the Congressman’s continuous and erroneous allegations and untruths.

Haslam has also in recent days responded to questions on the trail posed by the State Senator’s recent attack ad which makes intentionally false statements about Haslam. Knoxville has the lowest property tax rates in more than 50 years. Haslam never led an anti-gun group, and he never supported an Al Gore run. In 1988, he gave a fellow Tennessean $1,000 to retire some campaign debt after his candidacy ended.

As for his opponents supporting Democrats, the Congressman could be seen and heard as recently as 2004 bragging about his support for Jimmy Carter on the House floor and just this year refused to return a donation from one of the Congressional Democrats most responsible for the passage of ObamaCare. Mr. Ramsey supported legislation with a $40,000 price tag to Tennessee taxpayers that honored Al Gore’s vice presidency, but he didn’t support a Republican for Speaker until he voted for himself.

“I’ve focused my campaign over the last 18 months on the very serious issues facing Tennessee and its next governor,” Haslam said. “My opponents, Congressman Wamp and State Senator Ramsey, have focused their efforts on misleading the public about my record and theirs.”

“Enough is enough, and I and my campaign will set the record straight with facts because this election is too important for voters to be purposefully misled by career politicians,” Haslam added.

“For Bill Haslam’s opponents, desperate times call for desperate measures, and the State Senator and Washington Congressman seem content with trivializing the race with unfounded and personal attacks, which smack of desperate and failing campaigns forced to throw Hail Marys,” said David Smith, Campaign Spokesperson.

“They have been wrong all along in their failed charges, and it’s time someone called them on it,” Smith said. “Bill Haslam is running a campaign focused on how he would work to move the state forward, but his opponents want to take the Republican Party backwards to the days of dirty politics that put Democrats in power.”

“Tennessee faces too many challenges and has too many unique opportunities for the governor’s race to be unraveled by mudslinging and personal attacks, and I won’t stand idly by as my record is dragged through the mud by politicians who have contributed to our current predicament,” Haslam said.

Mayor Haslam is the two-term Republican Mayor of Knoxville, reelected in 2007 with 87 percent of the vote. A hardworking, conservative public servant, Haslam 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, reducing the number of city employees to the lowest amount in 15 years 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.

For more information on Bill Haslam, please visit www.BillHaslam.com.