Archive for the ‘2013’ Category

UCDP Elects new Officers and Executive Committee members

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

Erwin – Today members of the Unicoi County Democratic Party elected new officers and Executive Committee members:

Chair – Michael Briggs
V Chair – *
Secretary – Sally Dillon
Treasurer – Brunhilde Tober

Executive Committee:
Michaela Platt
Steven Wilcox
Virginia Hampton
John Hashe
Nikki Engle
Mike K Hampton

* A special election to be held in April to elect a new Vice Chair. The newly elected V Chair was unable to serve. Date of the special election is forthcoming.

Russia’s Puppet?

Monday, February 6th, 2017

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Early Voting Begins Wednesday, October 19th

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

12931245_1593623430963751_8337854735101877452_nEarly voting in Tennessee begins October 19, 2016 and ends Thursday, November 3, 2016. In Erwin, you can vote at the Election Commission downtown Erwin, TN.

The Unicoi County Democratic Party urges you to vote for Hillary Clinton. She is the only qualified candidate for president. She has spent her life of service working for the poor and middle class. Hillary Clinton will make an excellent president. Go to Hillary Clinton’s website to learn more about her life of service and policies to more America forward.13631554_10202035292160011_573393441831653436_n

Democratic Primary: Battle between the Left and the Main Stream

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

la-et-ct-cnn-ratings-20151014-003The Democratic primary has become a hotly contested race as Bernie Sanders gives Hillary Clinton real competition in a race between the dreamers who wants to move quickly ahead and doers who want to stay the course.

One major divide has emerged between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton between the idealistic voices in the party, with Liberals and Progressives viewing Sanders as a lightening rod for rethinking traditional politics and policies and those Traditionalists who prefer the approach of governing by pursing practical, achievable goals backing Clinton.

Sanders is getting the support from liberal Democrats while centrists Democrats prefer Clinton.

The battle lines over the party are clearly being drawn. Groups like the Nation and MoveOn want to accomplish policy goals that press for broader political reform. They are intentionally not “part of the system that backs Clinton” and often criticize Democrats who are.

“He has summoned the people to a ‘political revolution,’ arguing that the changes our country so desperately needs can only happen when we wrest our democracy from the corrupt grip of Wall Street bankers and billionaires,” the Nation’s editors wrote this week in embracing Sanders. “We believe such a revolution is not only possible but necessary—and that’s why we’re endorsing Bernie Sanders for president.”

Clinton, the magazine declared, would be limited by her traditional goals of “seeking common ground with Republicans and making deals to ‘get things done’ in Washington.”

Both candidates are aware of a divide in the party, and both candidates are taking steps not to alienate the other’s coalition. Sanders increasingly refers to polls that show him leading in potential match-ups against Donald Trump and other Republican candidates, an appeal to the Democrats who care most about keeping the White House.

Polls suggested after the caucus and primary in Iowa and New Hampshire, where Clinton and Sanders had campaigned extensively, the candidates are unlikely to change voter perceptions of Sanders as the activist and Clinton the experienced statesman.

After Sanders fought to a virtual tie in Iowa and won impressively in New Hampshire, last night, this divide could become an interesting test with minority voters.

Clinton has the backing of many influential African-American political leaders, from state representatives and mayors to major figures. This fact mirrors Clinton’s strong support among whites in the political establishment.

Are African-Americans open to rethinking their position in American politics? The status quo has resulted in blacks having disproportionately low levels of wealth and power. Sanders’ proposal for dramatic changes in U.S. economic policy mirrors how the Black Lives Matter movement is seeking to disrupt racial politics and the status quo.

Clinton currently has a huge lead among minority voters overall in the south and in South Carolina, the first primary that will have a large percentage of black voters.

Polls in South Carolina shifted dramatically in 2008, once Obama won Iowa and proved he was viable. Can the same happen with Bernie Sanders? After all, his message mirrors those of Jessie Jackson and President Obama during their runs, gaining huge black support. Or will the Clinton machine roll once it enters into the south?

Regardless, the Democratic Primary has become very exciting as enthusiastic young people flock to Sander’s message as while the party base embraces Clinton.

The Real Facts on Obamacare

Friday, January 10th, 2014

obamacare_400_360_3601.1 million people signed up for health insurance through Obamacare’s federal insurance marketplace in 2013. Nevertheless, that 1.1 million figure is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the Affordable Care Act has already accomplished. The total number of people is at over 10 million and could be 14 million people who are currently getting coverage under the law.

How many people are currently covered through the law? You have the 1.1 million who have gotten care through the federal website. Include the number of enrollees who have gotten coverage through state-run exchanges that and that number tops 2.1 million. Add the 3.9 million people who have gotten health coverage under Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. And don’t forget about the young adults under 26 who are still covered by their parents’ health insurance plans thanks to the Affordable Care Act… that estimated figure had reached 7.8 million. Total those numbers and you get a minimum of 9 million Americans covered through Obamacare and a maximum of nearly 14 million.

This explains the eerie silence from the anti-Obamacare wing-nuts. The Affordable Care Act is “no longer just a piece of paper that you can repeal and it goes away… We have to deal with the millions of people that are currently covered under Obamacare.”

Obamacare critics will point out that the context of 50 million uninsured it’s only a start – but it is a start. The Obamacare horror stories [lies] and website disaster’s effects are still being felt and the law’s well-publicized stumbles have certainly taken their toll in polls.

It is also very clear that the GOP seems to be building its 2014 strategy around Obamacare’s [GOP created] flaws. They will continue to demonize the idea that insurance for everyone is a bad idea but risk the chance that growing success of Obamacare will leave them with no recourse but a failed strategy as elections draw near. It is a big gamble and one that seems to have big flaws and miscalculations.

Here’s a fundamental flaw in this GOP calculation: Obamacare’s not the cutting issue they seem to think it is. Health care is not a wedge issue. The right’s problem is that it fixates on approval-disapproval numbers without evaluating what the numbers mean.

Another factor will affect the Affordable Care Act in 2014. The health insurance industry is going to go all-in on the law. Health insurers are fighting for these millions of new customers. The Wall Street Journal suggested that insurers will spend $500 million on local TV ads in 2014.

This ad campaigns is a major shift in strategy for health insurers, most of whom have never really had to market directly to consumers aggressively until now. A full fledge “capitalism based” fight for customers could help the law reach the 7 million mark – bringing the total number of people insured under it to nearly 20 million.

Is the GOP really going to spend the fall and all of 2014 campaigning to take health care away from nearly 20 million people?

Content in Tennessee

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

In 2010, the political landscape in Tennessee changed. A large stash of “dark money” sweeps the Tennessee Democratic Party from power, for the first time since Reconstruction. Candidates of the Republican Party were elected in mass, based on empty promises of job creation and a focus on education. It did not seem to matter that many of these candidates were not vetted; more less qualified to hold political office or even hold a regular job in the common job market. The voters did not seem to care they were electing unqualified people to office.

Unfortunately, the lack of qualification of candidates was not the only thing wrong with the “political winds of change” that affected Tennessee and many other southern states that created the perfect political storm. This political change was driven by much darker forces and was not based on the normal issues that affect most elections or spark most political up evil. This change was fueled by racism and hatred of President Obama. And it occurred at a time when control of political power was up for grabs for ten years, not just for an election cycle.

It occurred at a time when the political party who won the state, would control the state for ten years, and be allowed to redistrict the political landscape and reallocate the political power of a state. The masterminds of this political up evil had more important goals in mind than just political victory and they were more than happy to use hatred to achieve their vile agenda. Nor, did it matter that mindless teabaggers would serve as minions to assist the rich in reaching their goal.

We have since seen the devastation of this political change and the damaging impact it has had on the poor and middle class in our state and nation. It did not take long to realize the promises of job creation and focus on education were empty words “lies” by the GOP to simply gain power and control.

And since the election, the GOP has taken undemocratic steps to entrench their political power. Adopting measures to ensure voter suppression on the vary people their vile agenda has harmed the most: the old, young, poor, women, sick and minorities. They have attacked women healthcare, workers’ rights, gay rights, minority rights, civil rights, and dismantled the safety net that has successfully protected the poor, old, sick and middle class since the Great Depression, while continuing to give large tax breaks to the rich and corporations.

It does not seem to matter that they have lost national power as a party, they seem happy with the short term state power and/or regional power they have achieved and they have used this power to undermine national laws and political legislation.

Four years later, the attacks on women’s rights, voter’s rights, workers’ rights immigration, and civil rights has escalated by the GOP. Attacks on the poor and middle class have also escalated as the GOP attempts to dismantle and gut public education and social programs like Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and unemployment compensation.

Not since the Great Depression, has the GOP agenda been so void of a moral compass.Republicans are attempting to dismantle the vary programs designed to help those in need, during tough economic times, like now, when 40 million Americans need government subsidized food assistance to simply live and 1.3 million Americans lost their unemployment compensation, yesterday, because of GOP cuts. In months, another 1.9 million will lose their unemployment compensation. The GOP don’t even seem concerned about the additional loss of 240,000 jobs that will occur from this loss of this money from the economy. Nothing, not even the welfare of the nation, is more important than their vile agenda.

In Tennessee, more than 20% of Tennesseans receive government assistance for food and experienced cuts in SNAP assistance. More than 18,000 Tennesseans lost their unemployment yesterday.

The GOP faithful calls these expenditures on humanity – waste and too expensive to afford, yet, they don’t hesitate giving large tax breaks to the rich and corporations. They spoke not one objection when it came to the costs of twelve years of two “unfunded” wars and giving corporate “welfare” to the greed driven military contractors. They never seem to have a problem with waste when it comes to giving large tax breaks to their rich friends but God forbid – we help the poor or middle class during tough economic times.

Four years later, unemployment in Tennessee is 8.1% while it is 7% nationally. The Tennessee legislature has not passed nor discussed one act of legislation related to job creation. Nothing has been done to strengthen public education, in fact the GOP works feverishly to dismantle it. The Republican “super majority” legislation has been more concerned with catering to their gun lobbyists’ friends and other special interest groups. Our governor is too busy handling his messy shady dealings to something that would actually help middle class folks like extending Medicaid for 170,000 Tennesseans.

Did Tennesseans get what they bargained for when the voted red in 2010? Is there any buyer’s remorse or are folks in Tennessee simply content with the sad state of affairs of our state as a result of that vote?

House Republicans Vote to Slash “SNAP” Food Assistance for Poor

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

ebt-cuts-oh-snap-marty-two-bullsWASHINGTON — While most agree that additional food stamp cuts will significantly worsen hunger problems, House Republicans cold heartedly pushed through a bill on Thursday that slashes 40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The vote was 217 to 210, largely along party lines.

House Democrats objected over the cuts and President Obama threatened to veto the legislation if it comes to his desk. Republican House members from Tennessee argue that the program has enough waste to justify large-scale reductions. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, said the larger cuts could be made “without significantly impacting those most in need of food security.” Other Republicans across Tennessee who voted for the cuts attempted to say they supported SNAP but not the waste in the program.

The legislation passed does not address any “GOP claimed” waste in the program. The legislation had more to do with a GOP response to pressure from Tea Party-backed conservatives who see any public assistance to those in need as wasteful spending.

But Democrats, many of whom held up pictures of people they said would lose their benefits, called the cuts draconian and said the legislation would plunge millions into poverty.

The bill, written under the direction of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, would cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. The bill was one of the most heartless bills to come to the floor for a vote in memory.

The future of food stamps — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — remains the big sticking point in House-Senate negotiations to finalize a new farm bill before the end of the year.

In September, the House approved a farm bill that cuts almost $40 billion from food stamps over 10 years — about 5 percent a year. The Senate earlier approved a bill that would cut $4 billion over that time.

The cuts would be in addition to the expiration of some benefits that occurred in November. Those had been part of the 2009 economic stimulus package that ended on November 1.

At $80 billion a year, food stamps remain the single costliest item in the farm bill. The program serves almost 48 million Americans and 1.34 million Tennesseans — about 20 percent of the state population.

Among House members from Tennessee, all but Reps. Jim Cooper of Nashville and Steve Cohen of Memphis — the two Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation — voted for the bill making $40 billion in cuts.

Implementation of this bill will result in denying benefits to 3.8 million low-income Americans in 2014.

“Those who would be thrown off the program include some of the nation’s most destitute adults, as well as many low-income children, seniors and families that work for low wages,” the CBPP said in an analysis of the House bill. “The House SNAP bill is harsh.”

Fortunately, the measure has little chance of passing the Senate.

The SNAP program was created in 1964 in an effort to end hunger in the United States. Conservatives and Republicans have never supported SNAP and see assistance to the poor as wasteful. Now, corporate welfare is another story… it is the kind of assistance [for the rich] that they support. When you confront them about the hypocrisy , they scream “class warfare”, as a smoke screen to their greed.

Sadly, it is class warfare… on the middle class and poor.

Sign Up for Affordable Health Care: Over Ten Million Americans Insured

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

logoRev1If you currently do not have health care insurance, there are some things you can do to get prepared to get coverage. Go to http://www.healthcare.gov/ for more information. Under the Affordable Care Act, ten million Americans have received healthcare insurance- see more. Open enrollment continues and you can still select affordable health care insurance for yourself and your family by viewing your options and choosing the plan that is best for you during the open enrollment period. If You have not signed up for healthcare coverage, you can still sign up and have affordable health care and you can continue signing up for health coverage through March 31st.

Are you one of the millions of Americans without Health Care Insurance? Are you or a member of your family suffering from an illness but your unable to afford health care coverage? If a health care emergency affected you or a member or your family, could you lose everything you own? These are only a few of the serious questions facing millions Americans who cannot afford health care insurance. Affordable health care can now be attained for you and your family. Go to here and see the options for you and your family.

Health care is a fundamental right not a benefit to be enjoyed by the well to do. You and your family do not need to continue to worry about the many problems associated with not having health care coverage. Under the Affordable Care Act, you can now have affordable health care for yourself and your family. Go to healthcare.gov. Beginning October 1st, enrollment of the Affordable Care Act begins. Go to http://www.healthcare.gov/ to get the answers. It is easy to see your options.

Don’t listened to the lies about Obamacare, go and see your options for yourself. Now it is easy to select a plan that is right for you and your family, go to http://www.healthcare.gov/ to see your options.

You can also visit here to check the options in each state.

The Unicoi County Democratic Party will not be able to assist folks sign up for health care coverage online. We do encourage each person to check out and select the option which is best for them.

Happy Holidays

Friday, November 29th, 2013

As the holidays approach, many of us have so much to be thankful for. As a nation, we have been blessed with an abundance of food, good health and wealth. Unfortunately, many in our nation are not faring so well.

Over 47 million Americans go hungry daily. Over 101 million Americans currently receive government food assistance. Approximately 40 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Over 44 million Americans do not have health insurance but most of these people will be able to get affordable health care on January 1 under the affordable health care act . Millions of Americans are still unemployed. 633,732 Americans are currently homeless. Over 20 million Americans say they have experienced homelessness once in life.

These are sobering facts, and sadly, some try to ignore or gloss over these facts. Millions of Americans are struggling to survive and these people need help.

Some people say it is the place of the church to help these people; but the church does not have the resources to help everyone. Some people say it is up to charities to help; but charities are struggling to stay open. Food pantries are empty. Some people say those in need are lazy or a victim of their own bad choices. These are a few of the excuses used to justify not giving help. In reality, the only entity that is large enough to provide the level of help needed is the federal government.

This was proven during and after the Great Depression, and when it comes to past, the same will be the result in the current economic conditions. This is probably unwelcome news for those who spend their time assaulting the federal government and protecting the 1%.

It seems some who attack the federal government only do so with their party is not in the majority. It is even more interesting that when they are in control of the government, things seem to collapse; the economy fails, financial institutions collapse, greed and self indulgence runs rampant.

Many people have demonized the act of helping those in need by using the word liberal or calling those in need lazy. Greedy people love the word Liberal. Liberalism is what made this nation great. You have your social security benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, disability insurance, Veteran benefits, consumer protection, food protection, food stamps, environmental protection, worker protection, and many other benefits because of the acts of liberalism.

The bankers stuffed their pockets full of taxpayer dollars. Large corporations stuff their pockets full of stolen taxpayer dollars and corporate welfare. Elected officials misuse taxpayer money. Greed permeates our society at every level. The 1% get tax breaks while the middle class is carrying the burden and/or being crushed. Some even suggest that the Bible should be revised to remove the sections that direct people to care for the poor.

How long will we have no compassion or sympathy for those in need? Some people seem to have no problem with fellow Americans having no health insurance coverage. Many have no problems with American families sleeping in tent cities under bridges. Republicans and conservatives have no problem slashing money from the SNAP programs although millions of Americans are hungry and need food assistance.

We have much to be thankful for but how long will it be before we become one of the less fortunate? We are the 99% and many are one pay check away from the streets. If you loose your job, home, health insurance or food, do you want to be told, “I will pay for mine and you pay for yours”?

Bill Haslam’s Crusade Against the Middle Class

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

tndp logoBrandon Puttbrese was the Communications Director for the TNDP. Our families should be working their way into the middle class, not falling out of it. Tennesseans used to know that if they worked hard and played by the rules, they’d be able to care of their families, send their kids to college, and have a secure retirement, but today, the rules have been rewritten by lobbyists for the wealthy and well connected.
We have to reclaim security for working families and we can do it by restoring Tennessee values. To make progress for all Tennesseans, we must: put an end to the extremism and corruption in the government; invest in our future by rewarding hard work, expanding quality health care to all Tennesseans; and make sure everyone, from CEOs to working families, does their fair share and plays by the rules.

We’re not going to cut our way to prosperity or build a stronger middle class by giving more tax breaks to big corporations and millionaires. To expand the middle class, we must encourage and support our innovators, educators and builders. We need an economy that creates jobs of the future and rewards all hard-working Tennesseans — not one built on inside deals for well-connected CEOs and risky handouts for big special interests that threaten our entire economy and shortchange working and middle class families.

We need to restore security for the middle class and create an economy that rewards hard-working families. Instead, Bill Haslam has rubberstamped an extreme agenda that doesn’t create jobs and pushed top-down economic policies that pad his own pockets, reward his wealthy friends and damage the middle class.
Haslam’s tax plan will rack up $1 billion worth of massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, while he’s made big cuts to children’s services, higher education, health care, public safety and programs that help Tennesseans find work.

Bill Haslam has doubled-down on extreme policies that hurt working and middle class Tennesseans — denying 400,000 citizens fully funded Medicaid coverage, letting big business and lobbyists write their own rules, cutting programs that invest in workers and their families, and eliminating rules and oversight that hold government officials accountable.

Haslam’s anti-public school policies fail our students and threaten our state economy—cutting teacher salaries, over-relying on expensive standardized testing, and diverting funds away from public schools to an out-of-state, for-profit corporation that streams classes on the internet.

Not only did Haslam pass the biggest budget in Tennessee history, Haslam’s corrupt inside dealing outsourced hundreds of Tennessee jobs and directed hundreds of millions worth of state contracts to business partners and wealthy campaign contributors.

Haslam made his fortune at Pilot Oil, where he and his family have made millions from a scheme that preyed on their own customers. Pilot Oil executives have admitted stealing from truck drivers and even targeting honest, hard-working new Americans.

Haslam has rubberstamped an extreme tea party agenda that doesn’t create jobs and, worse yet, harms security working and middle class families; from Haslam’s discriminatory voter ID law and guns in parking lots (even when business owners don’t want them) to defunding Planned Parenthood and eliminating workplace protections for LGBT Tennesseans.
Bill Haslam’s special interest dealing and constant secrecy proves he can’t be trusted. He won’t come clean about his secret relationships with high-powered lobbyists and he’s still hiding his income tax returns because he pays a lower rate than working Tennesseans. If we can’t trust him to be honest about his dealings, how can he be trusted to build a stronger middle class?

WEAKENING MIDDLE CLASS SECURITYRebuilding a fair economy that strengthens the middle class by attracting good American jobs investing in education, and expanding access to affordable health care should be our top priority. But Bill Haslam has a different view. Haslam slashed security for working families, rigged the rules to favor big special interests, and cut programs that strengthen the middle class. Instead of asking everyone to do their fair share, Haslam gave the wealthy and big corporations massive new tax breaks and hopes that job growth will trickle down from the top.

Hurt Working Families to Pad Profits for Corporate Special InterestsIf we’re going to build a fair economy, big corporations and wealthy CEOs have to play by the same rules as working families and the middle class. Bill Haslam and lobbyists have re-written the rules to put profits for special interests ahead of working families.

• Good-paying jobs are key for middle class security, but Haslam has signed multiple laws that drive down the wages of working men and women.

o Haslam eliminated prevailing wage rules on state contracts, which allows wealthy contractors to pad their profits by slashing the wages of workers.

o Haslam repealed local wage ordinances, boosting profits by cutting worker pay back to $7.25 an hour.

• One of Bill Haslam’s signature laws doesn’t put one more Tennessean back on the job, but it does cut payments to workers who get hurt on the job — by a third.

o It’s already difficult to make ends meet when a family member is out of work. Haslam’s new law not only increases bureaucratic red tape and burdens working families, it gives businesses a new financial incentive to fire injured workers.

• In Bill Haslam’s world, special interests don’t have to play by the same rules as the hard-working middle class. Haslam’s cap on damages law shields irresponsible and reckless businesses that injure and kill Tennesseans from being held fully accountable in court.

o By putting a price tag on Tennesseans, the law protects profits for businesses and corporations that harm our families. Haslam signed the measure into law even while his multi-billion dollar company Pilot Flying J faced lawsuits for negligence.

Eliminated Programs that Put Tennesseans Back to Work
With more than a quarter million Tennesseans looking for jobs, we need to build an economy that rewards responsibility and increases opportunity for our families. Bill Haslam’s top-down agenda has boosted profits for his business friends and out-of-state corporations while cutting programs that help hard-working families find jobs. As a result, there are more Tennesseans looking for good jobs today than there was a year ago.

• To date, Bill Haslam has blocked Medicaid expansion, a move that would create 18,000 good-paying jobs and provide a billion dollar boost to Tennessee’s health care economy.

• Instead of bolstering efforts to get Tennesseans back work, Bill Haslam shut down 34 career centers that helped citizens find and apply for jobs. The change in priorities means residents in 34 counties will have to drive elsewhere to get help with creating and posting resumes, skills training and other job-finding services.

• With unemployment rising in the state, the Haslam administration eliminated a rapid-response team that helped workers caught in mass lay-offs prepare for new jobs.

• Haslam fired 71 Economic and Community Development workers who assisted city and county leaders in planning for new growth. The move passed planning expenses onto local taxpayers.

Destabilizing Public Schools, Shortchanging StudentsThere is nothing more important to our economy than educating our children, and that’s not going to happen if we overcrowd our classrooms and divert money away from public schools. Preparing the next generation of leaders and innovators begins at home, but our public schoolteachers play a vital role in equipping our kids with the skills and knowledge they need to compete for the good-paying jobs of tomorrow. Bill Haslam’s top-down privatization agenda threatens our students’ economic future by driving away high-quality teachers and leaving our public schools less secure.

• Bill Haslam’s first education decision put a commissioner with only three years of classroom experience — Kevin Huffman — in charge of a $6 billion education budget.

o This shortsighted experiment has been a costly and abject failure for students. The top-down management style of Haslam’s education commissioner has drawn the ire of school superintendents, educators and parents, crashed morale, and driven away high-quality teachers.

o In September 2013, nearly half of the superintendents in the state signed a letter to Haslam saying educators did not “feel respected or valued” by his administration and that teachers felt “voiceless and powerless.”

• Our kids need great teachers, and we’re not going to recruit and retain those teachers if Haslam’s administration keeps attacking them. In 2011, Haslam signed a law taking away teachers’ right to negotiate together for decent wages and benefits, small class sizes and the kind of things only teachers know about like what works best in the classroom.

o The next year, Haslam proposed increasing classroom sizes — meaning your kids would get less one-on-one time with their teachers.

o While Haslam gave tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, his administration cut teaching salaries and financial incentives for teachers who earn advanced degrees.

o Haslam instituted a flawed teacher evaluation system that scores more than half of educators on the test scores of kids they don’t even teach; Haslam’s new mandates put less focus on student learning and more focus on bureaucratic paperwork.

o Rather than attracting great educators, Haslam’s top-down orders are costing us great teachers. In 2010, the year preceding Bill Haslam and Commissioner Kevin Huffman taking office, 1,524 teachers retired; by 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, 2,197 teachers retired — a stunning 44 percent increase. In 2012, one in five teachers who were eligible for retirement did so, approximately double the rate in 2010.

• Even though a standardized test never taught a child anything, Haslam’s administration has doubled down on high-stakes testing — at a cost of nearly $200 million year. Haslam’s top-down education policies are robbing students of critical thinking and forcing schools to “teach to the test.” Too many of our tax dollars are going to investors when they should be spent on students.

• Bill Haslam put corporate profits ahead of our children’s education. Instead of investing in small class sizes or expanding pre-K, Haslam diverted millions of tax dollars from public schools to a for-profit corporation that streams lessons to students over the internet.

o Last year students enrolled in Haslam’s for-profit school showed less growth than students in every other public school in the state.

o Haslam’s for-profit school scheme has failed students two years in a row. News reporters even caught the company deleting the bad test grades of students.

o Haslam’s own education commissioner called the for-profit school’s performance “unacceptable.” But instead of holding the for-profit school accountable for failing students, Haslam signed a new law protecting their multi-million dollar contract.
• When we should be strengthening public schools, Bill Haslam has proposed privatization schemes — like private school vouchers — that divert money away from public schools and have failed to deliver on the results that were promised wherever they were tried.

• Bill Haslam punished students by cutting $3.4 million from Nashville schools because the elected school board refused the application of a well-connected charter school. In retaliation, his administration then supported efforts to strip local school boards of the authority to approve charter school applications.

• On top of diverting money from public schools and undermining the educators who are shaping our students, Haslam’s top-down approach ignores the harsh realities facing Tennessee families:

o We will improve education by improving the lives of children. One out of four children in Tennessee live in poverty and Haslam signed a law to cut benefits for the children of Tennesseans who are out of work.

o More than 40 percent of expecting mothers in Tennessee don’t receive adequate pre-natal care. And while healthy mothers raise healthy children, Haslam has blocked funding to expand Medicaid, which could extend quality health coverage to 191,000 women in Tennessee.

• If Tennessee is going to win the good-paying jobs of the future and strengthen our economy, we must increase graduation rates at our colleges and community colleges. Unfortunately, Haslam’s plans are putting a good education out of reach thousands of Tennesseans.
o Under Bill Haslam, tuition rates have increased on working and middle class families in Tennessee every year, saddling students with more debt that hurts our economy.

o While tuition rates in Tennessee are increasing faster than most of the country, Haslam has slashed funding for higher education.

o Instead of investing in Tennessee colleges or in students by lowering tuition costs, Bill Haslam spent $5 million to advertise for an out-of-state, online college.

Blocking Health Care Security
Instead of working to strengthen Medicaid and improve access to affordable health care for all families, Bill Haslam has cut funding for important health care programs. Access to affordable, quality health care is key to building a stronger middle class, but Bill Haslam has made it harder for Tennessee families to get the care they need.

• Haslam opposed the Affordable Care Act and has blocked federal funds to expand Medicaid, an expansion that could extend quality health coverage to more than 330,000 working Tennesseans and invest billions in Tennessee’s economy.
o If Haslam continues blocking Medicaid expansion, more Tennesseans will die because they lack health coverage. Studies show Medicaid expansion would save lives; health coverage especially helps poor women and children in rural counties, the elderly, and black Tennesseans.

o Bill Haslam’s decision to deny working families Medicaid coverage has already caused hospitals to shut down programs and fire thousands of workers, which has costs our economy millions. Haslam’s continued indifference puts more than 50 hospitals at risk of closing, a shameful scenario that threatens to make health care less accessible to the rural families who need it.

o Haslam’s inaction on Medicaid is punishing the poor. 161,000 Tennesseans in working poor families who would qualify for Medicaid coverage will have nowhere to turn but emergency rooms, which hurts our hospitals and our economy.

• After spending $10 million of taxpayer money to study health exchanges, Bill Haslam evaded his responsibility to Tennesseans when he decided against building a locally operated health insurance marketplace that would help our families get insured.

• Instead of working to solve health care problems facing Tennesseans, Haslam opposed the Affordable Care Act and would:
o allow insurance companies to deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition, putting as many as 2.8 million Tennesseans at risk;

o re-institute lifetime caps on coverage, meaning those with long-term and life threatening illnesses may be cut off from their coverage;

o take away free preventive health care screenings like mammograms for women;

o no longer allow young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26;
o charge women up to 50 percent more for their coverage than men.

• As governor, Haslam cut funding for a program to aid Tennesseans with disabilities.

Slashing the Safety Net for Seniors
Tennesseans who’ve worked their whole lives deserve dignity in their golden years — they’ve earned it, and they deserve it. But to pay for his massive tax giveaways for corporations and the wealthy, Haslam slashed vital programs that Tennessee seniors rely on for a secure retirement.

• Bill Haslam cut millions from in-home care for seniors, forcing elderly Tennesseans out of the home they have lived in for years and into nursing homes.

• Haslam supports repealing the health reform law that has strengthened Medicare and saved Tennessee seniors $109 million on life-saving prescription drugs.