Archive for the ‘jobs’ Category

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?

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.

The Re-election of President Obama

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

President Obama’s has always been far more successful a president than his opponents claim. Do voters remember all he has done? The American people heard powerful speeches by former President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and a host of others. Unlike the GOP convention the previous week, the Democratic convention was filled with excitement and motivated delegates. Did Mr. Obama make the case for second term?

Just as he did in 2008, President Obama rose to the occasion.

He could have been more passion, but gone was the maddening coyness of recent years in which he has avoided honestly talking about the mess that President George W. Bush had left him. He went after Romney. “You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally,” he said.

He clearly laid out a vision for governing totally different than that of Romney. Although Romney’s plan was hidden from view at last week’s Republican convention in Tampa, Fla. Obama promised deficit reduction “without sticking it to the middle class”; to enact a reformed tax code that raises rates on income above $250,000 to where it was under Mr. Clinton; to preserve middle-class deductions; to “never turn Medicare into a voucher.”

President Obama slowly shifted from his 2008 appeal of hope and change to talk of tough choices and tough paths. “You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear,” he said. “You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”

Mr. Obama entered the convention with an actual solid record at governing — not just the Republican posture of saying “No” to everything. Obama has far better ideas about how to create jobs, make Americans’ tax burdens more equitable and improve ordinary Americans’ economic prospects than the tired, failed trickle-down fantasies served up by Romney and the GOP.

Obama ended the war in Iraq, tried to rescue the Afghan war that Bush bungled, stepped up the offensive on terrorists with increased drone attacks, killed Osama Bin Laden and rallied the world to increase pressure on Iran.

He mocked the extreme message of the Tea Party by offering an alternative vision of government’s obligation to help those most in need, provide everyone with the basic structures of society and the economy and end discrimination. Obama has protected women’s constitutional rights and liberties.

But, after he was elected, Mr. Obama allowed himself to believe that the Republicans would work with him to solve the major problems they created. The president and his inner circle were oblivious to the Republicans’ explicit warning that he would not get the slightest cooperation from a party and a Congressional caucus driven by a racist hatred of Mr. Obama. To his credit, and some say folly, it took nearly three years for Obama to recognize that central fact.

Mr. Obama won passage of his economic recovery bill that not only warded off depression, but actually created jobs, and of a health care reform law that is essential to the long-term economic health of the country. But he made the mistake of leaving the lawmaking up to Congress, where Democratic leaders did not fully step up to the moment and Republicans stood in stonewall opposition.

Obama made a grave error when he ceded the national debate on central issues to those same “do nothing” Republicans, blinded by his belief that the force of the situation could melt their obstructionism. He was wrong, fueled by hatred of Obama, the Republicans became more entrenched and they proved they were prepared to sacrifice the county if it could bring the downfall of President Obama. Mr. Obama allowed his opponents to define the argument, and for the moment, define him.

Wednesday night, President Bill Clinton showed President Obama the antidote. On Wednesday night, Mr. Clinton fought back against the Republicans and shredded them on Medicaid and Medicare, two areas where the Obama campaign has failed to get real traction. He made the argument for health care reform, financial re-regulation and fair taxation, all while firing up the crowd.

As President Clinton noted in his speech, the Romney campaign has routinely launched false attacks with a blatant disregard for the truth, even going so far as to say, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”

On Thursday, Obama met his challenge in Charlotte and made the case for his second term.

Sexual Congress

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Wade Munday is a writer in Nashville – Borrowing the popular refrain from Tom Jones, “it’s not unusual to be loved by anyone,” amorousness seems extraordinary to some Tennessee Republicans who are scurrying in the next few weeks to pass legislation dealing with S-E-X.

As Chas Sisk writes in the Tennessean:
Bills dealing with sex, religion and guns may spark controversy. But they also give Republican lawmakers a chance to show where they stand and could help them head off the biggest challenge they face to re-election this year — a primary opponent who accuses them of having done too little to advance conservative causes.

What Trace Sharp called the 107th Sex Assembly and Democratic lawmaker Mike Turner inferred is the Tennessee Taliban has turned out to be one of the grossest public displays of affection for extremely conservative causes by Republicans in Tennessee. And Representative Turner is correct in saying that this isn’t just conservatism, this is religious extremism and Taliban totalitarianism.

The lawmakers who are elected in Tennessee to constitutionally pass a budget each year and with relatively little time for debate on that topic, have managed to discuss sex education, abortion (again), the Ten Commandments (again), and creationism (again). Being a lawmaker is a part time job, and while those lawmakers have time to argue bills regarding abortion and expanding gun rights they lack the power or ability to spur economic growth in the state? They’re capable of defending “Life” but they can’t create a single job?

Their strategy for governing runs parallel to the politics of running for office. Ignite controversy, inflame passions, and yell like Rick Santorum when the cameras are rolling.

I think what bothers most people about American politicians on either side of the aisle are their disingenuous displays of courage, the bravado of championing a pet project or issue. The results of being led by these phony convictions are bad laws that restrict our freedoms and limit our ability to move beyond our present reality. Sadly in Tennessee, we’ve seen a lot of our freedoms eroded because of our Republican-controlled Legislature. And that’s not so unusual.

This story was carried by the Daily Buzz.

Occupy Wall Street Protests Wall Street’s “hog troughts of greed”

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street protest that started in New York three weeks ago is now spreading across the country; people are standing up and saying enough is enough. It’s time for banks to be a safe place for our money, not another place to get mugged.

The people who gave us the financial crisis continue their lust for greed and disregard of the plight of most struggling working middle class families. Their greed and irresponsibility demolished our economy leaving us to bail them out—and how do they thank us? They’re going right back to business as usual, getting rich off the working middle class and spending millions lobbying Republicans against new rules proposed by Democrats to prevent a future crisis.

New York– The message of the Occupy Wall street protest is clear: the demonstrators are seeking accountability from Wall Street and corporate America for the financial crisis and the growing economic inequality gap. This message is a warning shot in regards about the kind of civil unrest that may emerge – if the economy continues to struggle.

It was over a week, after the protest started, before public radio even mentioned it, so it is a testament to the passion of the protestors involved that not only does the protests continues to grow but the movement is now becoming too big to ignore. When it appeared apparent that the police were prepared to tighten down on the protesters, unions stepped in and protected the protesters. Now a growing number of Democrats are expressing support for the protesters,

Occupy Wall Street is beginning to look like an event that may become a turning point with growing disparity between the top 1% and the remaining 99%. The protestors’ indictment of Wall Street is correct; greed has become a destructive force, both politically and economically. There is a growing concern on Main Street that justice will never be served to those responsible for our current economic woes.

The bankers took advantage of Republican deregulation and ran wild, they over paid themselves and inflated huge bubbles through reckless spending. But, the bankers got bailed out by taxpayers with little of no accountability attached, while the working middle class and poor begin to suffer loss of jobs and loss of homes as consequences of the banker’s “greed” sins. Then bankers turned on the middle class who bailed them out and threw their support and financial backing behind Republicans who promised to lower taxes for bankers and the wealthy while dismantling the mild regulations created by Democrats to address the financial crisis.

It is time that protesters and Americans denounce the unfettered greed that is laying our nation to waste. Ultimately this movement is about unchecked power and greed that threatens the working middle class and increasing the ranks of the poor.

There will be real political opportunities from these protests but not for the Republicans who have stuffed their pockets full of banker’s blood money made off the backs of the working middle class while condemning the protests as “class warfare.”

Democrats and President Obama will be wise to give the protesters the serious attention they deserve. While protesters generally don’t talk much about politics, most appear to lean left and most have issue with the actions of those associated with the right, who created the dire financial situations that threatens the working middle class.

Many feel that “Like the Tea Party was about reinvigorating the right; Occupy Wall Street will reinvigorate the left.” It appears these growing protests could be the start of a populist movement on the left that pales in comparison the Tea Party on the right. Unlike the Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street protests appears to be such an event where the anger is correctly directed at the right people (those greedy folks on the right who destroyed the economy).

Today, plutocrats, Wall Street and business lobbyists and Republican hacks flood the talk shows and continue to call the protesters anarchists, while praising the Tea Party movement (sponsored by the mega wealthy Koch brothers) as the real grass roots movement. Only time will expose whom drinks from “hog troughs of greed” and whom stands with the remaining 99%. .

TNDP: Strengthen Our Fiscal House By Putting Tennesseans Back to Work

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

NASHVILLE — State Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester urged Tennessee’s top Republicans to consider a jobs plan to keep the state’s fiscal house in order.

“The surest way to strengthen our state’s fiscal house is to put 300,000 Tennesseans back to work. If Ron Ramsey and Governor Bill Haslam put half the effort they expend wooing big corporate donations into a common sense jobs plan, Tennessee would get there a lot faster.”

Forrester pressed Gov. Bill Haslam and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey for action on the state’s job crisis in statement Wednesday following the Republicans’ meeting with Wall Street bond rating agencies.

“This bond rating dog and pony show for Wall Street executives looks obnoxious to the 300,000 Tennesseans who are struggling to find work and provide for their families,” Forrester said. “They’d like to see a day where the numbers we brag about are Tennessee’s low unemployment rate and high economic output.

“There’s no doubt Wall Street was impressed with Governor Haslam’s contingency plan to fire 5,000 workers and eliminate crucial services that keep families healthy, children educated and the disabled properly cared for. However, Tennesseans who’ve seen this extreme plan are not so enthusiastic,” Chip Forrester said. “Haslam’s slash-and-burn budget would send our state into an even more severe economic tailspin and prompt a societal crisis that would diminish the quality of life for every Tennessean.”

This summer Gov. Haslam instructed state department heads to plan for 30 percent budget cuts to be enacted if Tennessee receives less federal funding.

—30—

House, Senate Dems announce statewide jobs tour Sept. 19-24

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Tennessee’s House and Senate Democratic Caucuses announced Wednesday that their members will embark on a six-day tour across the state Sept. 19-24 to talk to business owners, local officials and the public about how to best grow jobs in Tennessee. 

“Across the country and here in Tennessee, we are stuck in a jobs crisis, and it’s going to take everyone working together to get us out of it,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “Jobs are the number one priority for Tennesseans, and they also must be the top priority for their elected officials.”

Members will begin the tour Monday, Sept. 19, in Memphis, with stops throughout rural and urban areas across the state (see schedule below). The tour will end Saturday, Sept. 24, in Putnam and Smith Counties.

The unemployment rate in Tennessee currently sits at 9.8 percent, meaning more than 306,000 Tennesseans are looking for jobs and can’t find one. County unemployment rates are as high as 19.8 percent.

“People want their lawmakers to do something to combat the unemployment crisis, especially in rural areas that have been hit the hardest,” said State Senator Eric Stewart. “There’s a lot we can learn from going out there and listening to the people who are creating jobs, as well as the people who are looking for jobs.”

The tour will include several discussions and events open to the public, as well as daily press briefings and updates through traditional and social media. Members participating on the tour have pledged to use the feedback they receive on the tour to draft legislation directly addressing job growth throughout the state.

“The tour is our opportunity to listen, gather ideas and make decisions on what we can do as a state legislature to promote jobs in Tennessee,” Fitzhugh said. “We hope it will mark the beginning of a sustained focus on jobs and economic growth from all of our elected officials as we enter the next legislative session.”

————————-
Day 1 (Monday, Sept. 19): Corporate Partnerships Day (Shelby & Haywood) 

  • 8 a.m. Kickoff at the University of Memphis with Corporate Jobs Roundtable
  • 1 p.m. Tour of West Tennessee Megasite with Mayor Franklin Smith
  • 2 p.m. Tour of West Tennessee Solar Farm with Mayor Franklin Smith

Day 2 (Tuesday, Sept. 20): Small Business Day (Madison & Weakley)

  • 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. Drop-ins at small businesses in Madison County
  • Noon – 2 p.m. Drop-ins at small businesses in Weakley County

Day 3 (Wednesday, Sept. 21): Technical Jobs Day (Rutherford & Maury)

  • Morning: Tour of Nissan LEAF Plant in Rutherford County
  • Noon – 2 p.m. Technical Jobs Roundtable at Columbia State Community College
  • 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Drop-ins at Maury County small businesses

Day 4 (Thursday, Sept. 22): Green Jobs Day (Warren & Hamilton)

  • 7 a.m. Breakfast at Tennessee State University Nursery Research Center in McMinnville
  • 8 a.m. Meet with nurserymen and tour Otis Floyd Research Center
  • Noon: Tour of Chattanooga State Community College
  • 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Tour new energy businesses in Chattanooga

Day 5 (Friday, Sept. 23): Research/Education Jobs Day (Knox)

  • 8 a.m. Breakfast with Councilmember Brenda Palmer and small business owners
  • 10 a.m. Business Round Table at the Chamber of Commerce
  • Noon – 2 p.m. Drop-ins at small businesses in Knox County
  • 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Meet w/Piper Communications to discuss growing the clean energy sector

Day 6 (Saturday, Sept. 24): Ecotourism Jobs Day (Putnam & Smith)

  • 8 a.m. Breakfast at Dipsy Doodle in Putnam County
  • 10 a.m. – Noon: Drop-ins at small businesses in Cookeville
  • 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Tour of Catesa Farms in Smith County

 

Tennessee Democratic Caucus: House, Senate Dems announce statewide jobs tour.

GOP Overreach

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

It’s crystal clear that Tennesseans have soundly rejected the extremist GOP agenda rammed through the state legislature this year.

A new, statewide Vanderbilt University poll found that support for the Republican-led state legislature has “plummeted 20 percentage points since January.

The GOP honeymoon is over and Tennesseans are riled up like never before over lawmakers stripping teachers of their right to collectively bargain for smaller class sizes, school supplies, and text books while cutting millions from public and higher education budgets.

Attacking teachers and our public schools is outrageous!  Please contribute $5 or more to help us fight back.  A generous Democrat will match your gifit dollar-for-dollar making your donation go twice as far.

Teachers and public education weren’t the only targets of the GOP.

Since January we have seen a systematic assault on Tennessee values:

  • IGNORED JOBS CRISIS. In 2010, Republicans campaigned on a platform of jobs, jobs, jobs. Less than one year later, the majority party buried its head in the sand and ignored the crisis facing 300,000 Tennesseans looking for work. And since the GOP took charge, Tennessee’s unemployment rate has climbed to nearly 10 percent.
  • LAVISH RAISES. Gov. Bill Haslam made cuts to important health programs while handing out more than $250,000 worth of raises to his top cronies, all of whom already made six-figure salaries. One commissioner even got a 32% raise — in his first week on the job!
  • PROTECTED PREJUDICE. The GOP gave into the radical right-wing of its party, bowing to demands to overturn Metro-Nashville Council’s CANDO ordinance that required businesses with city contracts to employ non-discrimination hiring policies.

Click here for a more complete look at damage done by Republicans this year.

In short Republicans junked their promise to strengthen the state economy and create jobs in favor of ideological pet projects that harm our families and the least among us.

This poll shows that Tennesseans regret giving Republicans a chance behind the wheel and have quickly become sick of their reckless driving.

Tennesseans are not interested in political retaliation against teachers, they want good schools for their children.

Tennesseans are not interested in the anti-woman demands of the far right, they want to make sure their mothers, sisters and babies are healthy and well cared for.

Tennesseans are not interested in protecting reckless corporations from the damage they do, they want to protect victims and hold corporations responsible for their actions.

Republicans have given us no reason to think they will come to their senses in 2012. Last month Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey bragged on Facebook:

“This year was just an appetizer. Next year, and in the years to come, you will see the main course.”

Whatever Ramsey has in mind, you can rest assured it won’t be good for Tennessee.

If you want to stop the GOP’s radical agenda and put Tennessee on a  path to a thriving economy where prosperity is shared by all, a path where a good education is available to every student, regardless of their circumstance, a path where government serves the people and is not beholden to moneyed special interest then stand with us.

Your gift of $5 or more will be matched dollar-for-dollar, doubling your effort to take back our state for working and middle class Tennesseans.

We can win this fight, but we can’t do it without your support.