“Mitt Romney’s loss tonight shows that he is out-of-touch with Tennesseans and it raises serious concerns about his chances in November — if he can make it to the general election. Not [...]
Archive for the ‘2012’ Category
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.
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.
We can win this fight, but we can’t do it without your support.
After just five months of Republican control in the General Assembly and the Governor’s mansion, things in Tennessee are getting worse.
“How bad is it?” Wendi Thomas of The Memphis Commercial Appeal wrote. “It’s so bad I may have to say I’m from Mississippi.”
In short, this year Republicans junked their promise to strengthen the state economy and help people find work in favor of ideological pet projects and radical social engineering that takes the wheels off the notion of responsible governance.
Democratic State Sen. Andy Berke summed it up this way:
“There are many things that we’ve done this year that are going to hurt Tennessee, and ultimately, the people who passed them will pay a cost for that… [Tennesseans] don’t want to see the radical agenda that is being pushed through.”
The Jobs Con
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.
Since Republicans took charge, Tennessee’s unemployment rate has climbed to nearly 10 percent — even while across the nation, the jobs picture in 47 states has stabilized or improved. [Bloomberg, 5/20/11]
The response? Republicans systematically killed a dozen Democrat-sponsored jobs bills aimed at boosting the economy, including a popular sales tax holiday for small business purchases.
Then Governor Bill Haslam and Republicans slashed funding and fired 60 business recruiters at the Department of Economic & Community Development — the organization that lured international corporations like Volkswagen, Nissan, Amazon.com, and Hemlock to Tennessee, securing more than 200,000 jobs and $34 billion in economic investment.
And even further, Republicans endangered 3,900 new jobs and potentially two more Amazon.com distribution centers by threatening to renege on agreements made between the state and Amazon.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press:
“Legislators passed not a single bill that would improve job creation or put people back to work… The notion that lawmakers could leave Nashville celebrating such reversals and derogation of the needs of ordinary working people across the state is stunning. The only reason we can be glad that lawmakers finished the session is that it prevents them from wreaking more damage.”
Damage, indeed. Here is what happened:
ATTACKS ON TEACHERS & PUBLIC EDUCATION: The attacks on teachers and public education defined the Republicans first legislative session in power of both state houses.
“Last year we had Race to the Top. This year we have dive to the bottom.” – Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga
The session’s most contentious legislation was the Republican-led effort to repeal the collective bargaining rights of public school teachers. Teachers rallied by the thousands against measures that unfairly targeted them and the millions worth of spending cuts to public schools.
House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh said the changes would be damaging for Tennessee students:
“Republicans have taken away the job security of our veteran teachers, stripped their ability to negotiate for things like text books, janitorial services & basic school supplies, opened the door to for-profit charter schools and nearly ripped millions from the public school system with a voucher proposal.
“Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey & his counterparts call this reform, but our teachers & the people of Tennessee know better. This is not reform; it’s regression.”
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING BAN: Republicans repealed the Education Professional Negotiations Act ending an era of teacher solidarity, one in which the TEA had bargained with school boards across a wide range of matters in most of the state’s school districts. As a result, our teachers are angry, demoralized and tire of being blamed for the problems facing our education system.
CHARTER SCHOOLS EXPANSION: Gov. Haslam and Republicans expanded charter schools, potentially hurting our neediest children and families by draining traditional public schools of top performers and resources.
VIRTUAL SCHOOLS: Virtual schools, online education run by for profit corporations that poach millions of tax dollars from public schools. Online schools could be gateway to school vouchers. Rep. Mike Stewart said it sets “a dangerous precedent” and will lead to public school money being siphoned off by private for-profit corporations.
CAPS ON HOPE SCHOLARSHIP HOURS: With the cost of tuition increasing at Tennessee colleges and universities, the legislature decided to cut funding for student scholarships. The cap on the 120 hours paid for by the lottery scholarship has students and parents worried about how to pay for degrees that go over the limit.
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!
LT. GOV. RAMSEY GAVE SECRET PAY RAISES TO STAFFERS, TOO: Not to be outdone by Gov. Haslam, Channel 4 News discovered that Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey approved pay increases for 18 senate staffers at the same time salaries were frozen for the other 42,825 state employees.
Channel 4 News: They just got it because Ramsey felt they deserved it. “There’s nothing wrong with that — nothing,” said Ramsey. [Channel 4 News,5/23/11]
WINED & DINED BY LOBBYISTS AT $500,000 WORTH OF PARTIES: Special interest groups spent at least $519,000 this year wining and dining state lawmakers. Last year, even though the legislative session was longer, only $390,000 was spent.
The view of Sen. Andy Berke:
“Special interests play an outsized role in our government and especially in our legislature… It’s difficult not to look at what goes on in the legislature and worry about the individual citizen having his proper say, also.”
TRIED TO CUT TAXES FOR WEALTHY FRIENDS: Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey filed a bill that would have gave his millionaire friend and campaign donor a $270,000 property tax break on high-end real estate in Rutherford County. [The Daily News Journal, 4/10/2011]
USED TAX DOLLARS TO BUILD ROADS FOR SPECIAL FRIENDS: Days into office, Gov. Haslam brokered a backroom deal to have the Tennessee Department of Transportation build a private road to a well-heeled Republican business owner. Seeing it as a waste of taxpayer money to build a road for the benefit of a single business, Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen refused to pay for the road for six years. [KnoxNews.com, 4/3/11]
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. Major businesses, such as Nissan and FedEx, criticized Republicans for their overreach, stating that their companies are committed to equal rights and protections for all Tennesseans. Furthermore, the Senate passed Stacey Campfield’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill which, as originally introduced, would make it illegal for teachers to even mention homosexuality before the 9th grade, even if to address bullying at the school. [WPLN, 5/24/11]
ATTACKS ON VICTIMS: By setting an arbitrary cap on the damages a citizen jury can award, Republicans put a price of $29 a day on the lives of victims who suffer horrific injuries at the hands of reckless corporations or medical malpractice.
Tennesseans are not interested in protecting reckless corporations from the damage they do, they want to protect the rights of victims and hold corporations responsible for their actions.
Caps on jury awards was Haslam’s pet project — perhaps because his multi-million dollar business is tied up in a lawsuit stemming from a citizen being killed at a Pilot gas station owned by the governor. [WSMV.com, 3/2/11]
ATTACKS ON WOMEN’S PRIVACY: If the constitutional amendment Senate Joint Resolution 127 is approved by voter referendum in 2014, Tennessee’s constitution would no longer protect a woman’s right to an abortion — even in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother.
ATTACKS ON WOMEN’S HEALTH: In a partisan witch hunt Republicans defunded Planned Parenthood in Tennessee. The callous decision will cut more than $1 million worth of funding that provides medical exams, cancer screenings, tests and treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, family planning, counseling and birth-control services for more than 5,000 residents every year.
ATTACKS ON THE OUTDOORS: Republicans killed common-sense legislation that would outlaw the destructive practice of mountaintop removal in Tennessee and preserve our scenic vistas, the water we drink, and the air we breath for generations to come.
ATTACKS ON RELIGION: In an affront to the American principal of religious tolerance, Sen. Bill Ketron’s “anti-terrorism bill,” originally outlawed some practices of Islam and sparked demonstrations by Tennessee Muslims. The bill was amended twice — once to delete any references to religion and then again to merely restate what’s already in federal law.
ATTACKS ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT: In a move that would seem to contradict their constant calls for limited government, Republicans expanded government control over cities by blocking the Memphis City Schools-Shelby County Schools merger that was passed overwhelmingly by a voter referendum and overturned Metro-Nashville Council’s CANDO ordinance that required businesses with city contracts to employ non-discrimination hiring policies.
ATTACKS ON ACCOUNTABLE ELECTIONS: House Bill 386 gutted the Voter Confidence Act, a law that was passed with broad bipartisan support to protect the integrity of our electoral process. The Voter Confidence Act made it mandatory for county election commissions to use voting machines that produce a verifiable paper trail in case of a recount.
ATTACKS ON FREE ELECTIONS: Republicans reduced the number of days in early voting and passed a photo ID requirement that has been called an unconstitutional “poll tax.” The photo ID requirement will make it harder for seniors, students and those who don’t drive to exercise their voting right.
ATTACKS ON FAIR ELECTIONS: On the same day the Senate passed a bill to allow corporations to donate to individual candidates, it banned the Tennessee Education Association from collecting political dues. Corporations were given more of a voice while teachers were silenced. Loud and clear, Republicans said: “Corporations deserve a bigger say in Tennessee elections than people.” Tennessee will now have contribution limits among the highest of any state.
Haslam and Republican leaders have nearly eight months until the 107th General Assembly reconvenes in January to conspire new ways to put special interests before the interest of Tennesseans.
Rep. Mike Stewart on the upcoming legislative session in 2012:
“A lot of this stuff was just pushed off to next year. There’s no chance that we won’t be back arguing about guns on college campuses, anti-union measures again next year.”
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey confirmed our worst fears:
“Tennessee Republicans have talked a lot about what we would do when we took power. Now we are showing what we can do. This year was just an appetizer. Next year, and in the years to come, you will see the main course.”
RADICAL LEGISLATION YOU CAN EXPECT TO SEE IN 2012
CLASS SIZE INCREASES: Governor Haslam is already on the record of saying he is in favor of lifting the cap on class sizes. To handle more students, all you need is a “great teacher,” Haslam says. As if Tennessee didn’t already have great teachers.
PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS: Sen. Brian Kelsey sponsored a bill that failed this year to allow taxpayer money to be spent on private schools (including parochial schools), poaching money away from students in public schools.
GUNS ON CAMPUSES: A bill uniformly opposed by ALL Tennessee universities and university police departments would allow guns to be carried on campuses, potentially putting students at risk.
ARIZONA STYLE IMMIGRATION LAWS: We will likely see a new version of House Bill 1380, which was inspired by the controversial Arizona law. The law would give state and local law enforcement officers unprecedented authority over our civil rights by allowing an officer to make a determination if you look like an American. The Arizona law has brought on expensive legal battles and cost the state millions of dollars worth of lost tourism.
A TAKE OVER OF MEDICARE: The state Senate voted recently to take the first step toward ending Medicare as we know it in Tennessee by calling for a radical plan called a “health-care compact.” Such a plan would handover Medicare to the state, potentially leading to thousands of seniors losing benefits, being denied coverage, or simply falling through the cracks.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chip Forrester, the chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, accepted a larger role in the national Democratic Party Friday with his election to a governing body with national influence.
Forrester will serve a term on the Democratic National Committee’s Executive Committee, the policy-making arm and governing body of the national party.
Forrester was elected unanimously to the DNC Executive Committee at a meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs. He will serve as that group’s Southern Chair on the DNC Executive Committee and will work as a representative for the region.
The new role will give Tennessee a more powerful voice in national affairs and policy decisions, particularly during the upcoming 2012 election.
“I am honored to have the unanimous support of my colleagues, other state chairs and vice chairs, who have expressed their confidence in me by electing me to this important national position on our party’s Executive Committee,” Forrester said. “I have promised them that I will faithfully ensure that state parties are heard and their needs addressed at DNC Executive Committee meetings.”
Media Contact: Brandon Puttbrese – 615-327-9779
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Democrats have published a draft plan to select delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The delegate selection process is open to all voters who wish to participate as Democrats.
“This plan provides Tennessee Democrats a blueprint for getting involved and making their voice heard in the 2012 presidential election cycle,” said Chip Forrester, Chair of the state party. “We advocate for open, accountable government and we hold ourselves to the same standard so we’re looking for citizen feedback on the plan before the rules are adopted by the state party executive committee.”
The delegate selection plan specifies the methods and timetable for selecting delegates to represent Tennessee Democrats at the national convention to be held in Charlotte, N.C. scheduled for Sept. 3, 2012.
All written public comments received between today and May 30 will be submitted to the Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee, the body that must issue final approval to the plan.
The full text of the delegate selection plan is available at www.tndp.org or by calling the Nashville headquarters at 615-327-9779.
Media Contact: Brandon Puttbrese, 615-327-9779
Young people in Tennessee have never had less of a voice at our state capitol.
At a time when 1 out of 6 young people are out of work, Republicans have turned a deaf ear to their concerns by cutting investments in education, college and the economy.
Now is the time for a new generation of Tennesseans to step up and lead.
The Tennessee Democratic Party is looking for young people to join our summer TNDP Student Internship Program. Help us fill our program by sharing this link with someone who may be interested:
Online Application: Click Here
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This summer the TNDP will begin training the next generation of political leaders — people who will make a difference by helping to elect strong candidates and strengthen our democracy in communities throughout Tennessee.
The TNDP Student Internship Program provides students of all levels and recent graduates an opportunity to play a hands-on role in politics.
TNDP Summer Interns will gain political leadership experience in areas such as grassroots organizing, fundraising, data management and campaign communications. Former TNDP interns have gone on to work on political campaigns, for government and have run for public office.
We’re looking for individuals who are ready to build the framework to turn Tennessee blue in 2012 and elect leaders who stand up for students entering the work force.
We have began interviewing for the program and space is limited. So don’t wait to contact us if you are interested in applying or know a student who would be perfect.
We are looking for interns who will commit to 20-40 hour/week. Please contact Kate Dobbins at (615) 327-9779 or by email at email@example.com if you have questions.
NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Democratic Party will host a statewide conference and workshop for Democrats in Jackson, Tenn. on May 20-22.
The Tennessee Values Summit will be the first step in 2011 the party takes to refocus on its “ground game,” said Chip Forrester, chairman of the state party.
“Tennesseans have a long history of engaging with one another at town hall-style events,” Forrester said. “So we’re going back to our roots. We’re going to bring Democrats together, discuss our values and talk about the best ways to communicate why we choose to stand up for rural folks and working people.”
The Tennessee Values Summit will take place at the Doubletree Hotel in Jackson. Democrats will open the Values Summit with a reception 7 p.m. Friday. The conference will conclude at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Democratic leaders and organizers from around the state will be in attendance.
Programs and workshops will educate Democrats on how best to message current issues and provide strategies for grassroots party building in their communities.
In an email to supporters, Forrester explained the program: “Learn how we plan to take back Tennessee for rural folks and working people by showing our families, friends and neighbors what it means to be a Democrat.”
The Summit motto is: Bringing One Tennessee Together.
Online registration is now open. For more information visit: http://www.tndp.org/page/the-tennessee-values-summit.
A copy of TNDP announcement:
It is with great excitement that we invite you to join us in Jackson, Tenn. on May 20 – 22 for the Tennessee Values Summit 2011 presented by the Tennessee Education Association.
To bring one Tennessee together in 2012, we’re going back to our roots.
Join us in Jackson at the DoubleTree Hotel for the Summit to discuss our values and learn how to best communicate our democratic priorities to our friends and neighbors.
Space is limited. Register now to attend The Tennessee Values Summit in Jackson on May 20 – 22.
Learn how we plan to take back Tennessee for rural folks and working people by showing our families, friends and neighbors what it means to be a Democrat.
Take advantage of a spirited program designed to educate and inform Democrats on how to best message current issues. Hear from our Democratic “Young Guns” and organizers and connect with fellow Democrats from around the state.
We’ll kick off The Tennessee Values Summit at 7 p.m. Friday, May 20 with a Welcoming Reception. Panels and meetings will begin Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Your $40 registration fee includes admission to the welcoming party and four meals. Applications for free registration are available based on need, email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
If you have any questions, please contact the Party offices by calling (615) 327-9779.
Please join us in Jackson as we work hard to bring back opportunity for Tennesseans.
Chair, Tennessee Democratic Party
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Democratic Party announced Wednesday schedules for county reorganization, a biennial event where Democrats meet county by county to pick new local officers.
The only thing necessary for Republicans to keep running roughshod over our rights is for good men and women to do nothing.
Here’s your chance to do something big.
In the coming weeks, county Democratic parties across Tennessee will host local conventions where Democrats will pick new county party officers and lay the groundwork for selecting delegates to attend the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
County conventions, also called reorganization, only come along every two years so it’s important you get involved now. You and other passionate progressives will be the engine that drives our campaign to take back Tennessee for working people.
As a member of the Democratic Party, you know we can do big things. But nothing comes without rolling up your sleeves.
The strength of the Tennessee Democratic Party comes from the dedication and hard work of people, like you, who take a leadership role in their local Democratic Party. Our county officers and delegates provide critical support to Democratic candidates and are essential to turning out the Democratic vote and winning electoral victories.
It’s also a great way to meet other like-minded people who want to make a positive difference in their community.
Help us do big things for working people here in Tennessee. Be a doer and get involved with your county party convention.
Chair, Tennessee Democratic Party
P.S. Due to local county bylaws, Davidson, Decatur & Dekalb counties will not be hosting reorganization conventions this spring. Call our office at (615) 327-9779 to find out how to get involved in those counties.