The state Democratic party says first-term state Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, cast a “shameful vote” against a bill to prohibit convicted child abusers from contacting their victims, reports Bob Fowler.
Ragan is seeking re-election and is opposed by Jim Hackworth, a Democrat from Clinton who previously held the 33rd House District seat, in the Nov. 6 election. The district encompasses most of Anderson County.
Ragan in April 2011 was the only member of the House who voted against the bill that also was unanimously approved in the Senate. The legislation, signed into law, prohibits any person convicted of child abuse from contacting the victim, including by electronic means.
“Ragan’s bizarre opposition to this common sense legislation is one more black stripe in a troubling pattern of irresponsible, anti-children votes,” Brandon Puttbrese, director of communications for the Tennessee Democratic Party, stated in the news release.
Ragan said, “While the aim of the legislation is admirable, the law is redundant.”
He said there are already laws on the books that keep predators from contacting their victims, and judges have the authority “to prohibit them from doing so as well.”
Ragan said he pledged in his initial election that he would support “making government smaller and more efficient, and legislation that is repetitive runs counter to those goals.”
Ragan called the Democratic Party’s news release “a political attack by my opponent.”
Hackworth didn’t have anything to do with the news release, Puttbrese said. “This is the Tennessee Democratic Party holding a reckless legislator accountable for his record,” he said.