Columnist Calls for Gubernatorial Action

Gail Kerr devotes a column to urging Gov. Bill Haslam to use his popularity and position to start leading the state on a number of pending issues.
Maybe the governor is waiting until after the holidays to present a layered legislative package of proposed laws. But if Haslam were smart, and he is, he would use this time before the legislature convenes to start selling the public on the specifics of his agenda.
The governor’s tendency has been to proceed with undue caution most of the time. He oh-so-carefully tosses small stones into the water to see if they make waves. Haslam and other party leaders are visibly nervous about the newly elected Republicans. Will they side with the administration? Or fall back on get-elected language and out-there social positions? Will they care more about guns in trunks than they do the safety of Tennessee children and people who are dying because they sought help for back pain? Haslam would be wise to show his popularity numbers to lawmakers as a way to keep the kittens in the box.
There are those from the tea party persuasion who stand by their “no government regulation” mantra. But the goal needs to be good government, not no government. And sometimes, as with hiring enough people to answer the child abuse reporting hotline, those things cost money. That does not have to mean a tax hike. It does mean a leader must be willing to look at what is needed, find a way to get it done, and have the gumption and skills to get enough lawmakers to vote yes.

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