Tag Archives: gina

Alexander, Corker Break GOP Ranks on Confirming EPA Nominee

Both of Tennessee’s senators broke with their party to approve the President’s choice for head of the Environmental Protection Agency, reports WPLN.
The bulk of the Senate’s Republicans worked to block Gina McCarthy at every stop along the nomination process, including an attempted filibuster. Only six GOP Senators voted in her favor.
While he deviated from the party’s efforts, Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander cited the GOP as the reason why he voted for McCarthy. In a statement, Alexander pointed out that she has worked for five Republican governors and likely has better conservative credentials than anyone else President Obama would be likely to appoint.
…Tennessee’s other Senator, Bob Corker, was heavily involved in efforts to broker a deal with Democrats, heading off their use of the so-called “nuclear option” to ensure approval of the President’s nominees.
After striking that deal, Corker voted for Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
He and Alexander also helped Democrats ensure a vote on the nominee to the Labor Department by blocking any Republican chance at a filibuster. However, they did go on to vote against Thomas Perez’s confirmation, along with every other Republican.

TEA: Haslam Sends Mixed Message on Education

News release from Tennessee Education Association:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In his “State of the State” speech last night before Tennessee’s General Assembly, Governor Bill Haslam devoted a lot of time to public education, but left the audience with a mixed message on his plans for our schools.
“While I am pleased that the governor devoted such a large portion of his address to public education, it is troubling to see his voucher agenda moving forward,” said Gera Summerford, Sevier County teacher and Tennessee Education Association president. “Gov. Haslam spoke emphatically about his commitment to public education. Then his next point was about taking money from our public schools to give to private schools. To me, that sends a very mixed message.”
“School voucher programs divert critical funding from public schools.
Tennessee public schools have among the top graduation rates in the country and, at the same time, one of the lowest rates of funding per student, thereby demonstrating their efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars. On the other hand, school voucher programs in other states have wasted taxpayer money by supporting substandard and unaccredited programs due to inadequate oversight.
No credible study or research has ever proven the effectiveness of school vouchers or demonstrated any improvement in student achievement over public schools,” added Summerford.
“In addition to the financial drain, school vouchers leave many students behind – including those with greatest need – because vouchers divert tax dollars to private entities that are not required to accept all students nor offer the special services students may need,” the TEA president continued. “In the more than 50 years since school vouchers were first proposed, vouchers still remain controversial, unproven and unpopular.”
“We applaud the governor’s continued effort to direct more money to public schools, but let’s not take one step forward and two steps back. It is not the taxpayer’s job to support private entities. Let’s keep public money in public schools, supporting initiatives like the governor’s proposal to update technology and improve school safety,” Summerford concluded.

Hank Dye Retires; UT Shifts Lobbyist Lineup

The University of Tennessee will split its government relations and communications department next month following the retirement of the vice president who oversaw those duties, President Joe DiPietro told staff in an email Wednesday.
From the News Sentinel:
Hank Dye, vice president of public and government relations since 2005, will retire July 11, something he had discussed with the president since the beginning of the year, DiPietro wrote. Anthony Haynes, UT’s lobbyist in Nashville, will become vice president for government relations and advocacy, reporting directly to DiPietro.
Kurt Schlieter, UT’s advocate in Washington, D.C., will become assistant vice president for federal relations and continue to work out of D.C. DiPietro wrote in the email that he is still examining the system’s communications strategy and has asked a seven-person review committee to give recommendations for how to structure a department to handle communications, marketing and branding.
In the meantime, Gina Stafford, assistant vice president and director of communications for the system, will manage day-to-day operations.