Tag Archives: reformer

StudentsFirst Rescinds Ragan’s ‘Reformer of the Year’ Recognition

Responding to an online petition drive launched by an 11-year-old Oak Ridge boy, StudentsFirst has rescinded its designation of state Rep. John Ragan as a ‘reformer of the year” because he sponsored the so-called “the don’t say gay bill.”
“Regardless of when Representative Ragan was named a “Reformer of the Year” by our organization, his introduction of ill-conceived and harmful legislation including HB 1332 — which would have cultivated a culture of bullying — does not represent the type of leadership we look for in our legislative champions. We have made that clear to Rep. Ragan and rescinded the recognition,” wrote Michelle Rhee, founder and president of StudentsFirst in a post on the education reform organization’s website.
“Simply put, we must hold our “Reformers of the Year” to a higher standard. So let me be very clear — policies that are intended to single out any student based on their sexual orientation and treat them differently are wrong,” Rhee said.
The rescission of Ragan’s recognition by the group Wednesday came five days after Marcel Neergaard, 11, and his parents started a petition at MoveOn.org urging StudentsFirst to do so. On Thursday afternoon, it had collected 55,034 supporters.

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Cooper: ‘I’ve Always Been a Reformer’

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper has been in Congress all but eight of the past 30 years, spending most of his working life there. One might see the Nashville Democrat as an insider, says The Tennessean, and thus part of the problem with an institution most people don’t think too highly of.
Yet Cooper, a mild-mannered man known for his folksy comments and Rhodes Scholar brain, has positioned himself as something entirely different: an outsider — a grown-up among children — doing everything he can to “fix” Congress.
“I’ve always been a reformer,” he said. “Ask anybody. I’ve always been a gadfly, a critic. I’ve never been an old-boy insider.”
With early voting in this year’s primary elections starting today, Cooper seems like a good bet to win a sixth two-year term representing the 5th Congressional District, which would match his six terms serving the 4th Congressional District from 1983 to 1995. He’s unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face one of five politically unknown Republicans in the general election this fall.
“I think America’s in trouble, and I think I can do a good job strengthening America,” he said. “There are many meetings I go to where I’m the only adult in the room. Tons of people are just partisan. All they care about is their team jersey and their talking points.”