By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam told participants in a school safety summit on Tuesday that the state is committed to doing what it can to provide better security at Tennessee schools.
The event was organized to discuss current safety resources and practices as well as to hear from leading state and national experts on safety, law enforcement and mental health.
The Republican governor told officials from state agencies and representatives from school districts across the state that he hopes the summit will provide “practical things that we can do.”
“Our job is to listen and come up with a strategic plan,” Haslam said of state officials. “We’re committed to working alongside of you.”
Tennessee Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester says the party’s first Latino Summit, held Saturday, was “about building bridges within our community, among different cultures,” reports The Tennessean. “The Republicans are not building bridges, and their comments have made that absolutely clear. Their extremist views are not in line with what the community needs or wants.”
Forrester’s comments mirrored those of the summit’s keynote speaker, Katherine Archuleta, national political director for Obama.
… At one point, she said presidential candidate Mitt Romney demonized immigrants, a comment that drew cheers from the audience of about 100 Tennessee residents attending the five-hour conference at the United Steelworkers building in South Nashville.
“He has promised to veto the Dream Act if he’s elected and calls it a handout,” she added of Romney.
Adam Nickas, executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party, questioned why the president would send Archuleta to Nashville…. “I think it’s outrageous to send a campaign adviser down here when he’s done nothing to help the Latino voters in our state.”
They held an education summit in Nashville on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it turned into a jobs summit, according to Mike Morrow. And that’s pretty much what organizers of the event had in mind all along.
The State Collaborative on Reforming Education, the organization founded by former Sen. Bill Frist, hosted the Southeast Regional Rural Education Summit at Lipscomb University, pulling together various interests in education — from the classroom to the philanthropic realm. It was notable for its emphasis on rural areas, where issues ranging from education to unemployment can be difficult and complex
But it was clear the event was not simply about educating kids in rural communities. It was about preparing them for the workforce and, in turn, boosting the economy in those rural areas.
“It’s making real this close connection between education and jobs,” said Jamie Woodson, the former state senator and president of SCORE.
“They’re so interrelated. It’s not just something we talk about theoretically. It really is a matter of economic viability for these communities around our state and the families that support those communities.”