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Views from elsewhere in Tennessee

Views from elsewhere in Tennessee

Posted: Friday, December 26, 2008 7:56 pm
By: AP

 

The following is a roundup of recent editorials from Tennessee members of The Associated Press. In some cases, the editorials have been edited for length. They do not reflect an editorial position of the AP but represent the opinions of the newspapers from which they are taken. The Commercial Appeal, Memphis; Dec. 18 Funny how scoring a touchdown makes the quarterback want to cross the goal line again immediately. That’s the way it must have been for Gov. Phil Bredesen recently when he exhorted the Governor’s Energy Policy Task Force to get busy and figure out how to lure more alternative energy firms to Tennessee. The state had just scored a commitment by Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. to build a plant in Clarksville, Tenn., which will employ 500 to 800 workers in the production of polysilicon, a raw material used to make solar cells and semiconductor devices. Sounding a bit impatient, according to a newspaper report, Bredesen met with the task force to ask for specific plans for how to capitalize on that touchdown and score a few more. “How do we beat our neighbors, in terms of creating those jobs here in the state of Tennessee?” Bredesen was quoted as saying. The 17-member task force has been gathering information for a statewide energy policy since last March. It will work overtime, at the governor’s request, on a plan to lure more investment to help boost the Tennessee economy and make some progress on the alternative energy front. The work becomes even more important during a period of uncertainty over the state’s auto manufacturing industry. Nissan Motor Co., whose North American headquarters is in Franklin, announced Dec. 17 that it will reduce production by 78,000 vehicles and cut 500 temporary workers. Specific locations weren’t announced, but Nissan has an assembly plant in Smyrna and an engine plant in Decherd. When Toyota announced earlier this week that it would delay work at a Prius manufacturing plant under construction near Tupelo, Miss., attention shifted to Volkswagen, which is planning to break ground next month on an assembly plant in Chattanooga. The 1.9 million-square-foot plant, which will employ 2,000 people, is supposed to start production in early 2011. Local and company officials assured reporters that the project is still a go. With both foreign- and domestic-owned auto companies reporting the largest sales decreases in recent history, however, expectations for the industry in Tennessee might have to be trimmed. Making Tennessee more attractive for alternative energy projects may be a worthwhile long-term strategy for the state. ——— On the Net: http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/dec/18/new-mission-for-ene rgy-task -force/ ——— The Jackson Sun; Dec. 18 In November, Tennessee Republicans won majorities in both houses of the General Assembly for the first time since Reconstruction. Now that they have the clout, the best thing they can do is to govern in the open. We’re happy to see the GOP holding open hearings for the constitutional offices of secretary of state, comptroller and state treasurer. On Dec. 15, a panel of Senate Republicans interviewed 14 candidates for these three offices. Those hearings were broadcast on the Internet so even more Tennesseans had a chance to participate. Republicans deserve credit for opening up the process. This is definitely not “business as usual” in Nashville. In the past, Democrats would meet secretly to select candidates for constitutional offices, then present them to the entire General Assembly for approval. Why should Tennesseans care who gets these offices? Well, to begin with, these officers take care of a lot of important duties. There’s the secretary of state, who supervises state elections and businesses. There’s the comptroller, who audits both state agencies and local governments. And there’s the treasurer, who looks after the state’s money, its investments and its pension funds. Clearly, the average Tennessean has a vested interest in making sure competent people are appointed to these important positions. But citizens should take an interest in the process for another reason, too. There’s been a lot of talk lately about whether these positions should continue to be appointed, or whether they should be popularly elected. By opening the process, Tennesseans will have an opportunity to make up their minds as they watch the process unfold. If they like what they see, they can keep the status quo. If they don’t, they’ll have the ammunition they need to make an informed change. During the last election, Tennessee Republicans promised more transparency in state government. So far, they have lived up to that promise. We look forward to seeing if that positive trend continues. ——— On the Net: http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20081218/OPINION/812180301/1014/OP INION Published in The Messenger 12.26.08

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