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Dems conduct ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’ tour

Dems conduct ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’ tour
Dems conduct 'Jobs, Jobs, Jobs' tour | State Sen. Beverly Marrero, House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, State Sen. Roy Herron, State Sen. Lowe Finney and former Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh, Jobs Tour

State Sen. Beverly Marrero, House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, State Sen. Roy Herron, State Sen. Lowe Finney and former Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh

It was the campaign slogan for State Sen. Roy Herron as he sought to fill the vacancy left in District 8 upon Rep. John Tanner’s retirement announcement. The Democrat was defeated by Republican candidate and Frog Jump farmer Stephen Fincher.
Herron still holds his legislative seat and his slogan – “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” – has now become the primary focus of state House and Senate leaders as they just completed a six-day statewide jobs tour.
During the tour, members of the House and Senate Democratic Caucus stopped in Weakley County. Among them were State Sen. Beverly Marrero of Memphis; State senator and Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney, a native of Dresden; Herron; House Minority Leader and State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley and former Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh.
“The most important issue in Weakley County, in Tennessee and in America, is jobs. The legislature needs to focus on positive steps to recruit and to grow and to save jobs. I wanted my colleagues to come to Weakley County to listen to business owners and working people to learn from our citizens,” Herron said.
“I hope others who have ideas will share them with me. I’m not only concerned about our current situation, but hopeful about our future as the Port Industrial Park, West TN Jobs Mega-site, I-69 and other actions provide new jobs for our region,” the senator added.
“Across the country and here in Tennessee, we are stuck in a jobs crisis, and it’s going to take everyone working together to get us out of it,” Fitzhugh said. “Jobs are the number one priority for Tennesseans, and they also must be the top priority for their elected officials.”
Throughout the tour, legislators discussed not only employment issues, but education as a direct link to improving the jobs situation.
The discussion centered on the need for clearer career paths in the state’s education system in order to streamline transfers and increase the number of college graduates. Several employers noted there is a growing gap between jobs coming to the state and the workforce’s current skill set.
“We are hearing from employers that job creation and education go hand in hand,” Fitzhugh said. “As state lawmakers, we can play a role in creating educational opportunities that increase job opportunities.”
The lack of bills targeting job creation was the driving force behind the non-partisan jobs tour.
“Look at the last four years. There is no question that Tennessee has been caught in the national recession. Where were the bills that specifically targeted job creation or small business start-up help? You didn’t see any of those in the most recent session,” Finney said.
Marrero added, while job creation was a focal point of the tour, many small business owners have sought incentives for existing businesses.
“Our small businesses form the backbone of Tennessee’s economy, and we need to listen to those entrepreneurs and owners if we want our communities to thrive,” Marrero said.
“The tour is our opportunity to listen, gather ideas and make decisions on what we can do as a state legislature to promote jobs in Tennessee,” Fitzhugh said.
“We hope it will mark the beginning of a sustained focus on jobs and economic growth from all of our elected officials as we enter the next legislative session.”
The tour concluded Saturday in Putnam and Smith counties.
Their visit to Weakley County came three days prior to the announcement by the state Labor and Workforce Development office that the county jobless rate ranked third in the state.

WCP 9.27.11

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