|Martin hosts Ron Ramsey |
|Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012 4:00 pm |
Ramsey talked with guests that day including, (from left), Huntingdon attorney John Stevens, Republican Party vice-chair Sheila Swearingen and Sharon’s Road Runner Driving Academy owner Richard Milam
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s visit to Martin Tuesday was a combination of business and pleasure as the Weakley County Republican Party headquarters on Lindell Street in downtown Martin served as the host site for the mix and mingle.
Ramsey brought tidings of good news to community members on the heels of Gov. Bill Haslam’s State of the State address Monday evening.
The lieutenant governor announced Tennessee was one of the few states in the nation with a fully-funded retirement system.
“We are also one of six in the nation that does not owe any money to the federal government in unemployment funds,” Ramsey added.
Ramsey said while the state’s numbers were up this year in revenues from the previous year, Tennessee would have to wait another year to see the same revenue projections from 2007.
With a balanced budget, Tennessee’s budget was cut $1.2 billion, according to Ramsey.
He announced one area that needed improvement was the field of higher education. Haslam announced in his State of the State address Tennessee would pour more funding into capital projects for the state’s universities.
During the luncheon Tuesday, Ramsey said there had been legislative changes in the last year which have drawn criticism, including changes to K-12 education.
“Those changes have made more of a difference in education than any other. Nothing makes a difference more than having a good teacher in the classroom. That is what these bills were designed to do,” Ramsey said.
With teacher tenure no longer guaranteed after three years in the classroom, Ramsey said the change is a “huge step forward in weeding out and finding the good teachers.”
“We found out unions stand between good teachers and school boards. Two-thirds of our counties had collective bargaining. The other one-third of the counties had higher test scores. Unions protect mediocrity,” Ramsey added.
The lieutenant governor touched on the redrawing of the district lines across the state, which passed the General Assembly recently.
Every 10 years following a census count, district lines are redrawn. This year, however, proved historic for Tennessee as it was the first year Republicans held the majority and redrew the district lines.
Ramsey announced as soon as the maps were approved, the state was drawn into a legal battle.
“This map is fair and legal and we wanted to ensure at the time when we did it, they were fair and legal. Twenty-nine states redistricted and 28 are now in court,” Ramsey announced.
From a political standpoint, the 24th Senatorial District represented by state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden has come under the radar by the state’s Republican Party, according to Ramsey.
Herron announced last week he would not seek re-election to the seat after nearly 26 years with the state government.
With a Democrat stepping down during an election year, Ramsey told the group of local Republicans it was important to gain the Senatorial seat.
He added he was sure the district seat would be decided during the August election. No candidate has officially announced an intent to run for the Senatorial seat held by Herron.