Sanderson seeks streamlined relief for unemployed

Sanderson seeks streamlined relief for unemployed

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
For the past year, counties across northwest Tennessee have had among the state’s highest unemployment rates. State Rep. Bill Sanderson is hoping to enlist the help of Gov. Bill Haslam to deal with problems being experienced by unemployed workers seeking state assistance.
The Kenton businessman has dispatched a letter to the governor asking for his help.
“I have always appreciated the concern you have personally shown for Dyer, Lake and Obion counties,” Sanderson’s letter states. “In fact, the open dialogue we have had concerning the issues that District 77 is confronting renews my confidence daily that we will be able to work together to make this state and northwest Tennessee one of the most attractive areas for new industries.”
Given that Obion County has been ranked as having one of the highest unemploment rates in the state since the shutdown of the Union City Goodyear plant last year, Sanderson labeled his plea as a “most dire concern.”
He cited the 2011-12 annual report from the Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board in which Dyer, Lake and Obion counties had an unemployment rate of 12.9 percent, 11.2 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively.
“I am extremely confident that District 77’s best days are ahead of us but, until then, I would respectfully ask that the utmost consideration by your administration be given to the following issues,” Sanderson stated in his letter to the governor. “Specifically, I wish the benefit process for receiving unemployment benefits through the Department of Labor Workforce and Development be streamlined in order to more effectively serve those who call upon them.”
In his letter, Sanderson continued to explain he has heard of numerous cases of unemployed workers who have been denied unemployment relief from the state “after an exhaustive 10-14 week review process.”
“This process should take less time. My office receives informing calls daily about the burdensome length of time spent attempting to actually speak to a person from the Nashville and local unemployment offices,” he wrote. “This is extremely frustrating and only complicates matters for all parties involved.”
The state’s September unemployment rate is scheduled to be released Thursday afternoon. In last month’s unemplyment report, Obion County maintained its stronghold as having the second highest jobless rate in the state — 14 percent.

Published in The Messenger 10.23.12

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