Archive for the ‘bill haslam’ Category

Sign the Petition: Gov. Haslam, Release Your Tax Returns

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
It's time for Gov. Haslam to come clean on his income from Pilot and release his tax returns.

Tennessee Veterans Oppose Governor’s Move to Take Away Veterans’ Rights

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Halsam’s “TEAM” Act Would Eliminate Veterans’ Preference for State Workers

Governor Bill Haslam’s stealthy effort to eliminate veterans’ preference for state hires looks poised to hit a very public stumbling block — Tennessee veterans.

Haslam’s TEAM Act would eliminate civil service rules, such as veterans’ preference, that protect taxpayers from political patronage, a corrupted [...]

Rep. Mike Turner Fighting Republican Plan to Eliminate Veterans’ Preference

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner stood up for Tennessee veterans and their families Tuesday defending the state’s “veterans’ preference” hiring policy.

Governor Bill Haslam and Republicans are proposing to eliminate preference given to military veterans and spouses of deceased and disabled veterans with a change to state personnel rules.

Haslam’s “TEAM Act,” sponsored [...]

Democrats Launch Online Petition Against Governor’s Move to Increase Class Sizes

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

View the Petition:

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Democratic Party launched Wednesday an online petition drive opposing Governor Bill Haslam’s proposal to eliminate average class size requirements at public schools. Chairman Chip Forrester released this statement to accompany the petition:

“Parents and teachers know first hand what a difference small class sizes make [...]

Forrester: Focus All Tax Relief on Working, Middle Class Families

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Eliminating the Grocery Tax Should Come First

NASHVILLE – Chip Forrester, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, urged the General Assembly Thursday to give working and middle class families top priority on tax cuts and move all tax relief efforts toward eliminating the sales tax on groceries.

“Tennessee has one of the highest grocery taxes [...]

Haslam’s Policy Suppresses the Rights of All Tennesseans to Peacefully Assemble

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

by Rep. Mike Stewart

There is no more fundamental American freedom than the freedom of speech.   The right of the people to exchange ideas and to protest government actions they find unwise is enshrined in the both the United States and Tennessee Constitutions.  Defending such essential American rights should be the very first job of [...]

New voter law will suppress legitimate voting |

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The following column appeared in the Sunday, October 23, 2011 edition of The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Posted in bill haslam, chip forrester, Latest News, Sidebar, statewide, voter id | Comments Off on New voter law will suppress legitimate voting |

New voter law will suppress legitimate voting |

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The following column appeared in the Sunday, October 23, 2011 edition of The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Tennessee voters are more likely to be struck by lightning than to have their vote stolen at the ballot box.

Millions of citizens cast ballots in Tennessee elections; more than 6 million votes have been tallied in the three previous statewide elections in Tennessee alone.

Still, state Election Coordinator Mark Goins told the Chattanooga Times Free Press he can point to only one, possibly two, instances of someone being convicted of impersonating someone else when trying to vote.

One — “possibly two” — cases out of a number far greater than 6 million.

By any measure, Tennessee elections are a success story. Over the years, our electoral process has virtually guaranteed your right to be a voter and have your vote counted.

Few systems of any kind could boast such high rates of success, yet for years Republicans have trumpeted claims of rampant voter fraud.

Though every effort — local or national — to demonstrate widespread fraud at the ballot box has failed to produce evidence that such fraud exists, Republicans persist in such claims for cynical and partisan reasons: The assertion of “voter fraud” is the perfect bogeyman for those who want to enact photo ID laws like the one we’ve seen passed in Tennessee.

The reality is that photo ID laws result in unnecessary costs and disenfranchisement of the elderly, the young, the poor and minorities — individuals who are least likely to have government identification or to be able to afford to get it.

No one wants to see the system abused, but the problem with combating “voter fraud” with photo ID requirements is that these laws exclude and deter people who are otherwise legal voters.

Whether you’re in favor of voter ID laws or opposed, it should be just as disturbing to think someone could abuse the system as it is to think that someone could be excluded from it.

In Chattanooga and elsewhere in Tennessee, we’ve

already seen the real effects of the voter ID law. The plight of Hamilton County’s Mrs. Dorothy Cooper, a 96-year-old African-American woman who has voted without issue for seven decades until the new voter ID law, has received national attention.

Mrs. Cooper’s story directly disproves the Republican argument that all law-abiding voters have a photo ID.

In fact, according to the Department of Safety, there are around 675,000 voting-age Tennesseans — about one in 10 — who are just like Mrs. Cooper and lacking the picture ID now needed to vote.

To be a voter on Election Day, a majority of these citizens must obtain a photo ID from a driver service center.

So why don’t they just get one? Good question. Republicans have volunteered you to pay the bill.

A cost analysis of voter ID implementation costs in other states puts the estimated price tag for Tennessee taxpayers between $8 million and $24 million over the next four years. Republicans have decided to spend limited state resources chasing mythical claims of voter fraud rather than investing tax dollars back into our communities, creating jobs and improving education.

Even with taxpayers subsidizing the program, there are still unnecessary costs and hurdles for those who want to obtain a government-issued voter ID.

First, a whopping 53 of 95 Tennessee counties have no driver’s license center, meaning some rural residents will have to travel as far as 60 miles to get a proper ID — a significant burden for the working poor, the elderly and disabled voters.

Second, news reports from Memphis indicate that some voters have spent as much as four hours waiting in long lines to get an ID — only to be turned away on trivial technicalities, like Mrs. Cooper was, for not having enough documentation.

For some voters, these burdensome barriers to the ballot box will be just enough to rob them of their constitutional right.

In an effort to scuttle the concerns of citizens ranging from preachers to U.S. senators, Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration has rolled out a modest effort to educate voters about the new requirements. Haslam’s plan includes asking some county clerks to issue photo IDs, opening up express lanes for ID seekers and running several public service announcements.

As of Oct. 5, the Department of Safety reported to The Tennessean that a mere 214 voter ID cards had been issued.

If the number of issued voter ID cards does not increase dramatically before March’s primary election, it will be impossible for Republicans to whitewash the voter-suppressing effect of this law.

There is a growing movement seeking a full repeal of the voter ID law. We support that action to ensure the voting rights of all Tennesseans.

The debate we should be having is how to encourage more participation in our elections — not less. At the Democratic Party, we are committed to making sure every law-abiding Tennessean who wants to be a voter can be without barriers.

Chip Forrester is the chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party and an executive committee member of the Democratic National Committee. He may be reached by email at

New voter law will suppress legitimate voting |

TNDP: Strengthen Our Fiscal House By Putting Tennesseans Back to Work

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

NASHVILLE — State Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester urged Tennessee’s top Republicans to consider a jobs plan to keep the state’s fiscal house in order.

“The surest way to strengthen our state’s fiscal house is to put 300,000 Tennesseans back to work. If Ron Ramsey and Governor Bill Haslam put half the effort they expend wooing big corporate donations into a common sense jobs plan, Tennessee would get there a lot faster.”

Forrester pressed Gov. Bill Haslam and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey for action on the state’s job crisis in statement Wednesday following the Republicans’ meeting with Wall Street bond rating agencies.

“This bond rating dog and pony show for Wall Street executives looks obnoxious to the 300,000 Tennesseans who are struggling to find work and provide for their families,” Forrester said. “They’d like to see a day where the numbers we brag about are Tennessee’s low unemployment rate and high economic output.

“There’s no doubt Wall Street was impressed with Governor Haslam’s contingency plan to fire 5,000 workers and eliminate crucial services that keep families healthy, children educated and the disabled properly cared for. However, Tennesseans who’ve seen this extreme plan are not so enthusiastic,” Chip Forrester said. “Haslam’s slash-and-burn budget would send our state into an even more severe economic tailspin and prompt a societal crisis that would diminish the quality of life for every Tennessean.”

This summer Gov. Haslam instructed state department heads to plan for 30 percent budget cuts to be enacted if Tennessee receives less federal funding.


TNDP Chair: GOP Lawmakers ‘Out of Touch with Reality’

Friday, September 9th, 2011

1-in-10 hunting for jobs—Republican lawmaker says Tennessee ‘too easy’ on job seekers
NASHVILLE — Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester called out Republican lawmakers Thursday for being “out of touch with reality” on growing the state economy and assisting Tennessee’s 300,000 job seekers.
“We don’t have a shortage of work ethic in Tennessee, we have a shortage of work. We have roads and bridges to fix, safe energy to harness, and schools to rebuild,” Forrester said. “Instead of playing politics and mocking people who have lost their jobs by no fault of their own, Republicans should want to work with Democrats in finding ways to make Tennessee work again for Tennesseans.”
In August, Wacker Chemie, a Germany-based company that former Gov. Phil Bredesen recruited to set up in Bradley County, reportedly accepted 10,000 applications for 130 positions.
Forrester’s statement comes after a comment made Thursday by Republican state Rep. Jimmy Matlock. Matlock said Tennessee’s 306,000 job seekers weren’t actually looking for work because they have no incentive to find a job.
“We’re making it too easy,” Matlock said in reference to the extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.
In Tennessee, the maximum unemployment insurance benefit is $1,100 a month or less. That’s at the poverty line.
“The truth is Tennesseans want to work, and Democrats won’t rest until every Tennessean who wants to work has a job,” Forrester said. “Irresponsible comments like the one from Mr. Matlock just reaffirm how out of touch with reality Republicans have become.”
On Wednesday Democratic members of the state House and Senate announced a six-day jobs tour across the state Sept. 19-24 to talk to business owners, local officials and the public about how to best grow jobs in Tennessee.
Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris accused his Democratic colleagues of using the tour for politics.
“That’s a rich accusation coming from Sen. Norris considering his party killed a dozen Democratic jobs bills this year and did absolutely nothing on their own to grow the economy,” Forrester said. “Sen. Norris and Gov. Bill Haslam are obviously waiting for Santa to leave jobs under the tree this Christmas.
“Republicans continue to sit on their hands and call it ‘leadership,’” Forrester said. “It’s past time Republicans stopped complaining about the government, and started focusing on running it well.”

FACTS: Plenty of work ethic, not enough work
  • In Bradley County, Wacker has received 10,000 applications and made 130 hires. [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 8/17/11]
  • In Knox County, 700 students attend a jobs fair at UT Knoxville [Daily Beacon, 8/26/11]
  • In Robertson County, 400 people turned out for a job fair [, 8/17/11]
  • In Hamilton County, received 4,300 applications in two days. [Memphis Business Journal, 5/18/11]
  • In Rutherford County, 800 people apply for teaching positions. [Daily News Journal, 5/15/11]
  • In Knox County, Jobs News’ drew more than 1,400 job seekers. [WVLT, 5/4/11]
  • In Tullahoma, 60 people applied for 10 jobs — at McDonalds. [Tullahoma News & Guardian, 4/28/11]
  • In Montgomery County, “thousands of people” attend a two-day job fair in Clarksville. [The Leaf-Chronicle, 4/28/11]
  • In Shelby County, more than 20,000 job-seekers applied over 14 days to work at a brewery that plans to hire 500 workers over the next five years. [The Memphis Commercial Appeal, 4/13/11]
Tennessee’s unemployment rate is 9.8%
That’s higher than the national average. 306,200 Tennesseans are still looking for jobs. [, 9/8/11]
RHETORIC: Tennessee Republicans eager to abandon and mock people who’ve lost their jobs.
Rep. Jimmy Matlock: “We’re making it too easy.” [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 9/8/11]
Rep. Glen Casada: “I would contend the answer to that is it’s up to individuals to help their family and their friends and neighbors who don’t have a job.” [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 5/20/11]
Rep. Tim Wirgau: “We got people who can’t find jobs, but we got more people who don’t look for jobs because we keep handing them money.” [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 5/20/11]