Stewart Hits GOP For "Giving Up $60 Million In Federal Funding"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

State Rep. Mike Stewart (D-Nashville) released the following statement following news that the Republican leadership in the House was going to oppose a federally funded expansion of Pre-K in Tennessee:

"Even in these hyper-political times, yesterday’s announcement by House Republican Leaders that they planned to give up $64.3 million in federal tax dollars freely available to expand Pre-K came as a shock and a disappointment," said Rep. Stewart. 

"Sadly, Tennessee Republicans appear to be taking the lead from their national leaders, like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who have made a profession of putting their narrow political needs before the good of the nation as a whole.  Here we have a program – Pre-K – that has bi-partisan support and that has proven to be highly effective.  Here in Nashville, Vanderbilt’s Peabody Research Institute, working with the Tennessee Department of Education’s Division of Curriculum, recently conducted a 'rigorous, independent evaluation' of Pre-K in Tennessee.  The key finding?  '[T[he Tennessee Voluntary Prekindergarten program produces significant improvements in the academic skills generally regarded as important for school readiness compared to the gains made by comparable children who did not participate in the program.'

"At one time, Tennessee leaders, whether Republicans under Governors Lamar Alexander and Don Sundquist or Democrats under Democratic Governors Ned Ray McWherter and Phil Bredesen, would not have thought twice about putting good policy before politics and bringing these millions of dollars in to help our neediest school children.  What a disappointment that the same radical spirit that has so undermined our government in Washington is now seeping into Tennessee politics.

"Those of us elected by Tennesseans should remember that these federal funds our citizens’ tax dollars at work.  The money that we send to Washington can either be put to work in Tennessee or put to work in other states.  Already this year we’ve seen the Republicans refuse billions of dollars in healthcare funding by refusing to expand Medicaid – a program that is already helping thousands of working families and seniors just over the border in Kentucky.  Now they give up millions that would allow over seven thousand Tennessee kids a better start in life.  Apparently, handing out our citizens’ money to other states is the New Math among Tennessee Republicans.  It doesn’t add up - unless you care more about your radical base than about doing what’s right for Tennessee school children and working families."

Bandy Center To Host Ghostly Program

Dalton State College’s Bandy Heritage Center invites enthusiasts of all things paranormal to join author Connie Hall Scott on a journey through a host of spectral things that go bump in the night. In a program that is free and open to the public, the Bandy Center will sponsor a presentation of Scott’s book, “Haunted Dalton,” on Tuesday from 6 to 7 pm in Room 105 of Dalton State ... (click for more)

Paige Atchley, Of Hixson, Receives University Of Tennessee's Torchbearer Award

The University of Tennessee honored its 2014 Chancellor’s Honor Recipients’ at a banquet on Wednesday. Twelve students were honored as Torchbearers. The Torchbearer award is the highest honor a University of Tennessee graduate can receive. Paige Atchley, 22, a native of Hixson, and a 2010 graduate of Soddy Daisy High School received this award. She is the daughter of Greg and ... (click for more)

Berke Names Fred Fletcher, Of Austin, Tex., New Chattanooga Police Chief

Mayor Andy Berke announced on Thursday, Fred Fletcher of Austin, Tex., as his pick for Chattanooga Chief of Police. With 20 years of experience in law enforcement, Mr. Fletcher has served in an executive, command, or supervisory role for 12 years.  As commander in Region III of the Austin Police Department, Mr. Fletcher spearheaded community initiatives including a drug market ... (click for more)

Child, 23 Months, Found Dead In Crib With Fentanyl Patch On Back; Death Ruled Homicide

A 23-month-old Chattanooga boy has been found dead in his crib with a Fentanyl patch on his back. The death of Demarcus Bryant at 7655 Borris Dr. last month was ruled a homicide. An autopsy report says he died from "Fentanyl patch placed by someone else." Chattanooga Police are investigating. No one has yet been charged. The child was found face down in his crib. ... (click for more)

Use The Current Rail System Already In Place - And Response (2)

Why spend $20 million or more on an unproven system to run from the Southside of Chattanooga when we already have the beginnings of a system?  The question apparently has surfaced of why the Choo Choo City doesn't have a rail line. We do have a rail line with the Tennessee Valley RR Museum and their hardware. And they already make runs from the Southside to close to Enterprise ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UAW Voices In Detroit

Today we are going to eavesdrop on somewhat of an open conversation that was held far to the north after the United Auto Workers surprisingly dropped a legal challenge with the National Labor Relations Board in Chattanooga the first thing on Monday morning. The NLRB judge certified the VW workers’ February vote to turn away the UAW at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen manufacturing plant ... (click for more)