President’s Obama’s visit to Chattanooga speaks volume about our city. He has chosen Chattanooga as a backdrop for his speech about developing a stronger, better, educated, more diverse, and larger middle class.
Chattanooga modeled how public-private partnerships could create livable wage jobs capable of sustaining a community in the midst of a “Great Recession.” To accomplish such an achievement, city and county officials of both parties set aside their ideological differences to invest in infrastructure that would spur economic growth. We Chattanoogans have seen what we can accomplish when we all work together.
When President George W. Bush visited our city in 2007, Chattanooga’s and Tennessee’s bipartisan spirit was evident. Democratic officials welcomed the leader of the free world. In fact, Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen greeted President Bush on the tarmac at Lovell Field and then accompanied him throughout his day. That is why I am disappointed to see headlines in Sunday’s Times Free-Press about how certain political leaders plan to unroll an “unwelcome mat” for President Obama. The president is coming to praise Chattanooga and her accomplishments, why do certain leaders insist on dishonoring him and the office of the presidency?
It is imperative that all aspects of our community, including our politicians, cooperate in order to reach the president’s goal of strengthening our middle class. People must have access to quality education, a good place to live, affordable healthcare, and security in their retirement years. The president wants to provide high quality preschool for every child, redesign schools so that students are prepared for tomorrow’s jobs, invest in community colleges and job training, and develop an aggressive strategy to tackle rising higher education costs. We must also strive to open doors of opportunity for those struggling to achieve the American dream.
I ask one important question: Is our nation stronger today than it was on the day President Obama took office? We have come so far. We are on the verge of ending two terrible wars that have cost way too much money and precious blood. Our economy is in the midst of sustained growth, not on the verge of depression. That stands in stark contrast to the nation’s challenges facing President Obama when he became commander-in-chief. I call on the Tea Party and the Republican Party to join us in working for a stronger middle class and a better tomorrow.
HCDP Chair Terry Lee