House Majority Leader McCormick Says Political Parties Work Well Together In Legislature

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - by Hollie Webb
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick

Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick told Downtown Kiwanis Club members on Tuesday that within the state legislature, Republicans and Democrats "work very well together on a bipartisan basis."

He said, "We wish they would do that a little better in Washington. I think things would work a lot better up there if they'd do it the way we do in Tennessee."

 Born in Jackson, Tn., Rep. McCormick has served as the Majority Leader since 2010. A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, he also served in the military during the Gulf War.

 He said part of his job is not only negotiating between parties, but also negotiating between urban and rural factions of the population.

Rep. McCormick gave the example of the issue of rooster fighting, currently a misdemeanor offense in Tennessee.

 He said in urban areas, people pushed for this to become a felony. However, many more rural areas were strongly against this change in legislation.

 Overall though, he said with the help of Governor Bill Haslam, "We make the government work at the state level."

 Rep. McCormick said, "We have balanced the budget every year in the state of Tennessee."

 In fact, he told the Kiwanis Club, the state of Tennessee currently has a higher bond rating than the federal government.

He said, "Being fiscally responsible keeps our taxes low." He said since he has been in the House, legislation had been passed that cut taxes on investments while money has still been put back for a "rainy day fund."

He also pointed out that the House had been a part of tort reform in Tennessee, helping to reduce "trivial lawsuits."

Most importantly, he said, reforms to education legislation have been made. He said now there are "more charter schools than ever" and "students' scores have gone up faster than any other students' scores in America."

He also told the club, "We've passed legislation giving the local school boards more control over teacher compensation."

 Other important legislative actions of the House included passing laws to curtail methamphetamine production in Tennessee. He said before the state limited the amount of pseudoephedrine-containing medications that could be purchased over the counter, Tennessee was second only to Missouri in meth production.

 He said, "We literally had people going from pharmacy to pharmacy." After laws were passed, a prescription was required in order for any one person to purchase more than a certain amount of pseudoephedrine.

 However, he said, "Pharmaceutical companies fought this bill hard...They were irresponsible and needed to be called out on it."

 Though progress has been made, he said, "We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of challenges ahead of us."

 He said some of those challenges include an increasing problem with prescription drug abuse, prison overcrowding, and aging infrastructure.

 In terms of preparing more of the population for the workforce, Rep. McCormick said Governor Haslam has created a program called "Drive to 55," aimed at getting 55 percent of the state population to hold a post secondary degree. Currently, that number is at 32 percent.

 A recent bill passed called the Tennessee Promise will use extra money from the lottery fund to mentor students who might otherwise see college or technical school as unrealistic. With the help of a mentor, students will be able to explore job options and navigate complicated forms such as FAFSA.

 Rep. McCormick said, "Overall, I'm trying to help lead the state...on both sides of the aisle."

 

 

 



Southside Funeral Session Planned To Help Residents Learn About And Communicate Their Funeral Plans

Local residents and businesses are coming together for the Southside Funeral Session. The event will be on June 2 from 4-6 p.m. at the Bethlehem Center, 200 West 38th St. Funeral homes, cemeteries, crematoriums, monument companies, life insurance companies and more will be available to talk about the process of planning a funeral, answer any questions and help attendees make arrangements. ... (click for more)

Memorial Day Holiday Garbage And Recycle Collection And Site Schedule

Garbage and recycle collection scheduled for Memorial Day, Monday, will be collected as normal. There will be no changes to the collection day.  Place containers along the curbside before 7 a.m. on collection day to ensure pickup.  The City Landfill located off of Birchwood Pike in Harrison, Tennessee and Wood Recycle Center will be closed Monday. The City Landfill ... (click for more)

Donaldson Tells Jury He Shot Son-In-Law After Knife Was Pulled On Him; Medical Examiner Says Fatal Shot Was From 3 Inches Away

Glen Donaldson took the witness stand Thursday in the attempt to explain how two good friends ended up with one dead and the other facing a first-degree murder charge.   On the night of Dec. 29, 2016, he texted his son-in-law, Adam Levi, and arranged to pick up bed rails for his daughter, who had left items when she moved out of their house. After loading the rails, ... (click for more)

East Ridge Discussing New Animal Shelter, As Well As Field House At East Ridge High

Two new projects suggested by citizen groups dominated the discussion at the East Ridge City Council meeting  Thursday night. Because they were not published on the agenda, no decisions could be made, but the council was in agreement that more consideration was merited about the city building a new animal shelter and dog park, and for building a field house for athletics at ... (click for more)

Speaking Of A Cove

Mr. Sole Commissioner Whitfield,   I live in  a cove in western most Chattanooga. My back yard is woods. My front yard is woodland too. My neighbors and I had chance to voice our disagreement in 1996 to the proposed sale of a portion of the farm that dominated this cove and we did. There weren’t very many of us. One member of the group that listened to ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 'Don't Dare Endorse Me!'

When Joe Smith, a member of the Hamilton County School Board, met with officials of the UnifiEd political action committee on Tuesday, his instructions to his somber listeners were very specific. He told the leaders of the now-tainted education non-profit group. “Do not endorse me. I extended the courtesy of answering your questions … I am eager to do the right thing. But I am saying ... (click for more)