Haslam cites progress, says state still faces ‘Critical Issues’
Published 10:05 am Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Economic development, educational achievements and a plug for a local Republican candidate were the topics of the day during a stop by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam in Elizabethton on Tuesday.
Haslam said while progress is being made across the state in the areas of education and economic development, the state still has “critical issues” to address.
“While we have made progress in economic development, there are still too many Tennesseeans without a job,” Haslam said.
According to the Governor, new jobs are being created in Tennessee but more work needs to be done.
“The new unemployment filings are down,” he said. “We are a bit surprised the unemployment numbers have not dropped.”
The governor shared much the same opinion on the state of academic progress in Tennessee.
“We are the second-fastest growing state in the nation when it comes to improving education,” he said, but added the state still ranks low in the nation when it comes to test scores.
With talk across the state about Common Core – and the many pros and cons touted by people on both sides of the argument – Haslam said the state needs a “real commitment” to standards. However he admitted he isn’t sure if Common Core is the answer to the state’s educational woes.
“Let’s have the discussion be about standards, not about politics,” Haslam said.
Haslam traveled to Elizabethton on Tuesday along with Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey as part of a tour across the state where the pair are encouraging citizens to vote, and specifically to vote for the Republican nominees on the Nov. 4 ballot.
The Governor shared a story from when he first ran for mayor of Knoxville. The race was a close one, Haslam said, and days after the election was over he discussed the results with a friend at church.
“He said ‘If I had known it was going to be that close I would have went and voted,’” Haslam recalled of his friend. “This is one of my very best friends,” the governor said, laughing.
Ramsey also encouraged those who attended the meet-and-greet with the governor not only to get out and vote, but to also encourage their friends, families and coworkers to vote as well.
“Don’t take anything for granted,” Ramsey said.
Both Haslam and Ramsey voiced their support for Republican nominee John Holsclaw Jr., of Elizabethton. Holsclaw is seeking election to 4th District seat of the Tennessee House of Representatives, the seat previously held by Kent Williams. He will face Democratic nominee Rob Martin in the Nov. 4 election.
Holsclaw said he appreciated the show of support from the governor and lieutenant governor.
“It’s making a statement to the people of this community that the highway doesn’t stop in Knoxville; it continues on up here to Northeast Tennessee,” Holsclaw said. “It makes a statement that Nashville is going to be behind us.”
“We’ve got a lot of good things happening in Tennessee and I want to continue that progress,” he added.