111th General Assembly Honors Martin Luther King, Pledges To Fight Racism

This week in Nashville, House Republicans formally honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life with a resolution noting all he did to bring us together. The measure also pledges to fight racism of all types in Tennessee.

 Members of the House leadership team introduced the measure during Wednesday morning’s session in the House chamber. It was later passed unanimously by the entire Tennessee General Assembly, sending a message that racism and hatred will not be tolerated in our state.

 Dr. King was a prominent civil rights leader who emphasized peaceful demonstration and inspired young men and women across the country to draw attention to the injustices done solely because of race.

 House Republicans are committed to honoring his incredible legacy and making King’s dream come to fruition by ensuring Tennessee is a place where equality, justice, freedom, and peace continue to grow and flourish.

Tennessee Reconnect Continues Extraordinary Success

When Republican leaders created Tennessee Reconnect in 2017, an estimated 7,000 adults were expected to benefit from this groundbreaking education initiative. New numbers recently released by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) indicate that Reconnect has greatly exceeded those early expectations.

Through Jan. 15, more than 38,000 Tennesseans have already applied for the Reconnect Grant, which provides all adults without a degree access to community or technical college tuition-free, and at absolutely no cost to taxpayers. A quick snapshot of applicant data reveals:

  • The average applicant age was 33.7.
  • 56 percent had children.
  • 50 percent of applicants earned $25,000 or less annually.
  • 85 percent had high school diplomas.
  • Women made up almost 71 percent of all applicants as of September 2018.

Both Tennessee Reconnect and Tennessee Promise are programs under the Drive to 55, an initiative spearheaded by Republicans to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. Studies show that by 2025, at least half the jobs in Tennessee will require a college degree or certificate.

 By preparing our citizens with the education and training needed to fill the high quality jobs on their way, we are strengthening the foundations of our citizens so they can excel at all levels of their careers.

Tennessee Unemployment Holds Steady During December

Statewide Unemployment Rate Remains at 3.6 percent for Second Consecutive Month

New data released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development shows Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rates remain near record low levels.

The seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for December 2018 was 3.6 percent, which mirrored the rate from November.

Since 2011, House Republicans have supported a business-friendly environment that has led to the creation of more than 400,000 new private sector jobs. Additionally, Tennessee’s median household income is growing at the second fastest rate in the entire southeast.

Republican leaders will continue to focus on backing commonsense initiatives and eliminating burdensome regulations that hinder job growth. This will guarantee our state remains open for business.

Governor Lee Issues First Executive Order to Address Accelerated Transformation of Rural Areas

All executive departments required to assess rural impact and provide recommendations

This week, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued his first executive order, requiring all state executive departments to issue a statement of rural impact and provide recommendations for better serving rural Tennessee.

This executive order is the first step by the administration to accelerate plans to address 15 distressed counties in Tennessee — all rural. The order requires each executive department to submit a statement of rural impact explaining how the department serves rural Tennesseans no later than May 31, 2019 and recommendations for improving that service by June 30, 2019.

There are 22 executive departments that will engage in this review and recommendation process. Distressed counties rank among the 10 percent most economically distressed counties in the nation. Each year, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) prepares an index of county economic status for every county in the United States.

Lake, Lauderdale, Hardeman, McNairy, Perry, Jackson, Clay, Grundy, Van Buren, Bledsoe, Fentress, Morgan, Scott, Hancock, and Cocke Counties are categorized as distressed counties.  

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