Republican wins are good for state

On November 4, 2010, in News 2010, by Mark Norris

Senator Mark Norris,

November 4, 2010

History was made Tuesday night as the people made their voices heard, bringing sweeping victories for Republicans.

Tennesseans, like the overwhelming majority of Americans, have sent a resounding message to Democrats, both in Washington and in our state, that enough is enough.

For the first time in state history, Tennessee will have a Republican governor, Republican state Senate and a clear Republican majority in the state House of Representatives. The people of this state elected three new Republicans to the U.S. Congress, changing the delegation makeup to seven and two, which is the largest the citizens of this state have ever sent to Washington.

The state Senate, with the addition of a new Republican senator, now stands at 20–13, a historic majority. The House gained 14 new seats, moving their numbers to a solid 64–34-1 majority. Republican Gov.-elect Bill Haslam was elected in a landslide, especially considering the substantial Democratic support behind their gubernatorial candidate.

In the Sixth Congressional district, the people elected the first Republican and woman to Congress from that district in state history, as well as giving landmark victories to Republicans in the Fourth and Eighth District congressional seats.

Our values trump tradition

It is time to govern and let the people’s voice be heard. This includes reining in spending, holding down taxes, and creating jobs by imposing less government regulation. It is these basic Republican principles that resonated with Tennesseans by breaking down longheld political party barriers in many areas of the state that have been represented by Democrats in the past through tradition rather than values. These conservative values also resonated with independents who spoke clearly through the ballot box that they want to take their government back.

In the shadow of this historic victory, Republicans are humbled by the trust that Tennesseans have placed in us to govern. We also remain resolved to implement the conservative policies that we took to the people during these elections.

These changes come at a pivotal time. On the state level, Gov.-elect Haslam and members of the 107th General Assembly, have a big financial challenge on our hands. Nearly $2 billion in nonrecurring funds have helped Tennessee’s 2010-11 budget recover from recession related revenue shortfalls. With those funds expiring, we must truly tighten our belt until the economy improves.

Republicans tackled the tough job of fiscal responsibility last year, as Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally and his fellow GOP senators made difficult decisions to identify cuts in a fiscally responsible manner. It is a tough but necessary task. Republicans also rejected tax increases sponsored by Democrats and proposed in the governor’s budget earlier this year, and we will continue to hold the line on taxes in the upcoming legislative session so we have the kind of economic climate needed to create jobs.

Republicans take to heart the considerable task that Tennesseans have placed in their hands. We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work as we chart a new course for the future of this state.

To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, you have given us the tools; now, we must finish the job.

State Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, represents, Dyer, Lauderdale, Tipton and part of Shelby counties. He is chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference.

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