Jobs Tour:

On September 24, 2011, in News 2011, by Mark Norris

By Tom Humphrey,
September 24, 2011

Jobs Tour: Democratic state legislators wrapped up a six-day “jobs tour” of the state on Saturday in Middle Tennessee after a visit to Knoxville on Friday.

“The No. 1 goal of this tour was to refocus our statewide conversation on jobs, and I think we succeeded tremendously,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner in a statement after Saturday’s travels in Putnam, Smith and Sumner counties.

The Knoxville portion, according to a news release, included a trip to Wright’s Cafeteria and a meeting with owner David Wright — perhaps best known statewide from being featured in a Bill Haslam campaign commercial aired by the Republican while running for governor — and City Council member Brenda Palmer. The Democrats also met with Greater Knoxville Chamber officials to discuss what was characterized as “bureaucratic hurdles to starting and expanding local businesses.”

Other Knoxville stops included Eason Architecture, Piper Communications. G2 Engineering and Quality Label and Tag.

Democrats plan to use what they’ve learned in drafting legislation for introduction in the 2012 legislative session, where Republicans hold lopsided majorities.

The Democratic tour has been derided by some Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris said it should be focused on apologizing for President Obama’s failure to produce jobs.

But, Haslam told the online news service TNReport that he basically sees it as a good thing.

“I think it’s great. I think it’s where we all need to be focused,” Haslam said in Memphis. “So I certainly don’t have a problem with them doing that.

“Obviously, an important thing is I hope they’re talking to folks who are making capital investments, because at the end of the day that’s who creates jobs. We can talk about all the programs we want, but at the end of the day we need individuals and companies who are willing to put their capital at risk to grow.”

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