Norris News – January 6, 2017

On January 6, 2017, in News from Nashville 2017, by Mark Norris

High Hopes for 2017!

The 110th General Assembly convenes on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

Those of us who had the honor to be re-elected by our constituents last November will take the oath of office. Chris will be with me to hold our family Bible as I’m sworn into my fifth term of office at Noon.

We will also welcome one new member, Senator Jon Lundberg, of Bristol. He previously served in the House of Representatives and was elected last year to replace the retiring Ron Ramsey.

Chris and me getting out in the woods one last time before session starts.

Chris and me getting out in the woods one last time before session starts.

Things were different when I first took office in 2000. Republicans were in the minority then — only 15 out of 33. Ron Ramsey and I made a team. He sometimes called us Tennessee “bookends.” He was from Bristol and I from Collierville. Ron could drive to Canada quicker than Canada Road in Shelby County, but we covered the 3 Grand Divisions between us over the next 16 years focusing on what unites, rather than divides, our grand divisions — our Great State.

We won the majority in 2007 for the first time in over 150 years. He became Speaker, and I succeeded him as the Republican Leader. But I was the first Republican Senate Majority Leader from West Tennessee to be elected by my colleagues, and as we grew our majority into the “super majority” we celebrate today (28 Republicans out of 33), they re-elected me as their Leader an unprecedented five additional times. I am honored to begin my 6th term as the Republican Leader this year.

During my tenure as Leader, we have cut more taxes than ever — the Death (Inheritance) Tax, the Gift Tax, the Hall Tax and the sales tax on food. I’ve proudly sponsored the laws eliminating more than a half-billion dollars in tax burden.

Our economy is strong. Economic growth is, too. But we need to do better by our children and senior citizens, too. Crime and punishment and education and workforce development are of critical concern.

It matters who leads. It matters who governs. The record speaks for itself. Our primary responsibility is to provide for the peace, safety, and happiness of Tennesseans. Whether we keep Tennessee safe requires keeping Tennessee strong. Who leads and how we govern matters. It is my honor to serve you.

2017 LEAP Report

The 2017 LEAP (Labor Education Alignment Program) report was released yesterday, and there’s good news to report since I fist introduced the measure in 2013. Click here to read the report.

Meeting with municipal school superintendents and boards this week.

Meeting with municipal school superintendents and boards this week.

I designed LEAP to facilitate a collaborative alignment of resources dedicated to closing the skills gap between our schools, our workforce and the needs of advanced industries with higher paying jobs. It is important because we have the human capital to meet those needs but have often lacked the ability to invest where it counts. The proper alignment of labor and education provides a pathway to prosperity along which Tennesseans can work, earn and learn.

And it’s working. 2065 college students were enrolled in LEAP programs with 938 receiving program completion or industry certification and finally 608 of those students were hired in the industry in which they studied.

We need to invest the resources necessary to expand LEAP and the opportunities it affords to Tennesseans in all 95 counties across the state!

You can read about the report in The Tennessean article HERE.


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