The fires in East Tennessee have taken a heavy toll on many Tennesseans. The Summers Family of Memphis is no exception. Our hearts go out to them. Our prayers are for them and all of the families affected by this great tragedy.

It’s a tragedy which transcends the Grand Divisions.

A loss for one is a loss for all.

We give thanks for Vanderbilt University Medical Center for their care of the surviving Summers family; for the women and men who are our first responders; for TEMA and the numerous departments of the State of Tennessee responding to the tragedy; for law enforcement, volunteers, public servants and all Good Samaritans who have helped in Tennesseans’ time of need.

And we should all give thanks to God for giving light despite the darkness.


November was Historic!

The election of Donald Trump on November 8 was historic in so many ways. I am grateful to have been re-elected to the Tennessee Senate by my constituents and as Majority Leader by my colleagues so we can work together with our new President to keep Tennessee safe and strong and make America great again!

This continuity of conservative leadership as we begin the 110th General Assembly is essential, and I’m proud to continue taking the lead as Tennessee leads the nation in “the 4 E’s of Tennessee” — employment, education, economic opportunity and enforcement of the law.

Addressing the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Board meeting in Memphis this week.

Senator McNally

In addition to my election as Leader, we also selected our nominee for the position of Speaker of the Senate. I was honored to nominate Senator Randy McNally to the post. Randy and I had a whirlwind tour of Shelby County on my “4 E’s” working tour of West Tennessee. I hosted the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness breakfast in Germantown; addressed the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce; participated in the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission’s launch of the new Operation: Safe Community event, and announced designation of the UT Health Science Center’s Addiction Science Institute as a Center of Excellence. Opioid addiction is an epidemic this Center can help us fight.

I’m glad to have had the opportunity to introduce Senator McNally to so many good Shelby County citizens.

Healthier Tennessee

LEAP

“LEAP is a statewide program designed to help post-secondary institutions provide students with the skills and credentials employers need through aligning education and industry. LEAP is the result of legislation introduced by Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.

Twelve LEAP collaborations have been awarded grants in 2016 to assist with programs in advanced manufacturing, mechatronics, health care and other workforce development initiatives throughout Tennessee.”

The new report is available HERE.

Healthier Tennessee

Capacity Grants

On Wednesday, November 16th, Governor Haslam announced $24.3 million in grants to support the capacity of Tennessee TCAT’s, community colleges and universities due to increased enrollment from Tennessee Promise. I was pleased that the Governor saw the importance of the proposed medical device institute in Bartlett and made a $4 million grant toward its development.

Shelby County is home to more medical device manufacturers and suppliers than almost any county in the United States. The medical device industry is Tennessee’s largest exporter, responsible for 17,000 local jobs. It contributes $2.6 billion to the economy and some $46 million in annual revenues to state and local governments.

It is incumbent on us to help ensure that the medical device industry remains a vital part of Tennessee’s economy. A ready, skilled workforce is essential, and this grant is significant.

TCAT Memphis, under the direction of Roland Raynor and his team, working with the City of Bartlett and the Haas Foundation, will utilize the $4 million grant to create a new, satellite campus supporting a new medical device institute.

This grant will enable students to pursue careers in advanced manufacturing with specific training in the medical device industry. As far as workforce development and education go, this is a giant step forward on West Tennessee’s pathway to prosperity.

Conferring the VETS Campus certification at CBU. Latest addition to 18 schools now recognized as "veteran friendly."

Conferring the VETS Campus certification at CBU. Latest addition to 18 schools now recognized as “veteran friendly.”

 

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