The Annual Ron Ramsey Fall Media Avail
When the legislature is not in session, Lieutenant Gov. Ron Ramsey doesn’t spend a whole lot of time in Nashville. So, usually every fall he ends up in town and sits down with the media for an extended availability. These are usually ” ask me anything” kind of sessions where we just start throwing out questions. Ramsey isn’t one to mince words, and the availabilities are usually pretty entertaining. Today was no different.
First, he mentioned that he had started looking at committee assignments and hadn’t really made any decisions yet. With a supermajority and a lot of new members, these committees are going to look pretty different next year. He also mentioned everyone might not get what they want. He pointed to the fact that there are now three doctors in the Senate that probably would all like to be on the Health Committee. He did say he plans to have those done by the end of the first week of session.
Ramsey also talked a lot about school vouchers, although the preferred Republican term is “opportunity scholarship.” He indicated that the Senate was ready to move forward on these regardless of whether the governor makes it a part of his agenda. Sen. Brian Kelsey introduced the original bill a few years back and Ramsey said he’ll take the lead on this. Ramsey also said he would make sure the committees were stacked to ensure its passage. There’s still a lot that hasn’t been decided here– the amount of the voucher, who is eligible and the scope of the project–but it’s coming.
The most entertaining comments were made about the secession petitions that have been submitted to the White House and Republicans in Congress backing off the Grover Norquist “no taxes” pledge.
“There’s going to come a day I suppose when Barack Obama or somebody else is going to say Tennessee you need to help bail out Illinois, you need to help bail out California and that’s the day there’s going to be some kind of reckoning. I’m not talking secession, but there’s going to be a day when governors say, ‘that’s it, I’m not doing it anymore’”. I can see the frustration that people have out there, that you live in a state like Texas, you live in a state like Tennessee that’s well run. You watch what’s going on in Washington D.C. that’s past a train wreck and there’s frustration there. But secession is not a legitimate way. That didn’t work out too good the first time and I don’t think it would work the second time.”
On the Norquist pledge:
“If they break that pledge and I can understand why [Sen. Bob Corker] is where he is, because something is going to have to give. Make sure that you have slit your wrist and put them together promises that you know these budget cuts are going to happen. ”
That last quote was made with corresponding wrist-slitting blood bond gestures.