Tennessee editorial roundup

Published 10-31-2018

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Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:

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Oct. 27

Cleveland Daily Banner on a storm relief rally:

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In the murderous wake of Hurricane Michael - whose Category 4 winds blew through only two weeks after Hurricane Florence devastated the Carolinas - Tennessee's southernmost neighbors needed help.

They got it. And some of it came from a community that is no stranger to disaster.

Ironically, many Floridians and South

They got it. And some of it came from a community that is no stranger to disaster.

Ironically, many Floridians and South Georgians likely had never heard of this place called Cleveland and Bradley County, a midsized town in Southeast Tennessee that just seven years earlier had its heart ripped out in a storm outbreak that unleashed the wrath of five tornadoes . all coming within a 12-hour killing spree.

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Such vision led to the heartwarming turnout at the Hurricane Michael Relief Rally held Oct. 19. By no accident, its co-sponsors were WCLE Mix 104.1 FM and Life Care Centers of America, a pair of long-time Cleveland stalwarts who pride themselves on being integral parts of "The City With Spirit."

With its "Creating Commun

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Such vision led to the heartwarming turnout at the Hurricane Michael Relief Rally held Oct. 19. By no accident, its co-sponsors were WCLE Mix 104.1 FM and Life Care Centers of America, a pair of long-time Cleveland stalwarts who pride themselves on being integral parts of "The City With Spirit."

With its "Creating Community" slogan, the popular radio station served as a perfect partner for the home-based, elderly healthcare corporation that believes in the same ideal: creating communities in whatever communities it locates a facility.

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Volunteers swarmed the grounds of the Life Care Campbell Plaza, helping to unload boxes of relief items, and another group loaded them into an awaiting Operation Compassion truck that would be delivering the goods to the Panhandle.

Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks, who was on hand for the humanitarian effort, may have said it best when he told Cleveland Daily Banner Staff Writer Tim Siniard, "It's a way of life here. Cleveland always steps up. I'm proud to be a part of the Cleveland family."

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Online: http://clevelandbanner.com/

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Oct. 30

The Commercial Appeal of Memphis on the governor race:

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Both men seeking to follow Gov. Bill Haslam are respected men of character and conviction, intelligence, compassion and accomplishment.

Democrat Karl Dean, who has a law degree from Vanderbilt University, has shown considerable skills as a government leader.

He guided Nashville as mayor through the Great Recession and the 2010 flood, and he helped lay the groundwork for the city's current boom. Before he was mayor, he served the city as its law director and chief public defender.

Republican Bill Lee, with an engineering degree from Auburn University, has demonstrated his acumen as a business leader.

He has built his family's Lee Company to 1,200 employees and nearly a quarter billion in revenue. His contracting, facilities and home services firm was named the best large company to work for in Middle Tennessee in a survey conducted by The Tennessean.

Both men have run uncommonly (these days) and refreshingly mature and respectful campaigns, keeping their focus on their plans, concerns and hopes for the state, and their own experience and expertise, running on faith, not fear.

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Dean wants to boost funding for public schools and make teacher raises a priority. He opposes vouchers, which use tax dollars to support tuition for private or religious schools.

Lee says he would like to emulate local solutions like the success Innovation Zone schools in Memphis have seen, but he also favors vouchers.

Dean supports expanding Medicaid, which Haslam attempted unsuccessfully, to provide affordable health insurance to about 400,000 working poor Tennesseans.

Lee opposes Medicaid expansion as an old and unsustainable approach, and wants first to address the health care issues of cost and prevention.

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Each man has the potential to be a great governor. But given Karl Dean's more relevant experience and his success as mayor of Nashville, we believe he's more qualified and better prepared to lead state government.

Online: https://www.commercialappeal.com/

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Oct. 28

Johnson City Press on the governor and U.S. senate races:

Early on in the governor's race, Bill Lee distinguished himself from the field with his laser focus on the state's economic development needs, while largely steering clear of the partisan rancor that continues to divide the state and the nation.

Specifically, we have been impressed with the Republican nominee's approach to improving workforce development through public-private partnerships. Tennessee must provide more career-technical opportunities for high school students, and our education system is not as well equipped as private employers to respond trends and advances. Schools must rely on external expertise to help ready students for the workforce right out of the gate with practical knowledge and experience.

For Tennessee to improve economic opportunities for its citizens, it must provide them the knowledge and skills necessary to attract higher-paying jobs to the Volunteer State. Lee's experience in the business and agricultural sectors should help make that happen.

Lee also knows that Tennessee has a great need to improve its correctional system to prevent offenders from returning to incarceration after release. Recidivism is another barrier to the state's economic wellbeing, and better transitional programs are the only way to stop cycle. Like his approach to education, Lee says the state should rely on partnerships with business and industry to help inmates gain skills and find work.

We don't see eye to eye with every position Lee has taken in the campaign. While we agree that solving Tennessee's health care dilemma will require a long game to curb spiraling costs, the new governor will have to take immediate action to see that more Tennesseans are insured and to stop more hospitals from closing. Whether that means accepting Medicaid expansion or another method, Tennessee cannot keep stalling.

We also believe Lee should modify his position on school vouchers. As our Community Voices columnist Bill Smith consistently states, investment in public education is key to the state's success, and taking resources away is not a solution. Every student should be served well, and statistics back up the notion that public schools are the places to do so.

Our experience with Lee, though, tells us he is a well-reasoned man who listens as much as he speaks, which will serve him well as he navigates and evolves through such issues. He is best suited to work with our Republican-led state Legislature, and Tennessee cannot afford to be locked in a partisan quagmire. Like current Gov. Bill Haslam, Lee largely seems to stick to practical matters over divisive, base-rallying cultural actions.

The Johnson City Press recommends a vote for Bill Lee to be Tennessee's next governor.

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Phil Bredesen was good to Northeast Tennessee during his tenure as governor.

Unlike many Tennessee leaders from other parts of the state, Bredesen at no time acted as if the state ended in Knoxville. That was never more clear than in 2004 and 2005 when the people here rallied behind East Tennessee State University's bid to establish a pharmacy school.

At the time, the state and the nation were suffering from a shortage of pharmacists. Tennessee offered just one pharmacy school on the other side of the state at the University of Tennessee's Health Sciences Center in Memphis. Students had to leave their homes and families to travel across Tennessee or leave the state altogether.

The situation paralleled that of the early 1970s when the region lacked both primary care doctors and specialists needed to provide adequate health care to our rural communities. Northeast Tennessee eventually won a hard-fought battle against the interests in Knoxville and Memphis to see the medical school established at ETSU.

But unlike Gov. Winfield Dunn, Bredesen was with us. The state Legislature did not have to override a veto to bring a pharmacy school to ETSU. Bredesen carefully studied the proposal's economic aspects and the demand for graduates before siding with ETSU against the more powerful interests of UT.

That's what practical leaders do. They buck traditional politics and make decisions on what is best for people.

Practical is the most apt description of Bredesen's time as governor. He entered office knowing, for example, that a state income tax would never pass in a state known for its suspicions of government. It would have been a waste of time and energy to even suggest it.

At the same time Tennessee was advancing toward a supermajority in the Legislature after decades of Democratic dominance, Bredesen received statewide support as governor. The Democrat won every county in the state in his re-election bid in 2006, including those in this mountainous Republican stronghold.

Despite efforts to paint him as a partisan puppet, Tennesseans should know by now that he is anything but. Pundits would have us believe that this election is solely about the balance of the power in Washington, not who will best represent Tennessee's interests in Congress. Tennessee does not need just a yes-person to satisfy a single agenda in the Senate - it needs a practical, unconstrained thinker.

Bredesen is a known quantity and his record shows that he is committed to people across the state, regardless of party affiliation.

We recommend a vote for Phil Bredesen for U.S. Senate.

Online: https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/

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