There are fewer people working in Anderson County than at the beginning of the year, and Rep. John Ragan isn’t doing enough to create and keep jobs in Tennessee, a state Democratic Party official said.
“While jobs are leaving Anderson County, Mr. Ragan continues to put on a show for voters because he has nothing to show for his time in office,” Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said in a blog post last week. “These are the consequences of partisan politics–a legislature that is focused on protecting schoolyard bullies instead of putting Tennesseans back to work.”
But in an e-mailed response, Ragan said the state’s unemployment rate is moving in the right direction, and the Tennessee General Assembly has passed critical pro-job legislation during the past two years.
“We have lowered taxes for all Tennesseans, cut needless business regulations, fought to end frivolous lawsuits, and passed landmark education reform,” said Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican.
He said the Anderson County unemployment rate was 8.7 percent when former Rep. Jim Hackworth, a Clinton Democrat, left office in 2010, and it’s now down to 7.8 percent.
“While that is still unacceptably high, we are moving in the right direction,” said Ragan, a first-term legislator.
Ragan and Hackworth face off in the Nov. 6 state election. Ragan beat Hackworth, a four-term legislator, in the November 2010 election.
Democrats have been critical of changes to the educational system since Republicans won control of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Senate, and governor’s office that year.
“John Ragan stood before a group of current and retired teachers and told them that tenure was, ‘not a property right anymore,'” Forrester said. ” John Ragan has no idea the commitment it takes to be a teacher, and it is shameful that he would malign our hard-working educators.”
In his response, Ragan said K-12 education in Tennessee ranked among the worst in the country under Hackworth–as did tax increases and bigger government.