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Bill Haslam is continuing his move away from his self-styled image as a moderate consensus builder and towards a partisan and exclusionary Governor. Today, after Democrats have been calling for weeks to solve the problem of ever-increasing tuition rates at our public colleges and universities, Haslam convened a roundtable meeting that included corporate special interests and the Republican leadership, but no Democratic lawmakers.
Leader Craig Fitzhugh released this statement in response to this meeting:
“While I commend Governor Bill Haslam on beginning a review of higher education, I am disappointed that he has chosen to do so in a partisan manner. When it comes to higher education, we need a diversity of opinions—not the party line. Every major education reform—from Career Ladder to the Basic Education Plan to the Complete College Act—has been done on a bipartisan basis. Yet when the review team meets for the first time today, not a single member of the minority party will be present. We are disappointed that Governor Haslam has chosen to ignoreTennessee’s successful history of bipartisan reforms by excluding legislators from the minority party. House Democrats stand ready to have a serious discussion about higher education. We hope Governor Haslam will reconsider his actions and take a more balanced, bipartisan approach going forward.”
This is in stark contrast to Haslam’s predecessor, Gov. Bredesen, who governed this state in the smart, effective and bi-partisan manner that Tennesseans wanted.
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