Tea pary slams Haslam, Harwell over teacher bargaining bill

Tea pary slams Haslam, Harwell over teacher bargaining bill

March 5th, 2011 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

NASHVILLE - Tea party leaders at a rally today lashed out at Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and House Speaker Beth Harwell for not strongly supporting a proposal to outlaw collective bargaining for teachers.

Raymond Baker, of Williamson, County, likened Haslam and Harwell to former Republican Gov. Don Sundquist, who unsuccessfully pushed for a state income tax in 2002.

"And I want to turn around and say ... Bill Haslam, where are you?" Baker said to the cheering crowd of at least 200 people outside the state Capitol. "Where are you? These people who probably voted for you ... they're standing in the rain trying to tell you something. Speaker Harwell, where are you?"

He listed Republican governors elected in other states last year and singled out Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is pushing legislation to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employee unions.

"We got Mr. Rogers," Baker said as the crowd erupted in laughter.

Teachers later began their own rally at Legislative Plaza against the anti-union legislation.

Haslam has refused to take a position on the collective bargaining proposal in the Tennessee General Assembly, saying he is focused on his own initiatives such as toughening teacher tenure requirements.