Despite Haslam's call, Republicans, Democrats renew attacks

Despite Haslam's call, Republicans, Democrats renew attacks

March 10th, 2011 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

NASHVILLE - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's bipartisan call for lawmakers to tone down their harsh accusations over legislation affecting teachers appears to be falling on deaf ears.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, who last week charged that Democrats have been "bought and paid for by the unions," blamed Democratic leaders Thursday for "getting out of hand."

"When we saw (House Democratic Caucus Chairman] Mike Turner standing up on the Capitol last week and calling us terrorists because we're trying to get a quality teacher in every classroom, that has crossed the line," Ramsey told reporters.

The speaker also accused Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester of calling "us fascists because we passed a bill that simply says you don't have to be a member of the [teachers] union to serve on the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement system."

In an e-mail supplied by Ramsey's office, Forrester last week issued an appeal to Democrats to attend last Saturday's rally on behalf of teachers.

"Make no mistake about it; this is a political attack on teachers for supporting democratic [sic] leaders who have stood up for education in our state," the e-mail said. "If passed, these fascist measures will silence the voice of teachers working to improve our schools, communities and our state.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.