Gov. Bill Haslam said in a speech this week that his efforts to reform the public education system will ultimately lift Tennesseans out of poverty, according to The Commercial Appeal.
The speech, held at the First Tuesday GOP luncheon club in Nashville, was Haslam’s effort to dispel what he called myths about the Republican Party.
From the article:
“Republicans don’t not believe in government. We believe in it so much we just think it should be done right and done in the cheapest and most effective way possible,” he said.
“The second conversation that’s out there today that you hear a lot about across the country is growing income inequality. My point would be, that’s a reality and as Republicans we shouldn’t be denying that. We shouldn’t being saying, ‘Oh, no, no, no, that’s just something the liberals are making up to make wealthy people seem and feel bad.’
“It’s hard to argue with the fact of growing income inequality. The question is, what do we do about it. The Republican answer, and I think the smart answer, is to say we need to do everything we can to give everybody the opportunity they deserve. It’s one of the reasons I focus so much on education. It’s the critical issue facing us as a state,” Haslam said.
Since Haslam has taken office, he has pushed for both dramatic reform, such as state takeover of failing schools, and more accountability of underperforming teachers and principals.
“There’s some people who would say we have this growing income inequality and we can just tax more people at the top end and that will help more people at the bottom end. But we’ve been trying that for 50 years — all the Great Society programs — and the problem has only gotten worse.
“Our answer is, let’s help on the front end by providing people opportunities because we’ve seen that helping on the back end doesn’t ever catch up and it’s incredibly expensive. So we’re making a real effort to do that in Tennessee …”