State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver says she supports U.S. House Republicans in their efforts to get Senate Democrats and the Obama administration to make changes in or delay full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Weaver was in Smithville Friday for her monthly "Coffee and Conversations" town hall meeting.
The federal government has been in a partial shutdown since last Tuesday, October 1 as neither House Republicans or Senate Democrats have been willing to compromise on the budget to fully fund the government.
"As far as what the shutdown is doing, I say stand strong," said Representative Weaver. "This really makes us look at our priorities. The American people do not want Obama Care. I just encourage them (House Republicans) to stand strong. They have taken a look at every department. They are starting to whittle away things that are a waste. The taxpayers are frankly tired of toting the note. Will it affect Tennessee? We are okay right now. I have not heard any complaints from any departments yet," she said.
However, Representative Weaver became concerned when she learned from constituents and business owners in the area that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was closing boat ramps below the dam due to the government shut down.
Corps officials told WJLE Friday that while all day-use areas on the lake are officially closed, they are not gated and no barriers will be erected to prohibit public access. Campgrounds, however are gated and now closed to the public. Typically campgrounds close for the season by the end of October each year anyway.
On the issue of education, Representative Weaver said she recently toured schools in her district to get a first hand account of how the new standards are affected them. "After touring the schools in district 40 last month, it afforded me quality time with teachers, students, administrators, principals, and coaches. The new standards that have been put in place in our public schools have created a benchmark as to what is expected for our students to know by a certain grade level, so as to prepare them to be productive citizens in the workforce that awaits them," said Representative Weaver. " Schools in the 40th are hard-working. Proof? Three schools last month, two in Smith County and one in Trousdale, were awarded with having the most progress and performance. “Reward” schools is how the Tennessee Department of Education refers to them. These teachers and students have rolled up their sleeves and made significant improvements. It was such an honor to present these schools with state banners at last month's school board meetings," she said.
"Certainly the setting of higher goals in achievement is a good thing; however, my concern is the content of what is being taught in our public schools. Vladimir Lenin, the Russian Communist who understood the power of controlling schools, is quoted as saying, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” Seed is being sown into the hearts and minds of our children and we as parents, teachers, and yes, even legislators, in my humble opinion, should have a say in the choice of textbooks that infiltrate our schools. No Child Left Behind opened the floodgates and removed our local control, which birthed Common Core; in all its dangerous data-gathering, continuous testing, and the never-ending funding, these standards will cost our local schools. Tennessee got the one-time federal funding that Race to the Top provided, alright, and what comes with the package deal continues to unravel, more federal footprints. It grieves me that education has turned into some assembly line of car parts all manufactured in the same procedure, ignoring that each child is uniquely created by their Creator to fulfill His purposes. When I see the children in the district, I can only pray that their parents and grandparents will be watchmen on the wall when it comes to what is being taught to their very impressionable hearts and minds," said Representative Weaver.
Another issue Representative Weaver said she is concerned about is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, otherwise known as women harming their unborn babies with prescription drugs. "Medical professionals are outraged that there is no law to cover this," said Weaver. " With Tennessee being number one in the nation overmedicated with prescriptions, is it any wonder there is such a growing number of babies being born addicted? East Tennessee Childrens Hospital hosted a very informative conference which I attended, meeting numerous others who work hands-on in this heartbreaking episode of prescription drugs. Awareness is turning the lights on. It is my hope that we as a state put something in place that would decrease the number of babies being born addicted and get mothers on their way back to total wholeness," she said.
On highways and bridges, Representative Weaver said she is pleased with the progress being made in this district and throughout the state. "A ribbon-cutting occurred on Hurricane Bridge in DeKalb County in August, the Cordell Hull Bridge is moving along nicely, as is the 109 Bridge in Sumner County." said Weaver. "I was asked about the 109 HWY and what can be done to expedite the four lanes from Interstate 40 to Gallatin. Traveling that stretch of road almost daily, it could not be soon enough. Attending Region 2 and Region 3 Summit meetings that provide TDOT's mission statement, we can be proud that we are spending less per capita than any other state in the nation; Tennessee is second, Texas being first, for best infrastructure in the nation; and we are one out of five states with no debt. We are fiscally conservative indeed; however, there are some serious transportation revenue issues looming and we can no longer keep our head in the sand concerning how we fund our roads and bridges going forward. Gas tax no longer meets the needs, and federal funding is even iffy. Visit the 25-Year Long-Range Transportation Plan website, take the survey, and share your thoughts on transportation needs and how we can keep Tennessee moving, www.tdot.state.tn.us/transportationplan," Representative Weaver admonished.
Working to make Tennessee friendly for new businesses is also priority, according to Weave. "Forbes magazine released its 2013 “Best States For Business” ranking this week, and we moved up the list to number 15, nine spots better than last year. To be employed and able to provide for one's family is a blessing, indeed. To have businesses relocate because they can thrive and grow in our state, thus being able to hire more individuals, is a testimony that we are on the right track. It is with a grateful heart that we thank the folks of Zwirner Equipment Company for opening their new facility in Trousdale. Investing $750,000 that will create 24 new jobs is an answer to prayer for many here in the 40th district. I pray blessings of prosperity and success on all Zwirner's endeavors. Any one interested in applying with Zwirner can email to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org," said Representative Weaver.