Resolution Passes with Unanimous Support at Statewide Convention
Press release, MURFREESBORO, TN - The Biennial Convention of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women (TFRW) approved a resolution Saturday supporting school voucher legislation currently before the general assembly.
“We’re excited to have the resolution unanimously adopted by our members. It underlined the long-held Republican principle of freedom of choice for parents and taxpayers. With the excellent leadership of our TFRW President, Linda D. Buckles, we look forward to working with our elected Representatives to uphold the Republican platform and make school choice a reality in Tennessee,” said Susan Shipley, President of the Greater Kingsport Republican Women.
At least one bill is advancing in the Tennessee General Assembly to provide opportunity scholarships or “school vouchers,” pending a vote in a key House Finance Committee. School choice—and specifically school vouchers—is an issue that has achieved uniform support across the Republican Presidential candidate field and the Republican National Committee’s Platform on Consumer Choice in Education.
In a video greeting to the Convention Friday evening, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) repeated his campaign message to “repeal common core and champion school choice, the civil rights issue of our generation.” Senator Cruz is one of many candidates standing up for the Republican party’s position on school choice, with other leading candidates Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal and Ben Carson, all having voiced support for school choice.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey expected the resolution to pass: “The TFRW has for decades stood for strong conservative values and principles. Republican women are the heart and soul of our party. It is thus no surprise that they have made this strong statement in favor of school choice. No parent should have to wake up every morning knowing they have no choice but to send their child to a failing school. Republican women recognize this more than anyone."
State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Shelby County), a vocal proponent of vouchers, was also encouraged by the support: “The Tennessee Republican women recognize that school choice is a conservative value. Hopefully, our Republican legislature will, too.”
Organizations opposing Tennessee’s school choice legislation include the Tennessee affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA) and the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS). The NEA recently experienced internal strife after their supporters of Bernie Sanders objected to the NEA’s early endorsement of Hillary Clinton, while TOSS is represented by attorney Chuck Cagle, a recently controversial figure in Tennessee political circles.
The Tennessee Federation of Republican Women has not been shy about standing up for conservative principles in the past. Last year the Tennessee Municipal League and several other taxpayer-funded organizations opposed a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) that would have banned annexation without voter consent. After receiving the endorsement of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women at their 2013 convention in Kingsport, the legislation passed the House of Representatives in 2014 with near unanimous GOP support.