Town Hall Meeting Well Attended

Town Hall MeetingThe first of what is expected to become an annual Town Hall Meeting, held Tuesday, evening, December 16, 2014 at the Fentress Co. Courthouse in Jamestown, was very well attended.

The purpose of the meeting was to focus on the concerns of Fentress County residents prior to the opening of the 109th General Assembly on January 13th, 2015.

The event will be co-moderated by Fentress County Executive J. Michael Cross, General Sessions Judge Todd Burnett, and John B. Mullinix, former County Executive and current news reporter for WDEB Radio.

Guests included State Repre-sentative John Mark Windle and Josh Warren, Legislative Assistant to State Represen-tative Kelly Keisling.

State Senator Ken Yager and US Representative to Congress Diane Black had been invited to the event, but could not attend due to scheduling conflicts.

Fentress County Executive Cross called the session to order and welcomed the large crowd which filled about 2/3 of the courtroom, and introduced co-moderators Burnett and Mullinix.

Former Co. Executive Mullinix commented:  “The legislature will be meeting in January.  Sometimes we don’t get to talk to them one on one, and there are a lot of issues we’re concerned about.  We realize they are busy, but they need to know what’s on our minds when they assemble in the legislature.  This meeting is a way of letting them know our concerns.”

General Sessions Judge Todd Burnett also welcomed the crowd, thanking them for coming out and taking part in the public forum, stating:  “I want to hear your concerns and talk to people on the state level.  We would have liked for Senator Yager and Congresswoman Black to have been able to be with us, but we realize that both are very busy and sent apologies because conflicts with their schedules prohibited them from being here.”

Executive Cross then stated: “During the last 4 years, I’ve probably spent 40 days or more in the legislature in Nashville with Representatives Windle and Keisling and Senator Yager, who are all working hard and are representing our county very well.

One of the first questions raised was by Daniel Smith, a small businessman who expressed  concern for the failure of the State of Tennessee to impose taxes on Internet sales, stating this created an “unlevel playing field” for small businesses who had to collect state sales taxes on products they sell.

He also expressed concern that while individuals could list their telephone numbers on the “do not call” list to prohibit telemarkers from calling them, businesses could not, which created another problem for small businesses.

Representative Windle said that the Legislature could pass laws to implement these changes, but at the present time, there were strong lobbies by the “big player” to prevent this from happening.

There were also concerns raised by several individuals about the need to get the new bridge built over Clear Creek and get Highway 127 upgraded from Clarkrange to Interstate 40 in Crossville.

Representative Windle said that while most of the property had already been bought for the road upgrades and the new proposed bridge, that until Congress does something about the Highway Trust Fund, he expects to see very limited new highway construction in Tennessee, although construction on the first phase of the Highway 127 improvement project is expected to begin in 2015.

There were also questions raised and discussion of our 2nd Amendment Rights–the right to bear arms.  The general concensus was that with the national move to take away our 2nd Amendment Rights, we must remain vigilent on this matter.

Read the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Courier.