Alexander Tells Jefferson City Rotary, College Students: Just Look Around the Room to See What’s Right with America

Praises Rotary partnership to help Boys & Girls Club, Carson-Newman College recognition as “College of Distinction,” new $3.1 million Jefferson City Library

Posted on August 29, 2016

Jefferson City, Tenn., August 29, 2016 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today praised the work of members of the Jefferson City Rotary to help renovate a local Boys & Girls Club, and told them that “while it’s easy these days to hear about what is wrong with America, it’s easy to see what is right—just look around the room.”

“You all have contributed $10,000 to make a nicer club facility for the children who are helped so much by the Boys & Girls Club,” Alexander said. “That’s the true American spirit. I celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service last week at the Smokies, the most visited national park by far, which couldn’t run without the help of 2,500 volunteers each year. That might include some people in this room. That's also the American spirit."

Alexander talked about other good things happening in Jefferson County, including the opening of the beautiful new Jefferson City library, the repeated recognition of Carson-Newman College as a “College of Distinction” and a “Christian College of Distinction.”

Alexander also spoke about what the United States Senate has being doing to help communities fight opioid addiction and overdoses, as well as his work last year to fix No Child Left Behind. He also spoke about his effort this year to pass legislation to spur cures and treatments.

“When Americans elected a Republican majority in the Senate in 2014, they were looking for results, and the Republican-led Senate is delivering,” Alexander said. “Last year, the Senate passed legislation to fix No Child Left Behind and reverse the trend toward the National School Board that has been running our classrooms for over a decade. The president signed the law in December, calling it “a Christmas miracle.”

Alexander continued, “The Wall Street Journal called the law “the largest devolution of federal power to the states in a quarter century. No more Common Core mandate, no more federal test-based accountability, no more teacher evaluation mandates. My guiding principle, basically, is I think Washington ought to decide less, and let states, communities and individuals decide more, and this law finally sends responsibility for education back into the hands of those closest to the students.”

Speaking to Jefferson City Rotary members and faculty, staff and College Republicans from Carson-Newman University, Alexander, who is chairman of the Senate education committee, said he had been working this year to make sure the law was implemented properly and encouraged rotary members to join the effort.

“Many of you have children and grandchildren in Jefferson County and Jefferson City schools. Their teachers need to hear from you. So does everyone from your school board up to your state legislators and governor, as well as your senators and congressmen. We need your feedback as the state and your local school district begin to set their own high standards of learning without Washington telling them what to do or how to do it. I’m asking for your help. Keep the pressure on. Be sure to stay involved and stay in touch with me and my office as we work to ensure Washington stays out of our classrooms.”

Addressing the opioid epidemic, Alexander said it is “an epidemic that is claiming more lives than gunshots or car wrecks each year in Tennessee.”

“The opioid epidemic is a battle being fought state by state, county by county, doctor’s office by doctor’s office. Soon, Tennessee will have new support to help win their fight against addiction to prescription opioid painkillers and heroin. On July 22, the president signed legislation into law that will help arm paramedic and law enforcement with life-saving medication to reverse opioid overdoses, so they can save lives and give more people second chances to get free of addiction. It will also help individuals struggling with addiction to access treatment.”

Alexander added the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved all 12 appropriations bills for the second consecutive year, including a funding bill he wrote with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that sets priorities for energy research and waterways infrastructure. He said the Senate has also passed the first major bill in more than eight years.

“These are only a few of the significant strides we have made. Under Republican leadership, the Senate has debated and passed more than 244 bills this Congress – and more than 146 of those have been signed by the president. The Washington Times reported on July 11 that the Senate is off to its most productive start since 1990 and is “passing bills at [a] rate not seen in decades.”

Alexander also said he is working to pass the “most important legislation this year” – the 21st Century Cures legislation, which will help virtually every American by supporting work to develop a universal flu vaccine and a vaccine for the Zika virus, non-addictive pain medication, and the ability to identify individuals at high risk of Alzheimer’s before symptoms develop, among other medical breakthroughs.



For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

To stay up-to-date on the senator’s latest actions, follow him on Twitter and YouTube.