Haslam on race to replace him: Lots of talk on illegal immigration, not so much on education

In a speech to the Collierville Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, Gov. Bill Haslam suggested that the candidates running to replace him are overly focused on things that don’t have much to do with being governor, like illegal immigration, and not so much on matters where a governor can have impact, like education and the TNReady testing system or TennCare financing.

From the Commercial Appeal:

“There’s a governor’s race going on now where there’s a whole lot of conversation about things that don’t really matter as much in what you do in the governor’s office,” he said. “There’s a whole lot of discussion about immigration and building a wall in Mexico and sanctuary cities. All of that, to be honest with you, is a federal issue and rarely comes across the governor’s office.”

From the Memphis Daily News:

Immigration issues and pledges to back Trump’s immigration policies as well as building the wall with Mexico have been featured prominently in television ads by Republican contenders Diane Black and Randy Boyd.

“What you need to be asking whoever your next governor is is who is going to keep the progress that we have going in education?” Haslam said. “How are we going to run TennCare so it doesn’t eat up our whole budget but it does hopefully take care of our most vulnerable citizens and pays those providers in the health care industry? And how do we keep a climate that keeps attracting great jobs and great businesses here so this can be a place where we want to raise our kids and grandkids.”

Haslam who is seven months away from completing his second and final term as governor said he will not endorse in the Aug. 2 statewide Republican primary for governor.

(Haslam is endorsing Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) in the House District 83 Republican primary, attending a Wednesday evening fundraiser for the incumbent facing a challenge from Doyle Silliman in the Aug. 2 GOP primary.)

… Haslam also said the recent problems with TNReady student achievement tests for a second consecutive year are emboldening critics who want to see the tests that are also used to evaluate teachers dropped.

“All of that was just like a kick in the stomach,” Haslam said of the problems in the testing process.

“There are a lot of folks that don’t want that year-end assessment of what a student learned to be a part of a teacher’s evaluation – a lot of people,” he said. “And every time we have an issue with a test this lends more credence to people who are saying, ‘You are putting too much weight on that. Let’s quit doing the test or quit having a teacher’s evaluation be a part of that.’ I just think that’s a big mistake for our state.”

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