Hope heard for GM

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

About 110 people at the Marshall County Republican Party's Presidents Day Dinner last weekend heard state Sen. Bill Ketron talk about state spending cuts and his thoughts on the GM plant at Spring Hill.

County Party Chairman Mike Sherrell reported on Monday that Ketron cited at least two reasons that are favorable for the plant previously known at Saturn: The employees work ethic and the plant's central location.

"We know the impact of Saturn on this area," Sherrill said, noting another GM plat in Illinois is being compared to the plant at Spring Hill.

"The Saturn plant had the fewest days missed by employees compared to other plats in the nation," Sherrell reported, quoting Ketron. And two thirds of the nation's population is within a short shipping distance from the plant.

Ketron was the dinner speaker at the banquet held in the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Meanwhile, Ketron reported that Gov. Phil Bredesen promoting the idea of keeping the plant here open, the state senator said.

Ketron, a Murfreesboro Republican is sponsoring legislation in the General Assembly to consolidate the state Elections Commission into the Registry of Election Finance to economize on costs associated with enforcement of the state's new ethics laws.

"He said it's been erroneously reported that it's an attempt to do away with the committee," Sherrell said. "There are $365,000 to be saved by the combination."

Mention of the merger came during Ketron's discussion on "belt tightening," the local party chairman said of the idea to eliminate staff and use the same computers... like two businesses merging.

"There is no intent with what he's sponsoring to eliminate ethics investigations," Sherrell said. "They have investigated 30 ethics complaints. He felt that could be handled by one management group."

As for protecting funds for continued operations of the state Jersey heard here, Ketron had no new information but he took the opportunity to laud the storied dairy herd as well as the state's education system.

While Tennessee schools might be ranked 46th in the nation in funding, Ketron explained that is a result of the various different ways funding statisticsare maintained, Sherrell said.

"Some other systems plug into that the cost of central office folks and building programs which raises their expenditures," Sherrell said.

The Murfreesboro Republican also expressed regrets for people who've seen their 401K savings for retirement shrink because of the recession, people with 401-Ks, and Sherrell noted Ketron said those investors "may see a glimmer of hope... in the not too far off ... future. That is consistent with the national reports."

Because of the election next summer, Sherrell said he anticipates more speakers at the county party's Presidents Day Dinner.

"There will be candidates on the campaign trail for the GOP nomination," Sherrell said. "It might make for a long evening, but it would certainly be worthwhile."

Also Saturday night, the audience was entertained by a string combo playing patriotic music.