By Sue Jean Wilson
Unicoi County Commission Chairman
Our state legislature is at it again.
Back in the 1980s, legislators passed the Better Education Plan, which had many educational improvements needed in our state. The one section of this legislation that, in my opinion, took away one of our civil rights: the elected superintendent of schools.
Now some of them are trying to take away dues deduction from teachers who belong to the Tennessee Education Association. Not only would their dues deductions stop, teachers would be prohibited to use that money for political purposes.
There is also a bill that, if passed, would deny city and county employees from the same payroll choice. If legislators are successful, when will they try to stop dues deduction for railroad employees?
Now, excuse me, but where do we live, Tripoli? Did not and do not our armed forces fight and die to protect our rights as free citizens?
As free citizens of the United States of America and the Volunteer State, it is our responsibility to let our legislators, Rep. David Hawk and state Sen. Steve Southerland know that if SB0113/HB0130 and SB0136/HB0159 are passed out of committee, we want them to vote NO!
There is another bill of local interest, SB0333/HB018, that allow the re-establishment of the elected office of school superintendent upon two-thirds vote of the local governing body, your county commission. If our county commission voted in the positive, then the resolution would be placed on a ballot for YOU, the citizens, to decide if you want this position to be appointed or elected.
Protecting the rights of every citizen is the responsibility of each voting individual of our county, state and nation. Sitting back and allowing our elected officials to take away the right to decide how our paycheck is spent would be a travesty. They have already taken away our right to elect the highest paid official of our county.
This nation was built by workers and teachers, whether they belonged to a union, association or not.
Our county is one that has seen our young people go off to war, spend years in prisoner-of-war camps, come back to make us proud whether they survived or gave their lives. Let us show that we deserve their sacrifices.
By Sue Jean Wilson