Greetings Fabulous Folks of the Fortieth!
The American Academy for Parks and Recreation has awarded Tennessee as one of four finalists for best parks in the nation this past week. Tennessee is home to 56 state parks, one of which is about ten minutes from our home in Lancaster.  After church tomorrow, my eldest grandson will be joining me for a hike on Merritt Ridge, one of Edgar Evins’s more challenging trails surrounded by Center Hill Lake. I cannot think of a better way to spend some quality time with the ones you love than to head to the great outdoors. In Tennessee there is a whole lot of beauty to behold. Hopefully my most favorite season of the year will show up soon, sending these 90 degrees and higher temps far behind us!

Except for Trousdale County, I have just finished my 2019 School Tour. September 17th has been recognized as Constitution Day in our schools across this state. Delivering Constitutions to 8th graders and seniors, reading to elementary students a story of Lady Freedom, sharing my story about visiting my aunt and her family who lived in East Germany (behind the Berlin Wall) and how communism and socialism is death to Freedom, and hearing from teachers and principals alike, gave me a good pulse of the schools I serve in House District 40.  Our schools are busting at the seams and the need for teachers for this growth is hard to fill.  One in three Tennessee teachers said they would choose another career if given the chance according to the recent TN Educators Survey. Three-fourths of our teachers are positive about the way their school is run and 90% say they would recommend their school to parents.  I most certainly commend these caring souls for the work they do in every classroom.

Next week the House Education Committee will be convening for summer study as the Department of Education brings us updates on assessment and early grade literacy. Higher education bills that were assigned to summer study will be reviewed as well.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it along to our children in our bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it what like in the United States where men were free.” – Ronald Reagan

More than just drivers, EMS Services are essential to patient care. What I call “Mobile Medical ER on Wheels,” these people are vital to our rural communities. Having brought all stakeholders to a meeting with the Governor, I am in hopes for a solution for House Bill 1175 going forward.  When session resumes in January, HB1175 will have another go of it. Its companion bill passed in the Senate.

As Transportation Chairwoman, I met with Commissioner Bright and TDOT concerning road projects in my district, and I have continued working on funding for expanding exits such as Exit 258 in Smith County. Trains are also vital to rural areas. Transporting items such as sand and crushed rock closer to construction areas where large trucks can then transport materials makes for fewer trucks on the road. And I am good with that!

I leave you with this fact. According to a poll of 1.5 million folks, it is said that Tennessee is the second friendliest state in the nation. Minnesota being the first? Hmmm. They went on to say Tennessee charm, hospitality, and the lively music scene were why we got such a high ranking. The land of sweet tea and grits ought to count for something, right?

Please remember to join me at any four of my Coffee Conversations in the Fabulous Fortieth on Friday Mornings at 8 A.M.

First Friday Patty’s Restaurant in Smithville
Second Friday at Early Bird Café in Hartsville
Third Friday at Smith County Chamber Building 
Fourth Friday at Mable’s in Gallatin

It is a pleasure to serve and work for you.

Terri Lynn Weaver

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