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March Newsletter & Voucher Update

Our fight here at the General Assembly against Governor Lee’s voucher scheme intensified this past week, as my colleagues and I are once again renewing our call for the resignation of Dept. of Education Commissioner Lizzette Reynolds.

We have serious concerns about the Commissioner’s qualifications for the job, as state law mandates that the Education Commissioner be a licensed teacher in the state – a requirement Reynolds doesn’t meet. I have requested an AG opinion on this matter and am expecting an answer any day. Additionally, I found out that Reynolds has been residing full-time in Texas, despite being in charge of Tennessee’s $9 billion education budget. 

It seems that Reynolds was brought to Tennessee solely to push this scheme, which would act like a tapeworm to the funding of our public schools, despite having no real ties or investment in our state. 

This week I’ll be running HB 2736, which would enable the general assembly to remove an unqualified commissioner with a three-fourths vote. I’m encouraged by colleagues from both sides of the aisle who are expressing similar concerns about Commissioner Reynolds and voucher expansion.

However, despite opposition from rural school boards and superintendents across the state, the voucher bill unfortunately passed the K-12 subcommittee this week.

I’m not giving up in the fight to protect funding for Tennessee’s public schools and encourage you to stay involved in the weeks ahead.

White House Visit and Call for DOJ Investigation into Tennessee Voting Rights

This week, I had the opportunity to visit the White House and participate in discussions on the impact the Build Back Better plan has had in Tennessee. 

While in DC, Myself and Senators Charlane Oliver and Jeff Yarbro delivered a letter to Department of Justice Department Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke outlining our concerns with voting rights restoration in Tennessee.

Here’s some information I learned about on some Federal initiatives from President Biden that are positively impacting House District 59 and Tennessee: 

Protecting Tennessee against extreme weather, with historic investments for more resilient homes, businesses, and communities. In the last decade, Tennessee has experienced 40 major extreme weather events, costing the state up to $8 billion in damages and often disproportionately affecting historically underserved communities.

Expanding electric vehicle opportunities, with millions of people in Tennessee eligible for discounts on new or used EVs through the Inflation Reduction Act, which will be supported by networks of EV chargers across the state funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

Over 340,000 Tennessee households are able to access affordable high-speed internet through the Affordable Connectivity Program investments made as part of the President’s Investing in America agenda. 

Emergency relief from the Biden-Harris Administration during the pandemic helped to keep open 1,162 restaurants and bars and 2,875 child care programs across Tennessee, and is providing up to $117 million in funding to make new loans and investments in its small businesses through the State Small Business Credit Initiative.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions on legislative happenings or if I can be of further assistance.

Rep. Hemmer reads to Kindergarteners during Read Across America Day.

Super Tuesday Election – March 5, 2024

Dont forget there is the Presidential Preference Primary and a local election for a judge and property assessor.  Polls are open 7a-7p and you can find your polling location here. 

What I’m Reading


Rep. Caleb Hemmer

Paid for by Friends of Caleb Hemmer, Will Howorth, Treasurer