Several county Republican organizations think Gov. Bill Haslam is not conservative enough for Tennessee. Republicans in Stewart and Carroll counties in West Tennessee passed similar resolutions recently that say some of Haslam’s actions “have forced this GOP organization to lose the confidence in our governor during an election year.”
Specifically, Republican leaders in those two counties take issue with Haslam’s administration for hiring gays, Democrats and Muslims. The (Nashville) Tennessean reported last week the complaints were initiated by tea party activists, who have called on state party leaders to punish Haslam for failing to advance conservative ideas.
As the Associated Press reported last week, Republicans in Stewart and Carroll counties listed several grievances that include Haslam’s decisions to retain personnel hired by his Democratic predecessor, Gov. Phil Bredesen, and allowing openly gay individuals to make policy decisions in the state Department of Children’s Services.
They also took aim at the governor for not supporting legislation this year that would prohibit business owners from banning guns in vehicles parked on their property.
Republicans in Carroll and Stewart counties say Haslam’s “policies are worse than the actions of Kent Williams,” the Elizabethton legislator who broke with his fellow Republicans in 2009 to elect himself speaker of the state House of Representatives. His actions resulted in the state Republican Party’s Executive Committee stripping Williams of his GOP credentials.
Haslam’s hiring practices have also come under fire in Williamson County, where Republicans criticize the governor for employing a Muslim attorney to serve as the state Department of Economic and Community Development’s international director.
Despite the negative resolutions from the three county organizations, Haslam officials say the governor has a 79 percent approval rating among conservative Republicans in Tennessee.
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