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Politics

TN Politics: What the "Blue Oval" Needs from the Red State

blue oval.jpg
Ford Motor Company
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An artist rendering of the future Blue Oval City complex by Ford Motor Company, to be built at the Memphis Area Regional Megasite 50 miles east of Memphis.

The announcement that Ford Motor Company plans to build a major electric vehicle plant 50 miles east of Memphis is big news for the region.

Political analyst Otis Sanford says one of the "big picture" changes could be in local technological education. The state will build a new tech school on the Regional Megasite campus. Training the workforce needed could take combined efforts of public schools and local colleges.

Why did Ford choose Tennessee? Sanford says Republicans have made the state attractive via incentives and also its anti-union stance, with politicians hoping to enshrine "Right to Work" laws in the state constitution.

Gov. Bill Lee is calling a special session on Oct. 18 to get the legislature to vote on $500 million in state incentives for Ford's Blue Oval City in Stanton, Tenn. However, in August, Republican lawmakers were pushing the governor to call a special session to deal with mask mandates instituted in some school districts statewide to curb rampant COVID-19 infections.

Gov. Lee believes families should have the freedom to opt out of public safety measures in public schools, though federal courts have ruled against the administration. Still, some Republican lawmakers have demanded that, at least when it comes to post-born children, the right to harm or kill them through the use of viruses should be a matter of personal choice.

Finally, a federal jury found State Senator Katrina Robinson guilty on four out of five charges of wire fraud in a trial over how she spent federal grant money for her vocational school, the Healthcare Institute.

Sanford says Robinson's claims that the trial was politically motivated are unfounded.