Newsletter #146 – What Would Haslam Do? (part 2 of 3)

There is no end to what the Haslam money can buy, even a joint venture between Tennessee’s elitist right and its neighborhood left.

Starting its second year, “Leadership Tennessee” is a 10-month leadership education program hosted by Lipscomb University. The program was founded and funded in part by The Haslam Foundation, Haslam family’s Flying Pilot J, the Hyde Family Foundation and the Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville whose board at one time included Haslam.

Leadership Tennessee says it brings people together to “find the common good.” Is this Haslam’s way of practicing the“reach across the aisle” that RHINOs in D.C. do so well?

It is ironic that Haslam would be funding a leadership program since increasingly, he’s the “leader” that nobody wants to follow, least of all growing segments of the general assembly.

The Program “Team” includes:

Tom Ingram – advisor to Republican and Democrat politicians including Haslam, Lamar and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. His vision of the program is that it “will represent middle, east and west Tennessee across all sectors.” Class participants include some Tennessee politicians currently in office such as Lipscomb alumnus, Speaker Beth Harwell. Would the program ever include conservative politicians like the ones Haslam tried to unseat? Aren’t they part of coming together for the “common good?”

Cathy Cate – executive director of Leadership Tennessee is the wife of Haslam Chief of Staff Mark Cate who just happens to be in this year’s Leadership class.

Linda Peek Schacht – her impressive credentials reflect complete dedication to the Democrat party, including a position with the (Israel-hating) Carter White House and communications director for the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

Randolph Lowry – President of Lipscomb University who has moved the university to more liberal, socially progressive positions. For example, in 2008, Lowry announced Lipscomb’s new scholarships reserved for Latino students. One Lipscomb Master’s project described the “Lipscomb University model for welcoming, enrolling and graduating the 1.5 Generation, undocumented young people brought to this country as children who would be covered by the Dream Act.”

At Lipscomb University, breaking the country’s immigration laws is not a bar to a college education. Would Lowry also condone an unemployed man stealing to feed his family?

Lipscomb partners with TIRRC (TN Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition) in their annual “Welcoming Events.” TIRRC addresses the issue of illegal immigration in the code of open border advocates who call it “reuniting families” or advocating for “ the Dreamers.”

The university also hosts pro-sharia propaganda events and anti-Israel propaganda films like “5 Broken Cameras.”


TN Leadership first year’s class included  Sen. Corker’s chief of staff, mayors from select cities, representatives from big business, leaders and non-profit representatives like Renata Soto from the leftist organization Conexion Americas, and SCORE’s Executive Director Jamie Woodson, the biggest lobbyist and most well-financed lobbyist for Common Core in Tennessee next to the Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s class includes a BlueCross BlueShield executive, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Speaker Beth Harwell, lawyers from big law firms, Knox County’s school superintendent, another representative from Conexion Americas and CAIR-Hamas collaborator, Remziya Suleyman from the American Center for Outreach (ACO).

Captive audience for Haslam’s agenda

Leadership TN says it is about “collaborative leadership.” Last year SCORE was highlighted as a “terrific example of collaboration in action….SCORE has been the catalyst for transforming Tennessee into a national leader in education reform.” According to Rocky Top Politics, SCORE and several of its board members helped finance Haslam’s recent attack on conservative primary candidates.

This year’s class includes Calvin Anderson, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for BlueCross BlueShield of TN. Haslam’s communications director Alexa Poe (who used to work for Democrat Nashville Mayor Karl Dean) said that Haslam will not show his new plan for Medicaid expansion to his state legislators until after he gets the federal government to approve it.

What are the chances this year’s Leadership TN will be discussing the need for Medicaid expansion?

The Real Payoff for Leadership TN participants: Networking and deal-making

Two of the biggest benefactors of this program will be Suleyman and Jose Gonzalez, finance director for Conexion Americas. ACO, the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) and TIRRC all work together with Conexion Americas and have their offices in Casa Azafran, the building owned by Conexion Americas.

Gonzalez can guilt trip the others about how without amnesty, families are separated and illegals have to live in the shadows. Obviously, he thinks U.S. law means nothing.

Suleyman will tell her usual embellished story about how she came as a refugee and works tirelessly as a human rights activist to defend the victimized Muslims of Tennessee. She’ll tell them about her interfaith work but probably won’t tell them that her close friend and her organization’s Civic Engagement Coordinator was a lead organizer of pro-Hamas rallies in Nashville and regularly tweets out Jew hatred. Suleyman will probably not disclose her close association with and promotion of CAIR-Hamas and her personal relationship with its director, Nihad Awad. Or that she brought anti-Semitic Michigan CAIR director to train Muslim high school students in political activism.

And she probably won’t tell them that despite her pro-sharia advocacy, she admitted “she never knew the concept of sharia.”

For Haslam, Leadership TN is an opportunity to buy support and be able to cast himself as a “consensus leader,” like the kind Sen. Bob Corker says we need for the next Republican presidential candidate. Haslam can show the participants that it doesn’t violate Republican principles to agree with Obama – amnesty, entitlements, pro-Islam, and driver licenses for illegal immigrants. He can show them that Republican principles won’t drive his politics. He can show them that it’s okay to reach back and forth “across the aisle” because in the end, we are all the same whether Democrat or Republican.