Our communities in the Upper Cumberland are interconnected via our workforce. – Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton

By: Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton

Livingston/Crossville – Recently, I’ve had many conversations and heard many comments about combining the Crossville and Livingston TCAT campuses — a move that I strongly support and that I believe will benefit the Upper Cumberland Region. Last year, Gov. Lee proposed the most significant increase in TCAT funding and operational and capital outlay to enhance our existing locations and increase the number of facilities across our state, not decrease them as many have expressed.

Our communities in the Upper Cumberland are interconnected via our workforce. We all know individuals who may work in one county but live in another. The desire to pool resources and join campuses under the same management does not indicate closing a facility, which has unfairly been rumored; it is to enhance and create a harmonious system that brings the same level of success to each campus

Some have expressed concerns this move could result in the elimination of positions, a reduction in academic programs or opportunities, or diminishing the quality of programs being offered; that is simply not the case. The state’s desire is the exact opposite — high-quality programs, more opportunities, expansion of facilities, maintaining and even increasing the number of employees, and meeting the demands of today’s labor market

I understand change can be difficult in life. However, change sometimes needs to happen to bring success to an even higher level. The Livingston campus has been successful in the past, and I’m positive this campus will remain successful in the future. Our ability to achieve even greater success and results should not be limited due to a fear of change. We all have the same goal for the Livingston campus, and I know President Cliff Wightman has the same goal as all of us. While change can present some difficulties, I know that if we give Mr. Wightman the opportunity, he will make us all proud.

A few years ago, we did something else unique as a community. We were the first to combine the Upper Cumberland Development Board (UCDD) and the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) under the same Executive Director — Mark Farley. Mr. Farley and his team have exceeded our expectations; now, others are looking at this example for their communities. Let’s give the same type of opportunity to Mr. Wightman and his staff — two locations with one president

Businesses constantly challenge themselves, work to improve and strive to meet the customer’s demands. Otherwise, they would probably be out of business. Unfortunately, the government doesn’t always operate like a business, so we get the status quo — no change, no processes to improve performance or ways to become more successful. We should not let government limit our ability to innovate, challenge, and break the mold. I hope you will give Mr. Wightman and his staff time to prove themselves because I know they will exceed your expectations.

Photo courtesy of Speaker Sexton.

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