Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, has just responded to our questions about his legislation to fix firearms manufacturer Ronnie Barrett's issues with the Transportation Department
. Here's the Q&A:
Senator, here are my questions:
1. With your amendment to SB94, are you showing favoritism to a political friend?
2. Could an ordinary Tennessean expect the same special treatment--legislation to fix a personal dispute with TDOT?
3. Did Sen. Tracy ask you to do this for him?
4. Are you attending the Barrett-hosted event at the firing range tomorrow? Should legislators take time off to attend such events when there's people's business to conduct at the Capitol?
I'll try to answer your questions in the order they were listed, but I do want to note first that the purpose of this bill is to grant an easement through the Department of Transportation to Rutherford County. This bill would not give ownership of any access road to any private citizen or corporation.
I met Ronnie Barrett one day when my son and I were shopping at his Outpost Armory, near his Barrett Firearms Manufacturing plant. He explained the issue to me and showed me where he and TDOT initially agreed the access road would occur. It makes sense to extend that road and funnel traffic into his entrance, and it's a small thing to ask from someone whose company has expanded job opportunities in a recession and is helping protect our soldiers.
I'm not sure what you mean by "ordinary Tennessean," but I can assure you that when we have someone like Mr. Barrett, who is creating jobs and building a world-class product to help our American soldiers fight two wars, I am going to do what I can to help him. I don't know Mr. Barrett well, and I have spoken with him only a few times. Sen. Tracy did not ask me to run this amendment, and I have never received a campaign contribution from Mr. Barrett, nor have I solicited one.
I can't speak for other legislators, but I will not attend the firing range event tomorrow precisely because I have the people's business to conduct in Judiciary Committee tomorrow afternoon.
Sen. Doug Jackson