Gov. Bill Lee’s school voucher scheme is not only constitutionally suspect, but also the likely cause of Rep. Matthew Hill’s ouster from the legislature. WJHL has more on how Hill’s turn against public education led to his defeat in the August Republican primary.
A controversial 2002 income tax vote helped usher in the Matthew Hill era in Northeast Tennessee politics. Another controversial vote — this one over school vouchers — likely contributed to that era’s end.
“Year after year he voted ‘no’ on voucher legislation,” area public school teacher Jenee Peters said. “He voted ‘no’ every year up until he didn’t.”
“I would like to think the local area teachers were the final nail in his coffin, but there were clearly other issues that brought about the demise of his campaign,” Peters said.
Peters communicated often with Hill and said he gave teachers “a few good years” starting in 2014 after an early adversarial relationship with them. But a seeming focus on political power within the Capitol became pretty clear to people, culminating for the education community in Hill’s abandonment of his anti-voucher position.
“He wasn’t grounded in his community,” Peters said. “He was more interested in playing politics in Nashville and currying favor with the governor and making a bid for the speakership.”
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport