By Michael Cass / The Tennessean
Americans for Prosperity, an organization started by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch to advance conservative and libertarian causes, is starting a Tennessee chapter as its arch-nemesis, President Barack Obama's administration, makes another foray into the state.
The Tennessee chapter of Americans for Prosperity will focus on issues including school choice and the estate tax while working to educate residents "on the benefits of economic freedom rather than top-down control," according to a news release.
Andrew Ogles, a former deputy director of Newt Gingrich's 2012 presidential campaign and executive with a nonprofit dedicated to ending human trafficking, will lead the operation.
"This is a critical moment for Tennessee," Ogles said in a statement. "We just had President Obama come through Chattanooga to peddle another reshuffling of his failed, big-government economic policies, which have created almost no growth in our state. What he fails to realize is that Tennessee has been a model of success because of the hard work of Tennesseans, not because of top-down stimulus policies and wasteful spending."
Obama visited Chattanooga last week to announce a proposal to cut the corporate tax rate, close tax loopholes and pump more money into infrastructure work as a way to create jobs. On Wednesday U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzer, a member of Obama's cabinet, will visit Nashville as part of a national "listening tour" devoted to building the economy and creating jobs.
An advisory from the Department of Commerce said Pritzer will tour Loud Recording Studios on Music Row with Cary Sherman, chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, and Jim Catino, Vice President of A&R for Sony Music Nashville. She also will hold a roundtable discussion with music industry executives at the National Songwriters Association International; meet with Mayor Karl Dean and other business leaders, and tour the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
"The purpose of this listening tour is to hear directly from business leaders, entrepreneurs and elected officials about their efforts to drive economic development and create good-paying, long-term jobs," Pritzer said in a statement.