Ramsey discusses lobbying work at NETAR luncheon

Hank Hayes • Jun 27, 2018 at 1:30 PM

GRAY — Former Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey noted Tuesday his first year as a lobbyist has seen him move from 24-year lawmaker to point man for the Tri-Cities Crossing development.

Ramsey said he advocated a five-year extension of the border region legislation that allows tax revenues to go back into the development.

Tri-Cities Crossing has been recruiting Stone Drive car dealerships to create an auto mall concept at the development located at the intersection of Interstates 81 and 26.

“After solving problems in state government for 24 years, I’m getting paid for it,” Ramsey, a Realtor and auctioneer, said during the annual Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) legislative luncheon. “I’m on the phone with (developer) Stewart Taylor at The Crossings and get all that lined up dealing with the Department of Revenue. … I do believe that when we get the car dealerships in there, other things will come. … I’ve enjoyed it. I don’t spend a lot of time in Nashville, maybe a day every other week. It’s mostly phone calls and using my contacts.”

Tennessee Realtors senior lobbyist Russ Farrar hired Ramsey, a Blountville Republican, to lobby on behalf of the state’s 28,000 Realtors. Ramsey announced at last year’s NETAR legislative luncheon that he was going to work for Realtors.

“He said, ‘Here’s what I can pay you,’ and I said, ‘When do I start?’ ” Ramsey told NETAR members about his employment discussion with Farrar.

Farrar recounted what his Nashville-based lobbying shop did for Realtors in the last Tennessee General Assembly session.

“Of all the (Realtor) associations I go speak to across the state … this is my favorite place to come. … I probably have more personal friends in this association than any other association in the state,” Farrar told NETAR members.

During the session, a bill grandfathering short-term rentals passed while what Farrar called an “infamous deannexation” bill didn’t pass.

“You all need to get involved with your local county commission because when it gets to Nashville … that bill has gone through your county commission,” Farrar stressed.

Encouraging political advocacy and contributing money to the Realtors Political Action Committee (RPAC) were emphasized often at the luncheon.

“Challenge your brokers to have 100 percent participation (in RPAC),” said Tennessee Realtors President Leon Dickson Sr. “Don’t have agents in your office who are on welfare. If they can’t afford a $25 dollar investment in their career, ask yourself is that really the agent you want in your company? I want an agent that will be all in like I am.”

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