Crowe supports Homeland Security and Parks Bill

NASHVILLE -- State Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) has signed on to the legislation that would appropriate $3,251,700 for our Homeland Security purposes. The same legislation would also provide adequate appropriation dollars for our state parks.
   As with charity, Homeland Security begins at home, according to Crowe. "The buck doesn't stop here in this case; it starts here," he said. "Without a strong defense here at home, there is no federal government to defend us from hostile forces coming from afar."
   Brigadier General Wendell Gilbert, head of Tennessee's Homeland Security Council as well as Veterans' Affairs Commissioner, has requested the $3,251,700 for the current fiscal year and $8,910,700 for the 2002-2003 fiscal year which runs from July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003.
   The latest request includes $312,100 under the Office of the Governor to operate the Council itself, $1,520,000 for the Department of Military for the Tennessee National Guard and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), $714,400 for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to create an advanced statewide communications network to deal with nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) threat situations, and $705,200 for the Department of Safety.
   On Wednesday, the House Finance Committee rejected legislation to reopen state parks. "I am very disappointed in the House Finance decision to reject legislation that would open our parks. Our parks were scheduled to reopen next month.
   "The closing of parks on Mondays and Tuesdays within our district, those being Sycamore Shoals and Roan Mountain State Parks, was in my opinion not a viable managerial decision. All you have to do at Roan Mountain is just open the gates and allow our park to make money.
   "It just doesn't make sense to close my parks if the state is trying to save money. We're not saving money. We're losing thousands and thousands of dollars and hurting future tourism efforts as well.
   "I am pleased to support this legislation and look forward to working with Senate Republican Leader Ben Atchley to seek passage next week," said Crowe, Senate Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on Veterans' Affairs.