BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Secretary of State Tre Hargett praised his state employees and recent budget cuts during Monday's Greene County Republican Women's luncheon at the General Morgan Inn.
Hargett was the keynote speaker at the gathering. He was in Greene County on Monday as the guest of State Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville.
Hargett was brief in his remarks, focusing on changes he has made since being elected to the office by the state legislature in 2002.
These include personnel cuts, changes to office operating hours, and improving the electronic filing system to prevent double-keying information.
"It's important we have the right people in place to make sure we serve the people well -- because we're the only state government you've got," he said. "We're doing better than we ever have because we recognize who the customer is."
Hargett also noted his support and oversight of the new voter photo identification law, which he said has been smoothly implemented, with only .02 percent of voters appearing at the polls without an identification.
"We run good, fair, honest elections in the State of Tennessee," he said. "I want to make sure that Tennessee is a state where dead people don't vote."
Other duties of his office that Hargett noted include publishing the annual Tennessee Blue Book and overseeing business services and non-profit organizations.
In addition, Hargett's office oversees the State Funding Board, which estimates revenues for the coming fiscal year based on "realistic economic growth rates," he said.
"If we could just take the Tennessee way of doing things to Washington, we'd be a lot better off," Hargett added, receiving vigorous applause in return.