Sergio Martínez-Beltrán

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is Nashville Public Radio’s political reporter. Prior to moving to Nashville, Sergio covered education for the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden, Utah. He is a Puerto Rico native and his work has also appeared on NPR station WKAR, San Antonio Express-News, Inter News Service, GFR Media and WMIZ 1270 AM.   

In his free time (once in a blue moon), Sergio can be found playing volleyball or in Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and the coolest uncle (feel free to fact-check) to Olivia and Jimena. 

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Tennessee is not going to reach an ambitious educational goal set by the state in 2015, data released Wednesday shows. 

The state had hoped to outperform the national average by the end of the decade. But Nation's Report Card shows that student growth in the state has remained stagnant.

In 2015, the Tennessee Department of Education set a 5-year goal to move the state academically from the bottom half to the top half of all states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the largest standardized test administered nationally by the federal government.

 


Sergio Martinez-Beltran | WPLN

Members of the United Auto Workers union in Spring Hill cited the future of temporary workers at General Motors as a main reason why many of them voted against a deal meant to end the weeks-long strike with the automaker.

The Spring Hill local has rejected the proposal 51% to 49%, in one of the first votes on the contract nationwide.

Beth Bigley, 44, has been in the picket line for the last six weeks. She voted against the tentative agreement presented on Monday, mostly because she feels temporary workers are still not getting what they deserve.

Sergio Martinez-Beltran | WPLN

Gov. Bill Lee is defending his decision to declare Oct. 10 a "day of prayer, humility and fasting."

The announcement of the declaration has been received with mixed emotions, and some groups are pushing back on it.

Lee says the idea of a day of prayer is to create unity across the state. 

 


Screenshot from teamhagerty.com

Former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty officially launched his bid for U.S. Senate Monday, confirming a campaign that he'd been keeping quiet about despite President Donald Trump's announcing it for him in a tweet in July.

Hagerty, a longtime ally of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and Tennessee's economic and community development commissioner under Gov. Bill Haslam, immediately moved to nationalize the race.

In an official launch video posted online, he said he felt called to act against what he describes as a "threat to Tennessee and to our country by the Democrats' socialist agenda."

Stephen Jerkins WPLN

Tennessee lawmakers will come back to Nashville later this week to pick a new House speaker.

The election will take place during Friday’s special session, which was called with specific guidelines on what can and cannot take place.

Gov. Bill Lee announced the special session in June, and according to the Tennessee Constitution, he has established what can be discussed during the meeting. The main purpose is for the House to elect its new speaker.  


Shatlina Chatlani/ WPLN

Following the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, Gov. Bill Lee said his administration will weigh legislation that would address the issue of gun violence.

But he's not ready to offer specific solutions without first taking a "deeper look" at the issue.

 

“I am a person who looks at options and considers the landscape that we are living in, and what it is that I believe would be the most effective way to protect citizens’ rights but protect our citizens at the same time," Lee told reporters Monday.

When Andrea and Leslie Isham got married in December of last year, they had a pretty unique wedding.

"We literally went into the bar, we paid the cover charge," Leslie Isham says. "We walked through the doors and sat down and just waited for the show."

The "show" was a drag show, the backdrop to the couple's wedding at a gay nightclub in Clarksville, Tenn., alongside friends, drag queens, bartenders — and like-minded strangers.

"We didn't have to worry about protesters showing up, or people being like, 'We don't want that here,' " Andrea Isham says.

TN Photo Services

Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Thursday he is not running for the U.S. Senate.

Haslam, who was openly contemplating a senate bid, had been quiet about his aspirations to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander after leaving the governor's office this year.

But, in a statement released Thursday morning, Haslam said running for U.S. Senate was not his “calling.”

 


Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada, a Republican, said on Tuesday he plans to step down from his position after lewd and racist text messages between him and his former chief of staff were leaked to the media.

Casada's decision comes hours after the House Republican Caucus cast an unprecedented 45-24 no-confidence vote for the speaker.

"When I return to town on June 3, I will meet with caucus leadership to determine the best date for me to resign as speaker," Casada said Tuesday.

Chas Sisk-WPLN

Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada said on Tuesday he plans to step down from his position. 

Casada's decision comes hours after the House Republican Caucus cast an unprecedented 45-24 no-confidence vote in Casada, after racist and lewd text messages between him and his former chief of staff were leaked to the media. 

"When I return to town on June 3, I will meet with Caucus leadership to determine the best date for me to resign as Speaker," Casada said.

After high turnout in last year's midterm elections propelled Democrats to a new House majority and big gains in the states, several Republican-controlled state legislatures are attempting to change voting-related rules in ways that might reduce future voter turnout.