Nashville lobbyist Tony Thompson, declared a “fresh face” by a new Memphis client, has also kept Knoxville as a client with a fresh face in the mayor’s office.
The Knoxville City Council approved a new annual contract with Thompson for lobbying the Legislature at the same fee he has received for the past 11 years, $50,000.
Thompson’s contract came with the approval of Mayor Madeline Rogero. She will be the third Knoxville mayor to approve contracting with Thompson. He began under former Mayor Victor Ashe 15 years ago with a salary of $36,000 per year and served at the $50,000 rate under former Mayor Bill Haslam, now governor.
“I almost feel like the city of Knoxville is one of my children,” said Thompson, son of former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson. “I’m excited to be working with Mayor Rogero who is obviously bringing a new day to Knoxville.”
Meanwhile, Thompson has also signed on to represent the recently consolidated Memphis-Shelby County school system at a fee of $75,000 for the year, according to the Commercial Appeal.
Billy Orgel, chairman of the unified board, told the newspaper that Thompson “will be our eyes and ears on the ground in Nashville.”
“Quite frankly, I think it is a great thing because we need to engage our legislators — not just from Shelby County, but from across the state — and let them know about the good things going on over here in Shelby County,” Orgel said..
“I think a fresh face, Tony Thompson, will be very helpful to us.”
According to the Tennessee Ethic Commission, where lobbyists must report their clients, Thompson in last year’s legislative session also lobbied for the Motion Picture Association of America, The Wine Institute, the Tennessee Psychological Association, the Tennessee Telecommunications Association, eBay, Inc.; Entertainment Software Association, Mike Fussell of Brentwood, Windham Worldwide Corp., the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Tennessee Association for Justice, formerly known as Tennessee Trial Lawyers.
The trial lawyers group also retained Thompson’s father last year, chiefly to lobby against a tort reform bill pushed by the Haslam administration. The bill passed.
Thompson’s list of 2012 clients has not yet been posted on the commission’s website