Tag Archives: age

On demographics of TN state legislators in the 109th General Assembly

Kyle Veazey takes a look at the demographics of the 109th Tennessee General Assembly, starting with the observation that only 17.4 percent of its members are women, compared to 51 percent of Tennesseans generally.

(Note: As reported earlier by Georgiana Vines, previous post HERE, the Women’s Legislative Network of NCSL says the national percentage of female to male lawmakers in 2015 will be 23.7 percent, a slight decrease from the 2014 figure of 24.2 percent – a figure not included in Veazey’s report.)

Further from Veazey:

Almost every one of the state’s 132 representatives (99) and senators (33) reflect some variation of Christian belief in their official biographies on the newly redesigned General Assembly website; about a third of them are Baptist, the largest such group. There are at least 16 lawyers among their number; there is no shortage of small business owners and those who are retired, too. One of them is 85 years old. One of them is 29 years old.

…Otherwise, the body of Tennessee lawmakers does a so-so job of resembling the state as a whole.

Fifteen percent of Tennesseans are age 65 or older; 20 percent of the General Assembly is.

Seventeen percent of Tennesseans are African-American; 13 percent of the General Assembly is.

Though ages of nine of the state’s 132 legislators weren’t available, the average age of the other 123 is 54.4. That’s actually slightly younger than the national average as of the 2009 NCSL survey, which was 56.

The median age of Tennessee residents is 38, but it would be difficult for the legislature to reflect that median: Legislators must be at least 21 years old to be elected.

Yet the common typecast of state legislators as old, white Republican males remains fairly accurate: Close to two-thirds of the 132 legislators are white male Republicans. Of those, though, a dozen are under 40 — including 29-year-old state Rep. Ryan Haynes, who represents a Knox County district. He was 23 when he was elected in 2008.

Of course, the most defining characteristic of a Tennessee legislator circa 2015 is party identification. And we all know what that looks like in Nashville: 101 of the 132 are Republicans, an affiliation that will govern much, much more of what they’ll do this session than any qualities discussed above.

Voters over 55 outnumbered those under 34 seven-to-one in Shelby Aug. 7

The Commercial Appeal’s Kyle Veazey runs through Shelby County Aug. 7 voting records to report that younger people don’t vote nearly as reliably as older people.

Just 8.4 percent of the 148,669 voters were between 18 and 34, according to data the Shelby County Election Commission released late last month.

The 2010 Census says this group comprises about 24 percent of the county’s population.

Decisions about who would lead the county, who would represent it in Congress, and who would pursue and administer justice were made by their parents’ — and grandparents’ — generation. Slightly over 30 percent of voters were 65 and over. Expand that band to include voters 55 and older, and the number is just shy of 60 percent.

About 22 percent of Shelby Countians are over 55, according to the Census.

That’s seven 55-or-older votes for each 34-or-younger vote.

This isn’t a recent phenomenon. Similar small shares of turnout by younger Shelby Countians were seen in August elections in both 2012 and 2010.

Younger voter turnout spikes in presidential elections, though.

In 2008, when Barack Obama was first elected president, under-35 votes accounted for 26.4 percent of ballots cast in Shelby County. Four years later, another Obama election year, under-35 votes accounted for 23.1 percent of ballots.

Bill Raises Age for Kindergarten Kids

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Republican bill to move up the cutoff date to meet kindergarten age requirements passed the House Wednesday over Democrats’ arguments that the measure is aimed at laying off teachers and denying early childhood learning opportunities.
The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin was approved on a 68-30 vote after a spirited debate lasting more than an hour. The companion bill is awaiting a Senate vote.
Currently children must be 5 years old by Sept. 30 to enroll in kindergarten. The measure would move that cutoff date to Aug. 31 in the school year beginning in 2013, and to Aug. 15 the following year.
“There are an element in education that want to get children a universal education from the cradle to the grave,” Casada said. “I strongly disagree with that.
“We want those young people at home with their family for the first several years of their life,” he said. “That’s where the most learning is and that’s where the foundation sits.”

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Duncan’s Debt-Cutting Idea: Raise Fed Retirement Age

Duncan: Cut deficit by clamping down on early retirement (News-Sentinel/Collins)
U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. is urging the congressional “super committee” looking for ways to lower the federal deficit to seriously consider reducing the number of federal employees eligible for early retirement, reports Michael Collins.
The Knoxville Republican sent a letter to the panel this week and argued that the government could save billions of dollars by prohibiting all new federal workers from drawing federal pensions any earlier than age 62.
“There are many thousands of federal employees who are in their 50s or even in their late 40s,” Duncan wrote. “As much as American lifespans have increased, we simply cannot afford to allow people to draw federal pensions at such young ages.”
The congressman stressed that he is not suggesting changing the retirement rules for anyone currently employed by the federal government.
“But what we need to start doing — and we need to start doing it sooner than later — we need to tell the new people coming in that we can’t give them as lucrative retirements as in the past,” Duncan said in an interview.
In 2009, the average age for federal retirees was 58.9, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. But under voluntary early retirement, an employee with 20 or more years of service can retire as early as age 50.

Jury Awards $450K for City’s Age Discrimination

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) — A federal court jury has awarded a former Lexington city utility employee nearly a half-million dollars in his age discrimination lawsuit.
The decision came Monday in the 2009 suit filed by Anthony Brunt, who The Jackson Sun reported it was unable to reach for comment.
Court records show Brunt claimed the City of Lexington Water Systems demoted and eventually fired him as the result of age discrimination. Brunt said he was fired after he filed an age discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The jury found for Brunt, awarding him more than $450,000.
Lexington Mayor Bobby Dyer declined comment on the ruling and the city’s attorneys, John Burleson and Dale Condor, were unavailable Tuesday.