News release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn:
WASHINGTON – Representatives Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) and Todd Rokita (IN-4) today fought back against burdensome regulations being imposed on American ceiling fan manufacturers by the Department of Energy (DOE). Blackburn and Rokita secured a provision in H.R. 2609, the Fiscal Year 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, that would prevent any funds from being used by DOE to finalize, implement, or enforce the proposed “Standards Ceiling Fans and Ceiling Fan Light Kits” rule.
Ceiling fans and ceiling fan light kits already face existing regulations set in place by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005). These existing provisions burden the ceiling fan industry with ineffective mandates. However, on March 11, 2013, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a 101-page rulemaking framework document evaluating potential energy-savings requirements on ceiling fans through new regulations. The new regulations being considered by DOE would significantly impair the ability of ceiling fan manufacturers to produce reasonably priced, highly decorative fans. These regulations would not only place a higher price tag on less aesthetically pleasing designs but could increase homeowners’ reliance on other cooling systems that consume more electricity.
“First, they came for our health care, then they took away our light bulbs, and raided our nation’s most iconic guitar company — now they are coming after our ceiling fans. Nothing is safe from the Obama administration’s excessive regulatory tentacles,” Blackburn said. “These regulations extend into the homes of American families, raise cost for consumers, and kill the ability of our manufacturers to grow and create jobs. Enough is enough.
Headline on Lamar Alexander Press release today: Alexander Votes to Secure Border, End de Facto Amnesty Says immigration reform now goes to U.S. House of Representatives to “improve the legislation and finish the job”
Headline on Marsha Blackburn Press Release today: Senate Amnesty Bill D.O.A. In House Of Representatives
Text of the releases is below, along with statements from Sen. Bob Corker and Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Diane Black on the Senate’s passage of the immigration bill.
For the second time, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is asking a Nashville judge to seal court records that would reveal his campaign’s inner workings, according to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. The Ooltewah Republican’s goal is to prevent political opponents from seeing or distributing 1,800 pages of polling research, internal emails and strategy memos. Someone suing Fleischmann requested the documents as part of the civil discovery process.
In a filing, Fleischmann’s attorney said the congressman would supply the papers as long as they’re hidden from public view.
“The Court should order that any of these documents filed with the Court should be placed under seal, only to be opened in accordance with a subsequent court order,” the motion for a protective order states.
Fleischmann, an attorney, is joined in the motion by his co-defendant, Chip Saltsman, the congressman’s longtime political adviser and onetime Washington-based chief of staff.
Both men are fighting a defamation lawsuit stemming from claims in a three-year-old Fleischmann TV ad. Documents filed in Davidson County Circuit Court this week show the case is set for trial Feb. 24.
Political operative Mark Winslow filed the lawsuit. During the 2010 Republican primary, he worked for Fleischmann’s toughest opponent, former Tennessee GOP Chairwoman Robin Smith.
In an interview Friday, Winslow attorney Gary Blackburn said Fleischmann’s polling data motivated Saltsman to create “negative ads” that twisted the truth and ruined Winslow’s professional reputation.
“If a congressman’s tracking the success of lies,” Blackburn said, “shouldn’t the public be allowed to know that?”
Through a spokesman, Fleischmann declined to comment. He has described the lawsuit as “frivolous” and politically motivated. Saltsman, a well-known Republican strategist who managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign, did not respond to a request for comment.
Known as an elder statesman among Tennessee politicians, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander easily snatched up all the House members he wanted to support his 2014 re-election campaign. But Chris Carroll reports that many of those same conservative allies are ambivalent or even critical of the former governor’s top legislative priority.
Alexander is shepherding an unusual bill for a keep-taxes-low Volunteer State Republican. The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to force Internet retailers to do what brick-and-mortar businesses have done for ages: Collect sales taxes on every transaction and give the money to state and local governments.
Or, in Alexander’s words, give states the option to get “a tax that is already owed.”
But leading fiscal conservatives, including U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Tom Graves of Georgia, describe it as the scourge of small-government advocates: a new tax.
“The last thing we should do is raise new taxes on hard-working Americans who are already struggling in the Obama economy,” Graves said last week. Meanwhile, Blackburn put it bluntly: “There’s nothing fair about the Marketplace Fairness Act.”
As the 72-year-old Alexander attempts to dissuade potential tea party challengers in his bid for re-election, in-state opposition to his pet bill may undermine claims that he can still get things done and satisfy an increasingly conservative Tennessee electorate.
“Is it a liability for Alexander? It’s not clear what the public thinks on this,” Vanderbilt University political science professor Joshua Clinton said. “As a challenger, you may get some traction in the Republican primary.”
Alexander has no challengers to date. To help keep it that way, he added every Tennessee Republican House member (except scandal-plagued U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais) to his campaign team late last year. So far they aren’t helping him on this one.
“We have no formal position on the legislation at this time,” said Tiffany McGuffie, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Phil Roe.
The bill is expected to pass the Senate this week; earlier this year, a test vote garnered 75 supporters. But in the House, where a tea party philosophy reigns, the Marketplace Fairness Act faces an uphill battle if Alexander’s own delegation is any indication.
“We don’t need the federal government mandating additional taxes on Tennessee families and businesses,” Blackburn said. “The American people have been taxed enough.”
After President Barack Obama said in an interview published last weekend that he and his guests “do skeet shooting all the time” at the presidential retreat, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn has challenged him to a contest. From the Tennessean: “I think he should invite me to Camp David, and I’ll go skeet shooting with him,” the Brentwood Republican said on CNN. “And I bet I’ll beat him.”
Through a spokesman, Blackburn told The Tennessean she’s “not bad for a girl” at shooting skeet. She last went to a gun range nearly a year ago, but she used to co-host an annual “women’s skeet shoot-off” at a range in Maryland, spokesman Mike Reynard said.
On CNN, Blackburn said she doesn’t believe Obama’s “all the time” claim, since there are no photos of the recently re-inaugurated chief executive firing a gun and he hadn’t mentioned the hobby previously.
“Why have we not seen photos?” she said. “Why has he not referenced it at any point in time as we have had this gun debate that is ongoing? You would have thought it would have been a point of reference.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday — before Blackburn did her best to ignite “Skeetgate” — he didn’t know how often Obama goes out on the gun range. He said he wasn’t aware of photos of the world’s most powerful man pulling the trigger.
“When he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax — not to produce photographs,” Carney said archly.
Joanna Rosholm, a White House spokeswoman, said Tuesday that Obama had not responded to Blackburn’s challenge.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former University of Tennessee trustee says more women should be appointed to the board.
There are thousands more women than men enrolled on the four UT campuses, but only seven women sit on the 26-member board that oversees the operations of the state’s nameplate university. Three of them have only one-year terms as faculty and student representatives.
Anne Holt Blackburn, a Nashville television news anchor on WKRN-TV, cycled off the board when her six-year term expired in June. She said female members are more passionate about certain issues than men on the board are and the women think differently about issues.
“The more diverse we are, the better service we can give our state, Blackburn said.”
The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/TYSoH7) reported since taking office, Gov. Bill Haslam has maintained the status quo, appointing three men and one woman to replace the same number of each gender whose terms expired. He has not yet appointed Blackburn’s replacement.
“One of the challenges we have is making sure we represent the whole state both geographically, which we have to by statute, and with diversity in terms of gender and race and background of experience,” Haslam said before the Board of Trustees meeting on the Agriculture campus earlier this month.
“Running a university system the size of UT right now, it’s a complex institution, so we need to make sure we have the right background and the right insight,” Haslam said.
As governor, Haslam is a voting member of the UT Board of Trustees.
Merrill Schwartz, director of research at the Association of Governing Boards, said the percentage of women on governing boards of public universities nationwide more than doubled between 1977 and 1997, but has plateaued.
The UT board is slightly below the national average in female membership.
“If the goal is 50 percent, then that’s a long way to go,” Schwartz said.
Judith Glazer-Raymo, a faculty member at Columbia University who studies gender issues and higher education, said women assets to governing board because of they are often more collaborative and they tent to see the issues that are important to faculty and students.
“Teamwork and collaboration are important characteristics of a governing board,” she said.
Excerpts from The Tennessean’s setup story on the 7th Congressional District race:
Re-elect her, Rep. Marsha Blackburn says, and voters will get what she’s always given them — a lawmaker passionate about staying in touch with constituents, making government transparent and curing its overspending.
Re-elect her, her opponents say, and voters will get someone who has turned into a Washington insider after 10 years in office.
Such are the battle lines in the race for the 7th Congressional District, the U.S. House seat that has drawn the most candidates in Tennessee this year, with six.
Blackburn, 60, a Brentwood Republican, says anyone who thinks she has become comfortable in Washington and no longer cares about changing things just isn’t paying attention.
“Look at who has been (making) an issue of out-of-control federal spending since Day 1,” she said in an interview. “I have been a solid member of a whole change-agent team.”
…Several of Blackburn’s five opponents, however, portray her as captured by the congressional lifestyle and the campaign contributions that come with it. Blackburn has raised $1.45 million for her 2012 campaign, and her personal political action committee and has cash on hand of $1.26 million. Sixty percent of her money comes from special interest PACs, a larger percentage than for any other Middle Tennessee member of Congress.
“She votes to take care of the needs of the corporate empire,” said Green Party candidate Howard Switzer, 67, an architect in Linden. Switzer says America needs decentralization of its economy — highlighted by more local food production — and more “earth-friendly” policies in general. Switzer also believes these are “apocalyptic times.”
The Democrat in the race is Credo Amouzouvik, a 34-year-old disabled Army veteran in Clarksville. Amouzouvik said he was motivated to run because the low approval ratings of Congress indicate voters are not getting the leadership they deserve.
…Another Army veteran in the race is independent candidate Jack Arnold of Kingston Springs, 38, who just graduated from Vanderbilt Law School. Arnold said he would emphasize changing a campaign finance system that makes lawmakers worry more about fundraising than addressing issues.
…Arnold is the only one of Blackburn’s opponents to report any campaign money to the Federal Election Commission. He’s raised $13,353, a mix of his own funds and some individual contributions, but no PAC money.
Another independent candidate, Leonard Ladner, 58, of Hohenwald, operates his own trucking firm and drives an 18-wheeler. Ladner said Blackburn is “a slick talker” and “a Republican who has been there too long.”
…The other candidate in the race is Ryan Akin, 44, a customer service representative from Bon Aqua who contends “the American way of life is diminishing right and left.”
Akin said his drive to preserve American values would emphasize the primacy of the English language, among other aspects of U.S. culture.
Congressional Republicans and Democrats harshly scolded the U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday for a security breach at the Oak Ridge Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in which three peace activists evaded guards and cut through fencing to infiltrate the facility’s highest-security area, reports Michael Collins. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., called the break-in appalling:
“Not only did you have a security breach,” she said, “you had a breach of public trust.”
U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said the Y-12 infiltration was “a wake-up call if ever there was one.”
The July 28 security breach at the Oak Ridge plant, where warhead parts are manufactured and the nation’s stockpile of bomb-grade uranium is stored, dominated a congressional hearing Wednesday on safety and security at the nation’s nuclear facilities.
Lawmakers said they were astounded that three pacifists, including an 82-year-old nun, managed to cut through several layers of fencing and spray-paint messages, hang banners and pour human blood on the site.
In 2012, Congressman Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood has become one of the most recognized faces of the Republican Party and conservative causes in general, observes Gannett News Service – so much so that watching all of her media appearances on YouTube would be full-time job in itself. Whenever congressional issues top the day’s news, TV and radio news producers quickly seek out the youthful-looking grandmother and small business owner to represent the right side of the political spectrum. Blackburn’s voice has an unmistakable Southern lilt but no one would ever accuse her of talking slow. GOP talking points come out in staccato, rapid-fire fashion.
So far this year, her office says, Blackburn has made more than 100 appearances on national and Tennessee-based television and radio programs.
They’ve ranged from Sunday morning’s “Meet the Press” on NBC and “This Week” on ABC to the “Alex Jones Show,” a Web-based and syndicated radio program out of Austin, Texas, hosted by one of the nation’s leading conspiracy theorists. She is also a favorite of the conservative Fox News and the Fox Business Network, the liberal MSNBC, CNBC and C-SPAN.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A lawsuit has been filed against the Upper Cumberland Development District by a former employee who says her personal messages were hacked.
Attorney Gary Blackburn told WTVF-TV (http://bit.ly/Mnw23x ) in Nashville the lawsuit was filed Wednesday on behalf of Ashley Pealer. The filing alleges the agency violated Pealer’s constitutional guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure as well as federal acts protecting personal information.
The lawsuit names interim UCCD director Randy Williams as well as current agency chairman Mike Gannon.
“This is the first of the lawsuits that we will file,” Blackburn said.
Pealer and her mother Kathy were fired by Williams in June.
Attorney Dan Rader, who represents the development district, said he had not yet seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it.
The agency’s former executive director, Wendy Askins, resigned in March after reports that agency funds were spent on a million-dollar house in Putnam County amid other expenditures. Askins said at the time she made some mistakes, but never personally profited from her job.
In her lawsuit, Pealer claims after she was terminated, she heard from people inside the agency who said some of her private messages were being passed around. Pealer said messages from her private Hotmail and Facebook accounts were printed out.
The lawsuit claims some 300 pages of private text messages were accessed by the defendants and printed out.
In his filing, Blackburn alleges his client’s private communications were targeted because she refused to “remain silent about the illegal behavior of Wendy Askins.”
The lawsuit claims Pealer’s dismissal was handled differently from Askins’ forced resignation in that Askins was allowed to keep her cell phone.
In another development, Putnam County Executive Kim Blaylock questioned Gannon’s refusal last week to allow a vote on her motion calling for the rehiring of Ashley and Kathy Pealer.
Blaylock made the motion during a special meeting called to address the firings. Gannon ruled her motion out of order because the agenda only said that the agency board would “discuss” the matter.