Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn is political media sensation virtually certain to win re-election, the Tennessean reports, But there is some opposition. Her challengers acknowledge that taking on the Brentwood Republican won’t be easy.
But they are running, they say, because they don’t like what they see in Washington.
The four are independents Jack Arnold, Lenny Ladner and William Akin, and Democrat Credo Amouzouvik. A second Democrat, Chris Martin, also had filed to run but now says he has dropped out.
Howard Switzer of the Green Party is battling state officials in court over whether he also can appear on the ballot.
Arnold, of Kingston Springs, said Blackburn represents what’s wrong with Congress: partisan gridlock, the influence of moneyed special interests and a lack of term limits.
“It just doesn’t jive with what she presents herself as,” Arnold said. “She’s sort of the perfect example of why common-sense legislation and reform doesn’t get passed, and how that ties into campaign finance.”
Amouzouvik, of Clarksville, the only Democrat in the race, echoes those sentiments.
“As your congressman, I will always consult my conscience and my constituents, and not my party, corporate lobbyists, and those who give me campaign contributions as my opponent likes to do,” Amouzouvik says on his campaign website, which lists education and jobs as his priorities.
Amouzouvik, an Iraq War veteran and naturalized U.S. citizen born in Togo, is seeking a political science degree from Austin Peay State University. He could not be reached for comment
Arnold, who graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in May and spent a year in Iraq as an Army intelligence analyst, said campaign finance reform would be his first priority if elected. He also would focus on reforming the tax code and implementing term limits.
Arnold said he decided to run after Blackburn supported the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which aimed to crack down on copyright infringement. While Blackburn rails against over-regulation, Arnold said, she favored expanding the government’s reach to crack down on Internet pirates because the music, TV and motion-picture industries are among her biggest donors.
Blackburn’s campaign has received more than $61,000 from those industries since the 2010 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen could have as much as $5.08 million in assets, drew a state pension of $23,128, and traveled to Rwanda, Germany, Israel and Spain at someone else’s expense last year, according to a disclosure that’s the subject of a Commercial Appeal report today. All members of Congress are required to file an annual description of their assets, liabilities, outside positions on boards, compensated travel and other financial information each May 15. The reports do not include their annual $174,000 salaries as members.
Among Mid-South members, U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., whose district will include even more of Shelby County next year, reported $33,943 in income from row crop farming and paid-for trips to Israel and Los Angeles. In addition, he and his wife, Lynn, own farm land worth between $500,000 and $1 million but have outstanding debts from the purchase of equipment of between $795,000 and $1.7 million.
…U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., whose district will no longer encompass parts of Greater Memphis next year because of redistricting, received a $4,202 state pension for service in the legislature and reported she could have as much as $660,000 in assets. She has mortgages on property in Brentwood, Tenn. Blackburn’s travel paid for by others included trips to Vienna, Austria; Palm Beach; Las Vegas; Dallas; and Hilton Head, S.C
A new study says good-looking politicians get put on TV more often than ugly ones, and it includes this bit of bonus research: Tennessee’s own (and frequent cable-TV guest) Rep. Marsha Blackburn has been rated as Congress’s most attractive member.
The researchers from Israel asked college students — perhaps the world’s shrewdest arbiters of attractiveness — to rate all of the members of Congress outside of leadership, with Blackburn beating out the legitimately handsome South Dakota Sen. John Thune and Florida Rep. Connie Mack. Researchers then figured out how often each member showed up on television and determined that the hotties got more airtime.
“The effect of attractiveness on news coverage, the study found, was greater than the effect of tenure in office, or bill sponsorship,” The New York Times said in a write-up of the study. “Frequency of news releases had no discernible effect on news media appearances.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn says she’s stuffing stockings with a bright present this year: the kind of light bulbs that are due to be phased out next year.
The Brentwood Republican had backed a provision to cut funding for an energy efficiency law scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, effectively ending the manufacture of 100-watt incandescent light bulbs.
Congress on Saturday passed a reprieve for the bulbs, delaying until October the impact of the 2007 light bulb law signed by President George W. Bush.
Blackburn says in a statement provided to The Tennessean that she will fight “so that people can keep their light bulbs.” (http://tnne.ws/tz7Ec8).
Conservation advocates say the energy savings can’t be argued with. Opponents say it’s government intrusion, too.
Condoleezza Rice appeared at a fundraiser in Nashville for U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn on Monday, and members of the Occupy Nashville protests took notice, according to TNReport. A group of about 12 of the protesters moved from War Memorial Plaza to the area of the Hermitage Hotel nearby where Rice, former U.S. secretary of state and national security adviser, was featured at a midday gathering in the ballroom.
One of the protesters said he began on the sidewalk on the side of the street where the hotel is but was asked by security to move. The group then protested across the street. Inside the hotel, a campaign spokeswoman confirmed that Rice was at the event but that no media were allowed.
“The people or the profits,” the protesters chanted. “We are the 99 percent.” A few of the protesters were asked to explain what exactly their reason was for protesting Rice.
“Condoleezza Rice has definitely become part of the 1 percent. I’m a representative of the 99 percent, the people,” said Joshua Bible Dufour, who said he is from Long Beach, Calif., and is passing through Nashville, spending four days in the state capital.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two members of Congress from Tennessee announced federal legislation Thursday seeking to quell fears among owners of musical instruments and other products made from imported wood that they could face prosecution under a law that has led to raids on Gibson Guitar Corp.
Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn said at a press conference in a Nashville recording studio that the bill would protect people from prosecution for unknowingly possessing illegally imported wood, and would require the federal government to establish a database of forbidden wood sources.
The measure would also exempt any wood imported before 2008 changes to the federal Lacey Act, which bans wood products illegally exported from foreign countries.
“For these old instruments before 2008, you can’t uncut a tree,” Cooper said. “This was already done. It’s spilled milk.”
Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher raised $420,440 in campaign contributions the past three months — a big jump from the previous quarter and the most of any member in the state’s House delegation, according to a Tennessean review of campaign finance disclosure forms. The farmer and gospel singer from Frog Jump topped the No. 2 Tennessee fundraiser, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, by $154,230.
Fincher raised 56 percent more in the third quarter than in the second, when his campaign reported receipts of $269,431. His campaign’s cash on hand increased 71 percent during that time, from $448,601 to $765,231.
…Republican Rep. John J. Duncan of Knoxville led the delegation in cash on hand, with more than $1.5 million. Blackburn spent more than the rest of the delegation — $155,065 — but still had more than $1.1 million on hand at the end of September.
…Blackburn brought in $266,210 during the third quarter, including $157,710 from individuals and $108,500 from PACs ,,,Republican Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin brought in $208,955 the past three months, 29 percent less than she raised in the second quarter…. ..Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville saw campaign contributions decrease 71 percent over the second quarter, from $241,711 to $69,713.
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Owners of musical instruments made with illegally imported wood don’t face prosecution, two federal agencies say in a letter that addresses fears stirred up after a major Tennessee guitar-maker was raided.
“The federal government focuses its enforcement efforts on those who are removing protected species from the wild and making a profit by trafficking in them,” the U.S. Justice Department and the Interior Department wrote to U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
Blackburn and other congressional Republicans have been pressing the federal agencies to meet with them about Aug. 24 raids on Gibson Guitar Corp. factories in Memphis and Nashville where agents seized pallets of wood, guitars and computer hard drives. Gibson chief executive Henry Juszkiewicz has publicly blasted the raids as an example of the federal government risking U.S. jobs with over-zealous regulation.
After the raid, Juszkiewicz attended a speech by President Barack Obama as a guest of Blackburn and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The letter from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich and Christopher J. Mansour, director of legislative affairs at Interior, said those who “unknowingly possess” an instrument made from illegally imported materials don’t have a criminal problem.
News release from Rep. Blackburn
WASHINGTON- Congressman Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) today named Mike Reynard as her new Communications Director. Reynard most recently served as Communications Director for Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, who retired in 2010.
Prior to his service with Senator Bunning, Reynard served both Chairmen Bill Goodling and John Boehner, of the House Education and Workforce Committee. Blackburn’s office marks a return to the Tennessee delegation for Reynard, who served on the staff of Senator Fred Thompson in 1997.
Blackburn’s previous Communications Director, Claude Chafin, was named as Communications Director for the House Armed Services Committee today.
“For my whole congressional career, I have been blessed with a strong communications team to help me advance the priorities of Tennessee’s 7th District. I know that Mike will continue that tradition and I am honored to welcome him back to the Tennessee delegation,” Blackburn said.
FedEx may be a profitable Fortune 100 company, but it still sought help from the federal government to pay health benefits to workers who retired early, says the Tennessean. So did other Tennessee employers such as Nissan North America, International Paper, the state of Tennessee and the city of Nashville. The subsidies are an often-overlooked provision of health-care reform.
They were meant to help those not yet eligible for Medicare by encouraging employers not to drop health benefits for workers who retire before age 65. But much of the money has gone to large, profitable corporations, prompting Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn and other Republican lawmakers to deem it a corporate “slush fund.”
The $5 billion Early Retirement Reinsurance Program was supposed to last until key provisions of the health-care reform law take effect in 2014. But it stopped accepting applications in May after spending roughly half its funds in less than a year. The program has paid out more than $34 million to Tennessee employers.