Tag Archives: Cobb

In Southeast TN, GOP Incumbents Have Big Money Edge

Andy Sher reviews fundraising in six Southeast Tennessee House Republican primary contests, finding incumbents had about a 3-to-1 money advantage over challengers in the second quarter — and a huge 20-to-1 leg up over primary or general election opponents.

The fundraising percentages would have been even more lopsided except for a lively Republican primary in the 31st Legislative District where Ron Travis, a Dayton businessman, raised $28,398 in his challenge to Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City.
Cobb reported raising $2,625 in the second quarter, but because of previous fundraising he had far more cash on hand than Travis. Cobb reported spending $30,709 but still had $34,232 on hand as of June 30.
Travis reported spending $25,712.85 and had a balance of $5,451 at the end of the reporting period. He said he feels “very good” about what he’s accomplished.
“I really didn’t think I would have come close to that when the race started,” Travis said. He said support has been “huge” and added, “People have just bought into the campaign. People are looking for change.”
Efforts to reach Cobb on Saturday were unsuccessful, but the lawmaker recently said he feels good about the contest and has been working hard. No Democrat is running in the district, which was significantly redrawn during legislative redistricting this year.
…Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, faces Basil Marceaux Sr. in the House District 27 GOP primary.
A perennial candidate, Marceaux’s 2010 gubernatorial bid and his unconventional views in areas ranging from traffic stops (he thinks they’re illegal) to banning gold fringes on American flags sent national political satirists and liberal bloggers into a collective swoon.
Marceaux, who likes to refer to himself as Basil Marceaux Dot Com, reported raising nothing in his latest outing. Floyd raised $2,800, spent $990 and had $22,192 in cash on June. 30.
…In Cleveland, Tenn., Baptist pastor Jack Epperson is challenging Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, in the Republican primary for House District 22. Epperson loaned his campaign $5,622 and spent the same as of June 30, his filing shows.
Brooks, the assistant House majority leader, reported $47,075 in contributions, expenditures of $12,828 and an ending balance of $49,135. No Democrat is running in the heavily Republican district.
Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, faces David Kimbro in the House District 22 GOP primary. Watson raised $20,529, spent $23,564 and had a cash balance of $65,603. Kimbro raised and spent nothing and reported a zero balance.

Ban on Lapdogs in Cars, Killed Last Year, Has Returned

Lapdogs in cars could mean trips to court under legislation that appears headed for passage after gaining approval of a committee that killed a similar bill last year.
Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, won approval of SB3110 in the Senate Transportation Committee on a 5-2 vote.
Last year, the committee killed a bill by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, that had the same goal, though slightly different language.
This year’s bill creates a new misdemeanor offense for having an animal in the lap while driving. It also covers an animal being between the driver and the driver’s door.
Yager won the committee’s approval after reading a letter from a constituent in Oliver Springs who said he has twice barely avoided a serious accident because of other drivers with dogs in their laps.
Both the and the House sponsor, Republican Rep. Jim Cobb, said passage of the bill should make highways safer. Cobb said statistics show about 30,000 accidents per year nationwide caused by drivers distracted by dogs or cats in their vehicles.
The House version of the bill is scheduled for a floor vote tonight.

Haslam Defends End to Veteran Preferences in State Hiring

Both Republican and Democratic legislators protested Tuesday a proposal by Gov. Bill Haslam that would eliminate the preference now given to military veterans in state government hiring.
Under current law, hiring for state job positions is based in part on a point system and veterans, as well as spouses of deceased and disabled veterans, are given extra points to increase the prospects. One provision in Haslam’s bill that repeals much of the current state civil-service law system for hiring and firing state employees (HB2384) eliminates the point system and any preference for veterans or their spouses.
The only special treatment for veterans is a guarantee that they will be interviewed when they apply.
In a meeting of the House State and Local Government Committee Tuesday, House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville first pointed out the provision and said “it gives me a little heartburn.” Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, said the provision is “almost an insult” to veterans.
Haslam, asked about the legislator objections later in the day, said the guaranteed interview is the “maximum preference” that can be given anyone under the new system his legislation creates and he believes that adequate.
“They will always be guaranteed a right to an interview,” he said.
Similar comments were offered in the committee hearing by supporters of the bill, prompting Cobb to declare, “As a veteran, I see it differently.” The chance to be interviewed is no real preference at all, he said.

Former Rep. Ty Cobb Running for Senate

News release from Ty Cobb campaign (slightly edited):
Columbia firefighter and former state Rep. Tyler “Ty” Cobb announced today he is seeking the new state Senate seat encompassing Maury, Lawrence, Lewis, Giles, Wayne and Perry counties.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity to ask hard-working folks like you to let me represent District 28 in the state Senate,” Cobb said. “I want to represent your best interests in the Legislature because I understand many of us are hurting financially as jobs have disappeared during one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression.
“Neighbors, family, friends and co-workers have urged me to serve in the Senate so we can get the Legislature back to doing what it’s supposed to do, which is govern with common sense and efficiency. We now have too many politicians in Nashville who are more worried about being big-shots than being advocates for the regular Joe.
“They fuss and fight up there in Nashville about things that have nothing to do with getting people back to work. Most of us worry about paying our bills, feeding our children and having a good life. It seems the Legislature, though, is more concerned about political pay-back and petty rivalries. I promise you, if elected, I will do everything in my power to bring good jobs back,” he said.
The Tennessee General Assembly last week created the new District 28 Senate seat after Census numbers forced the state to redraw new legislative districts. A mandatory Census count is done every 10 years to examine population growth. The general election will be held this fall on, Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Cobb pointed to the Northfield Workforce and Development Conference Center in Spring Hill as an example of his ability to get results for the people of Middle Tennessee. The Northfield facility is used by local and state officials to train workers vital technical skills needed in today’s industries and businesses.
“Because I know how to work with people to get things done, I was able to get former Gov. Bredesen to allocate $5 million for Northfield,” said Cobb, who served in the state House as a fiscally conservative Democrat, as well as on the Maury County Commission.
“We were then able to use that money to buy the facility from General Motors and transform an otherwise empty building into a state-of-the-art technical training center. Northfield is also being used as a call center where hundreds of people work in technical services. It should be a prime example of what our communities can do with the resources we have available to us.
“We have a lot to offer top-notch companies and industries looking for communities in which to locate. But it takes leaders with vision, commitment and dedication to make sure we have a well-trained workforce and the infrastructure needed to support employers,” he explained.
TRG Customer Solutions, a leading global provider of customer management solutions and technologies, operates a 50,000-square-foot technical service center from the Northfield facility. Cobb also points to the vital role Columbia State Community College and Martin Methodist College play in keeping the region desirable for employers.
“Providing our children with second-to-none educational opportunities is vital,” said Cobb, whose parents are educators. “But it seems lately that the Legislature has a vendetta against our teachers. Just look at how the General Assembly tried to destroy the Teachers Education Association last year.
“The TEA’s primary purpose is to ensure educators have the resources they need to teach our children how to read, write and solve the kinds of problems everyone faces in an ever-changing world. I will support unequivocally our teachers and our children while serving in the state Senate, unlike some of our elected officials serving there now,” he added.

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Rep. Harmon Eyes Run for State Senate

Democratic Rep. Bill Harmon says he might run for the state Senate rather than for reelection to a state House seat that has been redistricted to pair him with Republican Rep. Jim Cobb.
The Senate seat in question is District 16, currently held by Democratic Sen. Eric Stewart, who has announced plans to run for the 4th District Congressional seat. Before and after redistricting, district 16 includes Sequatchie County, Harmon’s home. Most rate it as leaning Democratic, though not dramatically so.
In the House, redistricting pairs Harmon and Cobb in new District 31. The House district stretches from Sequatchie and Bledsoe through Rhea County, Cobb’s home, and into southwestern Roane County. Most rate it as leaning Republican, though not dramatically so.
“Probably,” replied Harmon when asked whether he could win against Cobb. “I’m first going to look at (running for) the Senate.”
“Can I win in that district? Yes,” said Cobb.
The Cobb-Harmon Harmon contest is the only remaining matchup between an incumbent Republican and an incumbent Democrat from the new House redistricting plan. The version originally unveiled had another – pairing Democratic Rep. Eddie Bass of Giles County with Republican Rep. Vance Dennis of Hardin County. That match was eliminated in the final and revised version, which leaves Bass in District 70, comprised of all of Giles and most of Lawrence County.
Republican Rep. Joey Hensley of Lewis County, who represents the House District adjoining the Bass District that was also impacted by the revisions, was apparently a key in Republican assent to the revision. House Speaker Beth Harwell and House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner say Hensley is considering a run for the Senate in the new, no-incumbent Senate seat created in Southern Middle Tennessee by the new Senate redistricting plan.

Legislators Question Taft Renovation Estimates

News release from Rep. Cameron Sexton’s office:
Nashville, TN – Over the last few months there has been a lot back and forth about the proposed closing of Taft Youth Development Center in Bledsoe County. The Department of Children Services has maintained Taft needs $37 million in improvements to remain open.
A bipartisan coalition of legislators joined together to oppose the closing of Taft Youth Center. Senator Eric Stewart (D-Belvidere), Representative Jim Cobb (R-Spring City), Representative Bill Harmon (D-Dunlap) and Representative Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville).
A few weeks ago Representative Sexton asked Commissioner O’Day to provide an itemize list detailing the $37 million price tag for improvements.
“Yesterday, Commissioner O’Day and her staff sent the requested information to us outlining the cost to rebuild Taft. It appears from the information we received, Commissioner O’Day is more concerned about the rehabilitation of the buildings at Taft than the rehabilitation of the students. To demolish buildings simply due to their age is short-sighted and leaves me to believe there is much more behind her proposal than what is being stated publically. I think it’s time we get to the bottom of it,” Senator Stewart stated.
In the release of information from Commissioner O’Day, DCS stated that five Taft buildings would need to be demolished and replaced at a cost of $28,790,737.50 due to the age of the structures.
“I have toured the facility multiple times and I am incredulous to the department’s desire to demolish buildings based simply on the year the building was built. Using that rationale, we should demolish the State Capitol and rebuild it because it is old too, built in 1859,” said Sexton.

Note/Update: A Crossville Chronicle article on the matter is HERE.

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TN Democratic ‘Jobs Tour’ Press Release: Day 3

News release from Tennessee Democratic Caucus:
SMYRNA – House and Senate Democrats continued their statewide jobs tour Wednesday with stops in Columbia and Smyrna, as officials discussed technical jobs training and the expansion of one of Middle Tennessee’s largest employers.
“Today’s events were a great reminder that when different groups within the public and private sector come together, we can put people to work faster and more efficiently,” said State Representative Gary Moore.
The morning began with a roundtable at Columbia State Community College, where former State Rep. Ty Cobb updated everyone with the latest news on the reopening of the General Motors plant in Spring Hill. National labor and management officials with GM have reported they are close to a new contract that would create 600 new jobs next year at the former Saturn plant, and another 1,100 by 2013.
Public officials then met with Marvin Sandrell of Sandrell Heating and Air Conditioning and several members of the Columbia State faculty and staff to discuss how Tennessee educational institutions can best prepare students for the workforce – especially nontraditional students training for a new career.
The tour then traveled to Smyrna to visit the Nissan plant, where the all-electric LEAF is expected to go into mass production next year. Nissan executives and directors told the group that the plant’s expansion is a direct result of Tennessee’s economic incentives and infrastructure support.
“I watched the first Nissans roll off the assembly line in 1983, and since Day One our state government has had a great relationship with Nissan,” said Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh. “Our cooperation has benefited not only Middle Tennessee, but the entire state.”
Nissan officials also told the tour of the need for increased emphasis on science and technology education and a recommitment to trade schools that prepare Tennesseans for well-paying manufacturing careers.
The jobs tour continues tomorrow morning in McMinnville before heading to Chattanooga for the East Tennessee portion of the tour.

Legislators Leave TWRA In Limbo

The state’s wildlife management agency was put in limbo this legislative session, and lawmakers disagree about whether its future is in doubt, reports Anne Paine.
A state House committee leader decided not to allow a bill that would re-authorize the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission to move forward for a vote in the full House. The Senate, however, unanimously approved a five-year extension.
Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, chair of the House Governmental Operations Committee, said his intention in not putting the bill to a committee vote was to make commission and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials sit down and talk with lawmakers. He said the action was not intended as a threat to the agency that oversees hunting, fishing and wildlife, but it set off alarms in the conservation world.
“If there are problems that are significant enough to say ‘We’re not going to extend the life of a state agency that is the backbone of a $2.4 billion economic engine in Tennessee,’ you would think we would have heard about these issues,” said Mike Butler, CEO of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.
Cobb said 15 lawmakers have come to him with complaints about TWRA. He didn’t want to give details but said there seems to be a general attitude that TWRA isn’t responsive to the public and has become overly focused on law enforcement.