Tag Archives: Darren

House District 60: Gotto vs. Jernigan

The candidates running for the State House in District 60 agree that creating more jobs and growing the economy are on the minds of voters in their area. But state Rep. Jim Gotto and Metro Councilman Darren Jernigan part ways on how to make any of that happen, according to The Tennessean.
Gotto, the Republican incumbent, supports loosening restrictions on zoning and cutting red tape to encourage businesses to grow. Jernigan, his Democratic opponent, wants to create jobs by favoring local firms bidding for state and local contracts and offering tax credits for hiring jobless workers.
The men are running to represent the eastern stretches of Davidson County in Hermitage and Old Hickory.
In an interview, Gotto, 63, touted his record in the legislature of cutting taxes and helping the state balance its budget. “When you put more money in the hands of the people, especially businesses, it helps create jobs,” he said.
Jernigan, 42, said his plan to give Tennessee businesses first crack at state and local contracts will help make sure that money stays in the local economy.

NRA Sees ‘Pervision of Democracy’ if GOP Leaders Block Vote

The National Rifle Association calls state House and Senate Republican leaders’ efforts to block employers from banning firearms in their parking lots a “perversion of the representative democracy,” reports Andy Sher.
In a letter distributed to all 99 House members Thursday, the politically powerful gun-rights group said it will grade lawmakers on whether they get behind efforts to bring the legislation to the legislative floor.
Trying to put the bills on the floor will be “weighed more heavily in our grading process than a vote against the bill on the floor,” NRA lobbyist Darren LaSorte said in the letter.
The effort appears to be an attempt to get the House to suspend its rules, bypass its Calendar and Rules Committee and bring the bills directly to the floor if necessary. It takes 66 votes, or two-thirds of the House membership, to suspend rules.
The letter also invites minority Democrats, some of whom oppose the bills, to support efforts to get them to the floor for a vote. If the bills make it that far, Republicans would be pinned between two of their most powerful constituencies — the NRA and business groups — which are at each others’ throats over the legislation.
Business groups and individual companies, including Volkswagen in Chattanooga and Memphis-based FedEx, charge that the two bills violate their property rights and pose safety threats.

Rep. Gotto Draws Democratic Opponent

Darren Jernigan, a Metro councilman whose District 11 includes parts of Old Hickory and Hermitage, tells The City Paper he plans to run as a Democrat for the state House District 60 seat currently held by Republican Jim Gotto.
“Becoming a state representative gives me the opportunity to expand my passion for public service beyond the local level,” said Jernigan, who recently appointed a treasurer for his campaign with the Davidson County Election Commission.
Prior to the state’s redistricting, Jernigan’s residence was in state Rep. Mike Turner’s District 51
.

Georgia Man Convicted in Courthouse Takeover Case

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A jury convicted a Georgia man Tuesday of a federal firearms charge in what authorities said was a plot to take over a Tennessee courthouse and force President Barack Obama out of office.
Darren Wesley Huff, 41, was found guilty of carrying a firearm in interstate commerce with the intent to use it in a civil disorder. He was acquitted of using a firearm in relation to another felony. He faces up to five years in prison.
“The verdict on count one reflects exactly what the law is supposed to do, which is prevent harm before shots get fired, people hurt, or property damaged,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Mackie told reporters after the verdict.
Scott Green, Huff’s attorney, did not comment after the verdict. When he spoke The Associated Press on Monday before the verdict, Green quoted former New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay: “Those who suppress freedom always do so in the name of law and order.”
Huff was stopped by Tennessee officers in April 2010 and told them he was bringing guns into the state from Dallas, Ga., to support efforts to arrest Monroe County officials who refused to indict Obama.
Huff was a part of a Georgia militia and the ‘birther’ movement that disputes Obama’s U.S. citizenship.
Officers testified Huff was carrying a loaded Colt .45 in a holster on his hip plus an assault rifle and 200 or 300 rounds of ammunition in a tool box in his truck. They said he also had a document he claimed was a “citizens’ arrest warrant” for officials, saying they were domestic enemies and had been charged with treason.
Huff testified that he wanted to help Walter Fitzpatrick, a military retiree living in Madisonville, who was arrested after he tried to put the local grand jury foreman under citizen’s arrest. Fitzpatrick, who became hostile to the government two decades ago when he faced a court-martial, is in jail over that incident.
Huff choked back tears as he told the jury Friday that he was humiliated because “my government has called me a potential domestic terrorist.”
He denied he threatened to take over the courthouse in Monroe County, which is about halfway between Knoxville and Chattanooga.
“I have never made a statement about taking over the courthouse, the city, the state, nothing,” Huff said.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan ordered Huff into custody following the jury’s conviction. Huff, wearing a light green shirt and khakis, was handcuffed by officers in the courtroom. A sentencing hearing was scheduled in February.

Courthouse Takeover Testimony

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former Georgia militia member testified Friday at his trial in a bizarre attempted courthouse takeover case, fighting back tears and saying “my government has called me a potential domestic terrorist.”
Prosecutors contend Darren Wesley Huff of Dallas, Ga., drove to East Tennessee with a handgun and an AK-47 on April 20, 2010, after threatening to use force and to sacrifice his life if necessary to take over the city of Madisonville and the Monroe County Courthouse.
Huff is charged with carrying a firearm in interstate commerce with the intent to use it in a civil disorder. He is also charged with using a firearm in relation to another felony, which on conviction carries a mandatory two-year minimum prison sentence.
After getting the case late Friday, jurors decided to begin deliberating Monday.

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Defendant in Courthouse Takeover Case Deemed ‘Downright Kooky’

By Bill Poovey,Associated Press
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jurors at the federal weapons trial of a Georgia militia supporter charged with traveling into Tennessee with an AK-47 and handgun to make citizens’ arrests of judges and law officers found out quickly Tuesday from his attorney what to expect: “Downright kooky.”
Court records show Darren Wesley Huff, 41, of Dallas, Ga., traveled in April 2010 to the Monroe County Courthouse for what he said was a plan to take it over, and if necessary use force to do so, in support of serving a citizens’ arrest warrant that also named President Barack Obama.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Mackie said Huff and others were involved in a takeover plan that stemmed from their support of a local activist’s earlier unsuccessful attempt to arrest the Monroe County grand jury foreman.
Gary Pettway testified Tuesday as the first witness at the trial that as grand jury foreman at the time in the rural county between Knoxville and Chattanooga he refused a demand to pursue charges Obama related to questions about his American citizenship.
“Every one of you all may think he (Huff) and his ilk are kooky as all get out” Huff’s attorney, Scott Green, said in an opening statement. Green said Huff and the others “love their country.”

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Trial Begins in Courthouse Seizure Plot

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A jury is to be picked in Knoxville for the federal trial of a Georgia militia supporter charged with traveling with weapons to support citizens’ arrests of judges and other officials at a Tennessee courthouse.
Records show 41-year-old Darren Wesley Huff of Dallas, Ga., traveled in April 2010 to the Monroe County Courthouse with a handgun, an AK-47 and ammunition after telling FBI agents about the plan.
Huff was supporting a Monroe County activist who in a warrant had declared the officials to be “domestic enemies.”
Huff and his attorney, Scott Green of Knoxville, have declined comment ahead of Tuesday’s trial.
Huff is charged with carrying a firearm in interstate commerce with the intent to use it in a civil disorder and using a firearm in relation to another felony.