Tag Archives: Debra Maggart

On House District 45: Rogers vs. Silverman (& Maggart)

The Tennessean has a review of the race between state Rep. Courtney Rogers and Len Silverman in the House District 45 Republican primary:

In 2012, Rogers, a political unknown from Goodlettsville, defeated the third-most powerful state House Republican, then House Caucus Chair Debra Maggart. In the Aug. 7 Republican primary, Rogers is squaring off with Len Silverman, a Goodlettsville businessman.
The muted race is a far cry from the Rogers-Maggart showdown two years ago, which attracted national attention. Maggart, who until then had never faced a challenger from her own party in her eight years as a legislator, stepped in hot water with the National Rifle Association after she backed a decision not to hold a floor vote on legislation that would let gun owners take their weapons into workplace parking lots.

The national guns rights organization spent more than $75,000 in the race to push Maggart out and Rogers in.

Maggart is still a figure in this year’s race, backing Silverman and campaigning door-to-door for him.

“It’s really not much different,” Rogers said. “It’s the same race.”
…”It does not matter to me what street you live on, what club you belong to, or what support you can give me or withhold from me,” Rogers said at the Sumner County Republican Party breakfast earlier this month. “I serve that one forgotten demographic that is the basic building block of this nation — the individual.”

Silverman says new direction is needed, but he says it without rancor.

“I think from a principles standpoint, Courtney’s a fine person. I respect her military background. There’s a lot of good there,” he said. “It’s approach. It’s just what are you doing when you’re down in Nashville. That’s where I see a difference.”

Debra Maggart won’t run for legislature; will lobby instead

Former House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart, who lost a bid for reelection in 2012, says she won’t try again in 2014, according to the Tennessean.

Instead, she announced Wednesday that she’ll serve as senior vice president of CivicPoint, the new public affairs and lobbying wing of Nashville-based Frost Brown Todd law firm.

A lifelong gun rights supporter, Maggart said earlier this year she was stunned to be ousted in 2012 after pro-gun groups supported her opponent in the primary election, state Rep. Courtney Rogers, R-Good­lettsville. Maggart had supported business owners’ right to dictate whether employees could bring guns to work in their cars and park on company property.

“I am excited for this new opportunity with Frost Brown Todd, and the opportunity to help clients achieve their goals,” Maggart said in a prepared statement. “I will be forever grateful to the people of Sumner County for allowing me to serve them in the Tennessee General Assembly, and I look forward to this next challenge with CivicPoint.”

Maggart reflects on last year’s loss, gun bill that helped beat her

Former House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart, defeated in the August, 2012, GOP primary, tells the Tennessean the gun bill that figured in her loss has proven to be a bad idea. And she’s coy about trying a rematch with Rep. Courtney Rogers next year.


A year removed from the primary that ousted her, Maggart sees the argument over guns-in-trunks as eroding both employers’ property rights and citizens’ gun rights. Her concern from the beginning, she said, was that business owners wouldn’t be allowed to control what happened on their own property, a cornerstone of democracy.
“We’ve now diminished two important rights. And for what?” Maggart said. “I’ve never had anyone call me until this became an issue saying, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to bring my gun to work.’ People didn’t know they couldn’t.”

…With a year to analyze what happened, she knows where she went wrong.
“I should have made sure that the people of my district had an opportunity to hear her speak and answer questions” in a debate, Maggart said of Rogers. “If she has a challenger, she’s going to have to run a completely different campaign. She won’t have all these outside influences running it for her.”

…As the controversy continues a year later, constituents still call Maggart, thinking she’s their representative. She gives them Rogers’ number. And when they ask Maggart whether she’ll run again, she gives a middle-of-the-road answer, like the politician she is.
For now, she said, she’s happy working for Compass, a nonprofit benefiting Sumner County Schools, raising money for GOP causes and seeing her two grandchildren more. She looked relaxed in an interview at the Hendersonville Panera Bread, interrupted at least 10 times in an hour and a half by well-wishers.

Complaints Filed Against Maggart’s PAC, Donation Recipients

Two Hendersonville citizens filed three complaints with the Sumner County District Attorney and Tennessee Registry of Election Finance against the Hendersonville mayor, an alderman and a political action committee founded by former House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart, according to The Tennessean.

Donna De Sopo, a frequent critic of city hall, and Tim O’Brien filed the complaints July 24 against Hendersonville Mayor Scott Foster, Alderman Paul Goode and Maintaining Our Majority PAC.

…The Registry next meets Aug. 21 and will decide whether to look into the complaints and issue any show-cause notices to give the parties an opportunity to respond. (Note: The Registry agenda is HERE.)

In his complaint against the mayor, O’Brien stated: “This financial disclosure statement fails to disclose a contribution in the amount of $1,000 on Nov. 8, 2012 from MOMPAC, a PAC that has been registered with the State of Tennessee by Debra Maggart.”

De Sopo filed two complaints, one against Goode and one against MOM PAC…. (alleging) a violation of state law “which prohibits a PAC from contributing to any candidate after the 10th day before an election until the day of the election.” (Note: Also known as the PAC ‘blackout’ period before an election.)

Foster and Goode amended their reports on July 31.

The amendments to Goode’s and Foster’s reports now show $2,000 more in contributions than previously disclosed.

Foster amended his fourth quarter 2012 disclosure to report he received the $1,000 from MOM PAC on Nov. 6, 2012. However, MOM PAC’s report shows the contribution was made Nov. 8.

The mayor has not responded to requests for clarification.

In addition to shifting $1,000 from unitemized contributions not over $100 over to the $1,000 itemized MOM PAC contribution, Foster also reported a previously undisclosed $250 contribution from Tony Helton at a Lebanon business address on Nov. 5.

More on Maggart Vs. the NRA (and Courtney Rogers)

WPLN takes a look at the House District 45 contest where the National Rifle Association’s attack on Rep. Debra Maggart has made the House Republican Caucus Chairman the poster child (on billboards at least) for incumbent legislators facing challengers in next week’s primaries.
The tension could be seen at this year’s Statesmen’s Dinner – the Tennessee GOP’s annual fundraiser. Everyone at this soiree supposedly plays on the same team, but the NRA has made the family get-together a little uncomfortable this year.
“Take a picture, quick,” Maggart said, upon being caught in a hallway with the NRA’s Cox.
While the two exchanged pleasantries, Cox is making an example of Maggart so other Republicans think twice before stepping out of line with the gun lobby. The NRA had spent $75,000 at the end of June, with more activity since then. The unrelated Tennessee Firearms Association chipped in at least $10,000 to defeat Maggart.
These are unheard of totals for state legislative races, but Cox calls the independent expenditures appropriate.
“It’s our First Amendment right to assemble to petition our government,” Cox said in an interview. “That’s what we’re doing.”
Rep. Maggart calls the NRA’s campaign “bullying” and a stunt to raise more money.
“You know they’ve got to have a reason to collect your dues,” she says. “They’ve got to have a reason for people to send them a check.”
Maggart – herself a member – has been sending the NRA checks for years and contends she’s about as big a gun gal as she could be. She hosts a skeet shoot fundraiser. She has her carry permit. And she’s a regular at the range.
But at Guns and Leather, a store in Hendersonville with an indoor shooting range, what’s in the window may say it all – signs for Maggart’s opponent, political newcomer Courtney Rogers.
Rogers, a retired Air Force officer, says she’s even surprised at some of the NRA’s tactics, like plastering Rep. Maggart’s face on billboards with President Obama.
“I didn’t even know what to say,” she says. “I just looked up at it and said, “[Maggart] is not going to like that.”
Still, Rogers welcomes the NRA in her corner. And the outside spending may be paying off.
Campaigning door to door, Rogers has been getting a warm reception from gun owners like Jim Fitzgerald. He calls Maggart “wishy-washy” on the weapons issue.

Note: The Tennessean also revisits the subject today.
But there are signs the NRA is turning off voters too.
“Debra Maggart is a lifetime NRA member as I am as a lot of all of us are,” says Bill Taylor, a dentist in Hendersonville. “We may drop our membership because of that.”

Republicans Push Bill to Require Photo ID For Voting Despite Democrat Claims It’s Unconstitutional

By Lucas Johnson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A proposal that would require Tennessee voters to show photo identification before they can cast ballots passed the House on Thursday despite a legal opinion from the state’s attorney general that the Republican-led effort would violate the Tennessee and U.S. constitutions.
The measure sponsored by House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart of Hendersonville was approved 57-35. The Senate passed its version of the bill 21-11 in February, with only one Democrat voting for the measure.
However, state Attorney General Bob Cooper on Wednesday said in the opinion that without a provision to supply voters with free ID cards, the measure “unduly burdens the right to vote,” and would constitute an unconstitutional poll tax.
Democrats have voiced concern that the measure will intimidate or otherwise disenfranchise legitimate voters, while Republicans have argued that the measure would ensure ballot integrity.
“We don’t want to institute a poll tax, or any type of impediment,” said House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, a Ripley Democrat who requested the attorney general opinion.
Maggart said identification is a necessity in many cases, even for obtaining a library card, and voting shouldn’t be any different.
“While this bill won’t stop all voter fraud, it is a good bill to have in our tool box,” she said. “We want to make sure that people have the utmost … confidence in our voting process.”

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House Republicans Retreat and Revise Collective Bargaining Bill

With the approval of Gov. Bill Haslam, House Republicans retreated from a push to prohibit collective bargaining by teachers unions and instead substituted a rewritten bill that puts new restrictions on the practice.
The revised bill was zipped through the House Education Subcommittee on a party-line vote with Democrats protesting they had not had a chance to digest the changes, which were drafted by Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, at the request of House Speaker Beth Harwell.
A Senate committee earlier approved the original version, which flatly forbids collective bargaining between teacher organizations and local school boards. About 90 of the state’s 130 school systems now have collective bargaining.
The new version would allow bargaining to continue on basic pay and benefits for teachers, but explicitly keeps some things off the table.
Among the excluded subjects are merit pay, extra “differential pay” for teachers in specific subjects such as math and science, dues deductions for unions, the salary and benefits of principals and “working conditions” of teachers.
The revised bill would make it easier to “decertify” an association as a bargaining agent for teachers, requiring only 30 percent of those covered by an agreement to vote out a union instead of 50 percent as under current law. Also, it calls for all persons covered by a proposed contract to vote on ratification instead of just those who are part of the union, as is the case under current law.

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