Tag Archives: don sundquist

Sundquist backs Trump; keeps old campaign committee going

Former Gov. Don Sundquist has become an enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign while maintaining an interest in Tennessee politics through his old campaign account, still operating 14 years after he left office.

“My campaign days are over. But I can still cheer,” said Sundquist, 80, in a telephone interview from his Townsend home.

He is now cheering for Trump, the former governor and congressman said, because “I like the fact that he’s challenging the status quo.” Sundquist had initially supported former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a longtime friend, for the presidential nomination.

“Too often in Washington, D.C., people have grown to think they should dominate what’s done everywhere,” he said, citing criticism of Trump by Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, and Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., who briefly sought the party’s presidential nomination this year.

“I think it’s time to shake up that political bureaucracy and all those people who make money off of campaigns,” Sundquist said, noting he and his wife, Martha, received repeated solicitations for campaign contributions when Romeny was running — “it seemed like two or three a week” — and have received none from Trump.
Continue reading

Sunday column: Like governors before him, Haslam takes the helm for a hazardous voyage

As his predecessor might say, Gov. Bill Haslam is embarking on a hazardous voyage into legislative waters this week after four years of smooth sailing. Shipwreck is a real possibility.

It’s somewhat curious that former Gov. Phil Bredesen, famous for nautical analogies in his speeches on steering the Tennessee “ship of state” with a legislator crew, faced his greatest controversy in an eight-year reign in trying to slash enrollment in TennCare, the state’s name for Medicaid, over objections from fellow Democrats, then in the majority at the Legislature, and with the support of most minority Republicans.

Now we have Haslam trying to expand Medicaid/TennCare over the objections of many members of his own party – Republicans, who now enjoy Supermajority status — while backed by most of the minority Democrats. (One hears there may be an exception or two there.)

So the past and present governors had different directions. Yet Haslam has praised Bredesen for his actions at the time, given the circumstances he faced, and Bredesen backs expansion today, given the circumstances created by the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

Bredesen ultimately prevailed in cutting about 170,000 people from TennCare enrollment after considerable controversy in courtrooms as well as in Legislatorland. Haslam’s success in adding about 280,000 — an estimate increased by about 80,000 last week — will be decided in a special legislative session that begins Monday.
Continue reading