Attorney Jeff Yarbro has taken a commanding fundraising lead in the Democratic primary to replace longtime state Sen. Douglas Henry, hauling in more than four times the figure of his opponent, Metro Councilman Jason Holleman, according to The Tennessean. Yarbro raised $95,225 in the financial quarter that ended June 30, giving him a total war chest of $101,089, while Holleman raked in $22,200. The deadline to submit financial disclosures for 2014 state elections was Monday.
…Besides these two, no one else has publicly expressed intentions to run for District 21, which now stretches from West Nashville to parts of East Nashville and Madison after Republican-controlled redistricting.
The contest between Yarbro and Holleman, considered a bitter rivalry, is likely to be Davidson County’s most watched race in 2014. The winner would be heavily favored in the November general election.
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today appointed Douglas T. Jenkins of Rogersville as Chancellor in the 3rd Judicial District, replacing Thomas R. Frierson who was named to the Tennessee Court of Appeals in February.
The 3rd Judicial District serves Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins and Greene counties.
“Doug has a depth of experience in law, and I am pleased to make this appointment,” Haslam said. “I appreciate his willingness to serve, and I know he will do an excellent job on the bench.”
Jenkins, 45, has practiced in the Law Office of Douglas T. Jenkins in Rogersville since 1997. He worked in the Law Offices of Terry, Terry & Stapleton in Morristown from 1995-1997.
His areas of practice have included domestic relations; probate/wills/estate/estate litigation; criminal defense and property boundary disputes. Jenkins has been owner and manager of a private family farm in Hawkins County since 1986.
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Longtime Sen. Douglas Henry said Wednesday that his health and the high cost of campaigning were factors in his decision not to seek re-election next year, even though he believes he could win if he did run.
The 86-year-old Nashville Democrat officially met with reporters about a week after his campaign manager sent an email to Henry’s supporters last week announcing his decision.
Henry, who turns 87 this month, said he had been disregarding his doctor’s request that he not run again but finally decided to heed his advice. He also said the amount of money he spent on his 2010 election was “obscene.”
“If I told y’all how much money it cost to get elected last time, you’d never believe it,” he said. (Note: His campaign expenditures for the 2010 cycle were about $582,000.)
State Sen. Douglas Henry’s announcement that he will retire from the Legislature this week has already led two men to say they will run for the Democratic nominationn to succeed him.
They are, says the City Paper, Nashville attorney Jeff Yarbro, who nearly defeated Henry in a 2010 primary challenge, and Metro Councilman Jason Holleman, who is term-limited at the courthouse and whose ambition is well known in Nashville’s political circles. Holleman, who has called Henry a hero of his, confirmed his plans to The City Paper.
“I intend to run for the state Senate next year, because I think it’s the place where I can do the largest good,” he said, noting that he has lived in District 21 his entire life.
With the caveat that formal announcements and campaign organizations are still a ways off, Holleman said education is a top-of-mind issue for him at the state level, where policy decisions “have a tremendous impact on the classrooms in our local school system.”
“Beyond that, we’re in a time when there is a lot of discussion about the interplay between state and local government,” he said. “I think that there is a need to be sure that our local government interests are represented. And with the background in local government, both as an elected official and an attorney, I think I can contribute in a meaningful way to that discussion.”
If he were elected, Holleman would join, at least for a bit, the ranks of council members who have held seats at the state and local level simultaneously. While his first state Senate term would begin in January 2015, his final council term would end in August.
Yarbro also confirmed that he intends to run, but said he will make a formal announcement later.
“I’m looking forward to a conversation about Tennessee’s future and this Senate seat, but there’s plenty of time for the next campaign. I’ll make an announcement when the time’s right.”
He declined to comment further, saying he’d “love for this week to be about Sen. Henry,” and his “faithfulness to the state over the years and his service.
From The Tennessean: Democratic Reps. Mike Stewart and Sherry Jones and former Metro Councilman David Briley each told The Tennessean on Wednesday that they wouldn’t be running in the District 21 Democratic primary in 2014, which is still 15 months away.
Sen. Douglas Henry, the most senior member of the Tennessee General Assembly, has announced he will not seek a 12th term next year.
“It is my intention, the Lord willing, to serve in the regular session of the General Assembly in 2014 and any special session or sessions called during that year until the November election,” Henry said in a letter to Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney.
The Tennessean reported Henry’s decision, noting he referred a reporter to a story in the Green Hills News, and quoting his long-time political ally Nick Bailey. “He asked me to let you know that he has made the decision not to seek re-election in 2014,” Bailey wrote in a letter to Henry’s supporters. “He does intend to serve the remainder of his term through next year.
“While I am convinced that Sen. Henry could have been re-elected, it was not a decision he reached based on the likely outcome of the election. Rather, it was a decision to devote his full attention to the care of his wife Lolly.”
The Green Hills News story by Drucillia Smith Fuller (pdf of the weekly paper HERE) quotes the letter to legislative leaders. An excerpt from the story: He enclosed a letter from his physician, Dr. Mohana Karlekar, written last May but only heeded a year later, advising that his continuing to work as a senator, at the pace he works, would negatively impact his health.
The decision by Sen. Henry, who turns 87 on Monday, May 13, opens the 21st District for a newcomer to the Senate, promising to spark a fierce battle between the two parties for the seat.
Henry’s quarter-century of service chairing the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee has been widely praised by colleagues in both parties. Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell recently expressed her appreciation of Henry, “You know, governors come and go. But it is Sen. Douglas Henry who has watched that budget year after year and worried about that program. It’s just a wonderful gift he has given our state to his children, to his grandchildren to have done this for state government.”
Republican State Treasurer David Lillard has called Sen. Henry, “the lion of the pension system — he guards it well,” while State Comptroller Justin Wilson credits Henry with keeping pensions fully-funded since 1972.”
Henry with his characteristic modesty thanks “my late friend Lt. Gov. John Wilder who made me chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. That made me a big, big dog!”
The Senator expressed his admiration for current Senate Finance Chairman Randy McNally, a Republican, with whom he now serves.
Henry served a term in the House in the 1950s – the 79th General Assembly, which convened in 1955 – and was first elected to the Senate during the 87th General Assembly, which convened in 1971
In addition to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag, an official “Salute to the Tennessee flag” is now part of the state Senate’s opening ceremony at the start of a day’s meeting.
The first recitation came Thursday in compliance with a Senate Rules Committee proposal adopted earlier by the full Senate.
Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, the Legislature’s senior member, had proposed the recitation and led colleagues on the first occasion. The salute goes like this: “Three white stars on a field of blue
God keep them strong and ever true.
It is with pride and love that we
Salute the flag of Tennessee.”
During a committee meeting, Henry acknowledged that some senators were not familiar with the salute yet. He quoted Sen. Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, jokingly suggesting a variation: “Three starts upon a field of blue. I don’t know the rest and neither do you.”
As Luke E. Dickerson introduces himself to supporters at a local Democratic fundraiser, The Tennessean reports, it only gradually becomes apparent that the 28-year-old is not just an aide or campaign volunteer doing legwork for someone else. He’s the candidate.
While Dickerson may be green in terms of experience compared with other candidates statewide, he is the oldest candidate in the primary election for a Murfreesboro state House district set for August. His opponent, Spencer Douglas, is a 23-year-old Rockvale resident who just graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in May.
Douglas and Dickerson are trying to unseat first-term lawmaker Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale. If either were to win the southwestern Rutherford County district, he would be one of the youngest lawmakers in the state House and the first Democrat to win that district in recent memory.
As Douglas sees it, his eligibility to run for the state House is all the requirement he needs to succeed if elected.
“At 21, you can run. I don’t see how not having much personal experience can be a disadvantage,” he said.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State Sen. Douglas Henry has returned to the Legislature.
The Nashville Democrat was in the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. The 85-year-old lawmaker was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Tuesday for tests after he experienced high blood pressure and felt dizzy in a caucus meeting.
Henry has been a state senator since 1970. His District 21 seat represents southwestern Nashville, including some of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods
Chas Sisk, with the help of Sen. Douglas Henry, gets the names straightened out on plazas in the state capitol complex:
State Sen. Douglas Henry, a man who knows far more about Tennessee history than 95 percent of the population, left a message over the weekend to say that we’ve got it all wrong: That vast expanse next to the state Capitol and the War Memorial Building. It’s not Legislative Plaza. It’s “War Memorial Plaza.”
In Session did a little checking into this, and of course Henry is right. The name Legislative Plaza refers to the office building beneath the public square. That building opened in 1975, and the name Legislative Plaza quickly became attached to its roof as well.
But before there was Legislative Plaza, there was Victory Park, a public park that opened in 1925. That park was also known as War Memorial Park, as shown in this postcard that appeared in the recent American Civil Liberties Union’s suit filed on behalf of Occupy Nashville protesters. (The suit, by the way, also uses the name “Legislative Plaza.”)
State Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, recently sent the state a $97 check for sales tax due on his online purchase of books – but Action Andy Sher reports that’s a pretty rare thing in Tennessee. State figures show the state Revenue Department received only 3,041 consumer use tax returns in 2011. Those taxpayers remitted $4.78 million — about 1.3 percent of the estimated $365 million in sales taxes that went uncollected by out-of-state online retailers for the year.
Most payments appeared to be for big-ticket items such as cars, trucks, boats and furniture purchased not online, but across the state border, state figures show.
….The state shows relatively little appetite for going after consumers who make small online purchases, noted Dick Williams of Tennesseans for Fair Taxation.
That may make sense, Williams said.
“Part of the rationale for this is the tax is due, but it’s not realistic for the Revenue Department to spend a lot of time raising what individually would be small amounts,” Williams said. “Collectively it can be a significant amount.”
The Revenue Department does seek to track large purchases through third-party research and information exchanges with federal and state agencies, including U.S. Customs and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Linda Kelley, the department’s director of taxpayer and vehicle services, said officials last year issued 1,913 assessments for unpaid consumer use tax, including 267 assessments on aircraft.
And there’s a cost to not paying the tax, whether because of negligence or fraud, Kelley said in an email.
“If the failure to pay taxes is determined to be due to negligence, the taxpayer would face a penalty in the amount of 10 percent of the tax due along with interest,” she wrote.
In a fraud case, “the taxpayer would receive a 100 percent penalty along with the interest due.”
So what does Revenue Commissioner Roberts make of the situation?
“Obviously it is a concern to the State of Tennessee,” Kelley’s email stated. “However we believe this matter is best addressed at the federal level.”