Tag Archives: duncan

Alexander Names Multiple Co-Chairs for Re-Election Campaign

News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander campaign:
NASHVILLE–Sen. Lamar Alexander told members of the Republican State Executive Committee here today that Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr., will chair his 2014 re-election campaign.
Alexander also announced that campaign honorary co-chairs will be Gov. Bill Haslam, Sen. Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, House Speaker Beth Harwell, along with Congressmen Marsha Blackburn, Phil Roe, Diane Black, Stephen Fincher and Chuck Fleischmann.
At press conferences with Alexander in Nashville and Knoxville, Duncan said, “Lamar is a good Republican and good conservative who stands up for Tennesseans. We know and trust him to do what needs to be done.”
Alexander said, “Jimmy Duncan is a strong conservative voice for fiscal discipline. I am grateful that he will chair my campaign and that so many of the state’s other Republican leaders will be honorary co-chairmen.”
“Our country has serious problems to solve,” Alexander said. “We must fix the debt and move more decisions out of Washington. We must find better ways to help Americans move from the back of the line to the front in our struggling economy. It is time to stop making speeches and to start getting results.”
Alexander will be seeking his third six-year term in the United States Senate. His colleagues have elected him three times as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. In the next Congress, he will be the senior Republican on committees concerning education, health, and energy appropriations.
Alexander has served two terms as Tennessee’s governor and was chairman of the National Governors Association. He was chairman of President Reagan’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, President of the University of Tennessee and President George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of Education.
In private life, he and his wife, Honey, helped found what has become the nation’s largest provider of worksite day care.
The Alexanders have four children and six grandchildren. He is a Presbyterian elder.

Semate District 6: Gill Vs. Massey

Republican incumbent Becky Duncan Massey is being challenged by Evelyn Gill, 45, who teaches special education at Carter High School, in state Senate District 6. Jim Balloch has talked with the candidates.
Massey, 57, has the backing of the politically popular Duncan family, and the district lines are drawn to favor the GOP. The District stretches from the Bluegrass community to Corryton, surrounds much of Knoxville and includes rural, urban and suburban sections.
She has a record of legislative success. Of the 31 bills she introduced or co-sponsored, 22 have became law, including those that were compromised or amended.
“She thinks things out and is not easily stampeded,” said fellow GOP Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge, “She has a special and personal interest in issues that effect senior citizens, and our citizens who are mentally or physically disabled. She has an easy manner, but doesn’t beat around the bush. She very much comes to the point on issues.”
Gill is originally from Mississippi. She holds a master’s degree in public planning and administration from Rutgers University. Her master’s thesis was on poverty in urban and rural areas.
She said she is waging a classic grass roots campaign. She emphasizes education, economic development and the environment. She said her experience as a teacher makes her particularly better suited to deal with education issues than her opponent is.
Gill has lived or worked in three different sections of the district for many years. That, she says, gives her a better grasp of the district’s wide geographic diversity, and the multitude of issues that arise from such a district.
“I can represent the district on a personal as well as a professional level, and make sure that all of the voices in the district are heard,” she said. “In the end, the issues of education, economic development and the environment are all tied together.”

Jimmy Duncan Has Opponents and 100,000 New Voters

U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, senior member of Tennessee’s congressional delegation, is introducing himself to voters who were not previously part of his district before reapportionment earlier this year, reports Michael Collins.
Nearly 100,000 voters in Jefferson, Grainger, Claiborne and Campbell counties have been thrown into the 2nd Congressional District, which also takes in all of Knox, Loudon and Blount counties.
Duncan, who turns 65 later this month, said he already knows many of the new voters and has been making an effort to introduce himself to the others. He has attended ribbon cuttings, spoken at GOP dinners, held meet-and-greets with local officials and mailed out a campaign flier to potential primary voters in the new district.
In the Aug. 2 primary, Duncan will face two little-known Republicans – Joseph Leinweber Jr., an Air Force retiree who lives in Knoxville, and Nick Ciparro, a full-student who is also from Knoxville. Neither Leinweber nor Ciparro has held public office, and neither expects to spend more than a couple thousand dollars on the race.
The winner will face Democrat Troy Christopher Goodale in November.
Both Leinweber and Ciparro have tried to portray Duncan as someone who is ineffective, out of touch and has been in office far too long.
“John Duncan is a nice guy, but I think it is time for him to go,” said Leinweber, 60, who ran against the congressman two years ago as an independent.
Leinweber, who supports term limits and believes Congress should stick to the powers given to it in the Constitution, said he’s running because the federal government is broken and useless. “I don’t even call it Washington – I call it the district of corruption,” he said. “It’s an affront to George Washington put his name there.”
Ciparro, 32, also supports limited constitutional government and says lawmakers should stop spending money the government doesn’t have.
“To be honest, I don’t want to be in Congress – I hate those guys,” Ciparro said when asked why he’s running. But, “that might be also why I’m running. I’m tired of a bunch of do-nothings running things.”
For his part, Duncan said if he’s re-elected, he will keep pushing for many of the same things he has championed since he was elected to succeed his father, John J. Duncan Sr., more than 23 years ago. That includes fiscal conservatism, lowering the national debt, holding down energy costs and pursuing a non-interventionist foreign policy to keep the country out of unnecessary wars.
To those who think he has been in office too long, Duncan says, “I’m very grateful for the people for electing me through the years, and I’ve worked very, very hard. I’m willing to keep on working just as hard as I ever have over the next couple of years.”

Federal Traffic Camera Ban Meaningless?

U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. made no secret about what he was trying to accomplish when he inserted language into a federal highway bill that takes aim at red-light traffic cameras at busy intersections in Knoxville and other cities across the country. But Mike Collins reports it may have little impact.
The little-noticed provision, part of a $100 billion highway spending package that received final approval in Congress on Friday, bars the use of federal funds to buy, operate or maintain red-light cameras or other automated traffic enforcement systems.
“Since most highway money, even at the state level, comes from the federal government, and most of the work that is being done locally involves federal money, what hopefully it will mean — and should mean — is that there will be many, many fewer red-light cameras all over the country,” the Knoxville Republican said.
But highway safety advocates and others say the ban is unlikely to have any impact at all.
“There really isn’t any federal funding that goes into any of these programs,” said David Kelly, president and executive director of the Washington-based National Coalition for Safer Roads.
In Knoxville, red-light cameras are operated and maintained at 15 intersections by American Traffic Solutions Inc., a Tempe, Ariz.-based contractor that has 3,000 of the devices nationwide. No federal money is used to operate any of the cameras, said Charles Territo, a company spokesman.

Duncan Amendment Blocks Fed Funding of Traffic Cameras

A federal highway bill that is expected to receive final approval today in Congress could lead to far fewer red-light traffic cameras across the country, reports Michael Collins.
The legislation, a massive bill that overhauls highway and transit programs, bars the use of federal money to purchase red-light cameras or other automated traffic enforcement cameras.
“Since most highway money, even at the state level, comes from the federal government, and most of the work that is being done locally involves federal money, what hopefully it will mean — and should mean — is that there will be many, many fewer red-light cameras all over the country,” said U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., a Knoxville Republican.
Duncan said he was able to insert the red-light provision into the final highway bill during negotiations between the House and the Senate.
Duncan serves as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. He also was a member of the House-Senate conference committee that pieced together the final highway package.
Both the House and the Senate are scheduled to vote on the highway bill later today

Hawk Draws Three Opponents in House District 5 Primary

Two of the three candidates opposing state Rep. David Hawk in this summer’s Republican primary acknowledge they had no plans to enter the contest until the incumbent was charged with domestic assault on his wife.
But now that the race for House District 5 is underway, all the candidates say that’s not really an appropriate topic for campaign discourse. Hawk says his attorney has advised him not to talk about the pending case. His challengers say, more or less, that they don’t need to bring it up.
Greeneville businessman Hawk, 44, has spent 10 years as a lawmaker and says the experience and relationship gained over that period warrant reelection to another term. In a speech to announce his candidacy, he declared “I’m the same person now that I was when you re-elected me four times.”
Hawk was charged in March with assaulting his wife, Crystal Goan Hawk, an attorney who is also president of Greene County Republican Women. According to the Greeneville Sun, Crystal Hawk has declared the organization will fully support the Aug. 2 GOP primary winner in the general election.
Hawk’s primary opponents are:
-Duncan Cave, 34, an attorney who works in a law firm with his father and two brothers. “My basic policy stand is deregulation for the government,” he said, adding this could include easing or eliminating state licensing for some professions and turning more decision-making over to city and county governments, perhaps even on matters such as gun control.
-Ted Hensley, 59, a county commissioner and real estate broker who characterizes himself as a “constitutional conservative” who feels political parties “are keeping us divided, stoking the fire to keep us divided” in situations where “working together” would better serve the public interest. Hensley also said he felt “compelled” to run, believing the nation is “under attack, not just from outside but from within.”
-Bradley Mercer, 30, an attorney who served as a legislative intern and worked two years with a Nashville lobbying firm before going to law school. That background gives him the needed experience for legislating, he said, and he entered the race because of a concern that Hawk, if the Republican nominee, could lose in the general election.

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Duncan, Other GOP Congressmen, Don’t Like Census Questionnaire

For U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., the detailed questionnaire the U.S. Census Bureau sends out to thousands of households every month is a little too Orwellian, reports Michael Collins.
It’s too intrusive, he said, and poses too many questions that are none of the government’s business.
“It seems to me that is Big Brother type of government,” the Knoxville Republican said.
Duncan and a number of federal lawmakers, mostly Republicans, are pushing to eliminate the American Community Survey, which the Census Bureau sends out every month to 250,000 households across the country.
The questionnaire asks Americans everything from their ethnicity to how much they earn to whether they rent or own their own homes. This week, the U.S. House voted 232-190, mostly along party lines, to prohibit the Census Bureau from using federal funds to conduct the survey. All four of the House members from East Tennessee voted in favor of the legislation.
The measure is unlikely to survive in the Democrat-controlled Senate. But should it become law, it would end the collection of statistical data that is used to determine how federal dollars are spent on a wide array of government programs and services, including roads, schools, hospitals, job-training programs and community centers.

Milestone: Duncan Surpassing His Father’s Time in Congress

On Thursday, Duncan will have held Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District On On Thursday,U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. will have held Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District seat for 23 years, 5 months and 19 days — the same amount of time in the same seat previously held by his father, the late John J. Duncan Sr. The next day, the congressman will exceed his father’s service record.
From Michael Collins:
“I’m very grateful to the people for allowing me to serve this long — I’ve never taken it for granted,” Duncan said from his Washington office, where a portrait of his father hangs on the wall beside framed, black-and-white snapshots of father and son
(N)ot everyone thinks keeping a congressional seat in the hands of one family for nearly five decades is a good thing.
“The nepotism of that is pretty rough,” said Ray Wotring, a spokesman for U.S. Term Limits, which argues that U.S. House members should serve no more than three terms, or six years, in office.
“If your father spends his life as a congressman — and I’d say 23 years and change is spending a good chunk of your life as a congressman — and then you follow in his footsteps, what kind of grasp of reality can you possibly have?” Wotring said. “It’s tough to vote for the interests of the average American when you are coming from that lifestyle.”
Duncan said he knows there are others who feel that way, “but I’m trying my best not to wear out my welcome,” he said.
“I’m just as enthusiastic about my job now as I always have been, and I’m still working just as hard as I can and going to as many things as I did when I was a freshman or a sophomore in Congress,” he said. “I’m working real hard to show the people I’m not taking this for granted.”
…Besides, he said, longevity has its benefits. Duncan’s nearly 2½ -decade congressional career means he ranks 42 of 435 House members in seniority. Among Republicans, he ranks 13th.
Seniority “has been a big help to me in getting things done around here by knowing so many of the key people and knowing how the system works,” Duncan said. “I don’t think I would have been as effective if I hadn’t had the experience and the time in office that I’ve had.”/

Duncan Defends Paying Family With Campaign Funds

U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. is defending his decision to pay $7,600 in salary to his sister, son and niece for working on his campaign in light of a new report that questions the practice, reports Michael Collins.
The report, by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, accuses Congress members of using their positions to financially benefit themselves and their families. (Note: The full report is HERE. In the Tennessee section, there are also items on Marsha Blackburn, Jim Cooper, Chuck Fleischmann, Stephen Fincher and Scott DesJarlais.)
“This report shows lawmakers still haven’t learned it is wrong to trade on their positions as elected leaders to benefit themselves and their families,” said Melanie Sloan, the organization’s executive director.
Campaign funds can be used to make salary payments to members of a candidate’s family as long as the family member is providing a bona fide service to the campaign and is paid fair market value. But the question of whether a payment constitutes fair market value can be difficult to determine and is rarely challenged, the report said.

According to the report, Duncan’s campaign paid $4,500 in salary to his sister, Becky Duncan Massey; $2,100 to his son, Zane; and $1,000 to his niece, Courtney Massey Kohlhepp. All of the payments were made during the 2010 election cycle, which covers two years.

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GOP Congressmen Not Sure About Obama Merger Plans (but sure he should have done more)

Members of Tennessee’s Republican congressional delegation are reserving judgment on giving President Barack Obama authority to merge several business-focused federal agencies, while being quick to criticize the Democratic leader for not doing more.
From Michael Collins report:
“It’s not nearly enough,” says U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. “I applaud any effort to save money in the federal government, but this really isn’t even a drop in the bucket.”
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann echoed Duncan’s statement. “I’m always in favor of reducing the size of the federal government and making it work more efficiently. However, for President Obama to act as if this is a major step in that direction is laughable.”
In his 2011 State of the Union address, Obama pledged to develop a plan to merge, consolidate and reorganize the federal government “in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America.” In January, he laid out part of that plan.
Speaking to business leaders in the White House’s East Room, Obama said he would ask Congress for the authority to merge six agencies that focus primarily on commerce and trade. Other presidents have had the restructuring authority that Obama is seeking. Congress granted that authority to the White House during the Great Depression, but let it expire in 1984 when President Ronald Reagan was in office.