Former State Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield has announced as a candidate for the District 25 state Senate seat now held by fellow Republican Jim Summerville of Dickson.
The district includes Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Humphreys and Robertson counties.
From The Tennessean: Roberts served as state senator for District 18 from March 2011 until November 2012 after being elected to finish the term vacated by Diane Black, who was elected to Congress in November 2010. Roberts left office on Nov. 6, having been drawn out of the district he represented by the legislature.
Robertson County was separated from Sumner County in District 18 and moved into District 25, which is represented by (Summerville, who was not up for re-election in 2012, but will be in 2014.)
…Roberts’ announcement comes days after State Rep. Joshua Evans, R-District 66, confirmed to the Robertson County Times that he is also considering making a bid for the seat.
The incumbent, Summerville, has already announced his intentions of running for reelection. And Wayne White, a Republican from the city of Slayden in Dickson County, has also announced his candidacy.
President Obama has nominated Mike McWherter, the 2010 Democratic nominee for Tennessee governor, to fill one of five current vacancies on the TVA Board of Directors.
Obama also nominated V. Lynn Evans, a Memphis accountant, and Joe H. Ritch, a Huntsville, Ala., attorney, as new members of the board while proposing to give Marilyn A. Brown, a current board member whose term has expired, a new term on the nine-member panel.
The president in February had nominated Peter Mahurin of Bowling Green, Ky., to a TVA board seat, but Mahurin’s nomination has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The four nominations announced Friday in a White House news release are also subject to Senate confirmation.
The nominations come with the Senate planning to recess until after the November election and with Tennessee’s U.S. Sen. Bob Corker declaring the “entire TVA governance structure” should be re-examined with an eye toward reform.
They also come with the TVA board facing the task of selecting a new CEO to replace Tom Kilgore, whose announced retirement takes effect at the end of the year..
With two terms under his belt, ample funding and a voting record that’s solidly Republican and pro-life, Rep. Joshua Evans would seem like a lock to secure the GOP nomination for the 66th House District in August.
But, Chas Sisk observes, he faces a potentially stiff challenge from Lee Harrell, a veteran of the state Capitol who now works as a lobbyist. Evans holds the advantages of a sitting incumbent. His campaign went into the primary with more than $36,000 in the bank, and he has secured the endorsement of Tennessee Right to Life, the state’s most prominent anti-abortion group.
The two do not appear to differ much on policy.
Harrell is hitting Evans hard over his travel overseas. Harrell also pledges to waive the $173 per day that state lawmakers receive for expenses and compensation — taking on a frequent complaint voiced on conservative talk radio and in tea party circles.
…Evans is not chairman of any committees. He has been a steady rank-and-file vote on Republican legislation, standing out only as the sponsor of several measures favored by pro-life groups.
…Harrell can claim experience in the state Capitol, too, despite never having been elected to office.
Starting as an intern in the Tennessee legislature in 2001, Harrell worked as an aide to state Sens. Douglas Henry, Randy McNally and Jamie Woodson before leaving in 2009. Harrell specialized in education policy, and after leaving the Capitol, joined the influential Tennessee School Boards Association as its director of government and labor relations.
….Harrell was stopped in 2010 on suspicion of drunken driving, a charge that was first reported in May by the Capitol website TNReport after it was brought up by a pair of Evans’ Republican colleagues in the legislature. Harrell pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of reckless driving and violating the state’s implied consent law.
“It was a mistake,” Harrell said. “I fully expect my opponent to bring that up.”
Evans says he did not raise the DUI charge, but he criticizes Harrell for working as a lobbyist after leaving state government.
“People don’t realize that,” Evans said, “and it seems to be an issue when they are told that.”
Meanwhile, Harrell is hitting Evans over his attendance record at the legislature. Evans missed 116 votes in 2011 and 2012, with more than one-third of them unexcused.
A Capitol Hill lobbyist looking to unseat a rank-and-file House Republican has a DUI in his history — a fact some lawmakers want to highlight although one of their party peers faces trial on the same charges.
Excerpt from Andrea Zelinski’s TNReport: The two legislators are careful to say the run-in with the law shouldn’t disqualify Lee Harrell from being seriously considered in the race against Rep. Joshua Evans for the Robertson County House seat, but firmly add that it’s a fact voters should know.
“I think it’s probably important for voters to have that information and be able to use that in their consideration,” said Evans, a Republican from Greenbrier and small business owner.
Evans is beating back a challenge from Harrell, a lobbyist for the Tennessee School Boards Association, in the 66th District encompassing Robertson County. The August primary election race is one of 21 this year where House Republican incumbents are trying to fend off challengers.
Harrell was arrested Sept. 4, 2010, on drunken driving charges and refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test.
“It was certainly a mistake, but I learned from it. I’ve moved on. I’m a better person because of it,” Harrell told TNReport.
According to the arrest warrant, Harrell was driving 80 miles an hour in a 55 mile-per-hour zone on I-40 in Nashville on a Saturday night and was seen “meandering back and forth in his lane of travel, partly crossing into other lanes.” The report said he had watery, bloodshot eyes, smelled of alcohol and “lacked smooth pursuit” while performing field sobriety tests before refusing a blood-alcohol test.
His DUI charge was reduced to reckless driving. He pleaded guilty to the charge in January 2011, along with violating the implied consent law.
TNReport obtained documents about Harrell’s arrest from Rep. Vance Dennis, a Republican lawyer from Savannah who describes himself as a “good friend” of Evans, and provided the information for “personal” reasons.
News release from Lee Harrell campaign:
WHITE HOUSE–Lee Harrell has qualified to challenge Joshua Evans for the Republican nomination in House District 66. Harrell currently works for the Tennessee School Boards Association as the Director of Government and Labor Relations and resides in White House.
“I am running for this seat because the voters of Robertson County deserve a state representative who is accessible, hardworking, and dependable. As state representative, I will continue my passion for improving education in Tennessee. A strong system of public education will attract industry, generate jobs, and promote economic development,” said Harrell.
“Also, as a Republican, I firmly believe in a smaller, less intrusive government. Washington, D.C. is out of control with its wasteful spending and reckless, unconstitutional mandates, and we need strong leaders in our state legislature to stand up to these bureaucrats,” he added.
Harrell has dedicated much of his career to the issue of public education. Before working for the Tennessee School Boards Association, he served as a research analyst for the State Senate Education Committee. He worked with the committee through the implementation of BEP 2.0, charter school reforms, expansion of lottery scholarships, and several other educational initiatives. With TSBA, he has worked with the General Assembly and other stakeholders in securing Tennessee’s Race to the Top Grant as well as endorsing legislation to end collective bargaining.
Former Tennessean publisher Amon Carter Evans died Wednesday at his home in Henry County. He was 77.
From the Tennessean obituary story: The Evans family bought The Tennessean in 1937. Amon Evans’ father, Silliman Evans Sr., served as publisher.
Amon Evans became chief executive officer of The Tennessean in 1961 and publisher in 1962. He named John Seigenthaler as editor in 1962.
Mr. Evans and Seigenthaler led the newspaper through the tumultuous 1960s, supporting such issues as civil rights and environmental protection.
“Those were tough days,” Seigenthaler said. “We had liberal editorial policies on race and the environment.
“There is a lot of heat when you take a controversial stand, and often the publisher takes that more than the editor.”
Mr. Evans named Seigenthaler publisher in 1973. In 1979, Mr. Evans sold the paper to Gannett Co., for a reported $50 million. Note: Sen. Lamar Alexander issued this statement on Evans’ death: “Amon Evans was a Tennessee original. He loved his state, his newspaper and the Great Outdoors. He was a steadfast friend. Honey and I will miss him.”