Tag Archives: Gary

TN Labor Council Looks Up Legislator Voting Records

The Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council will focus on voting records, and not on political labels, as it evaluates candidates in coming state races, reports The Tennessean, quoting President Gary Moore.
“We’re going to look at and endorse candidates who support labor regardless of party affiliation,” he said. That’s a shift for the council, which represents about 300 unions and affiliates with 60,000-plus members in Tennessee and has a history of heavily favoring Democrats.
In the 2012 state legislative campaign, it endorsed 53 Democrats, one independent and one Republican. The council previously based its political endorsements largely on the candidates’ party affiliations and pledges to support workers but never really followed up to verify whether their votes matched their words, Moore said.
When the council did so for the 2013 legislative session, there were some surprising results.
“We found out that not all Democrats are friends with working people,” Moore said, singling out Rep. Charles Curtiss of Sparta as an example.
Curtiss voted against the council’s position on six key bills, including Gov. Bill Haslam’s workers compensation reform measure. Moore said that could cost Curtiss the council’s endorsement in the 2014 campaign.

Doctors Vs. Nurses Fight Looms in Legislature

By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The growing demand for medical care that is expected to accompany the full implementation of the federal health care law in January is adding urgency to a Tennessee debate over whether nurses should be allowed to provide more independent care to patients.
Nurses currently see patients in a variety of settings ranging from private practices to retail clinics, but they want to remove a layer of supervision from physicians. Doctors’ groups oppose giving nurses more independence. A legislative fight is on the horizon.
“We’re in the ring,” said Gary Zelizer, who lobbies on behalf of doctors for the Tennessee Medical Association. “We’re warming up, but it’s coming.”
Sharon Adkins, the executive director of the Tennessee Nurses Association, said in an email that her group is “in full support of removing practice barriers and support full practice authority for all health care professionals.”
Adkins said advance practice registered nurses, or APRNs, “give as good or in some cases better care than physicians.”

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Fleischmann Tries to Block Public Release of Campaign Strategy Materials

For the second time, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is asking a Nashville judge to seal court records that would reveal his campaign’s inner workings, according to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.
The Ooltewah Republican’s goal is to prevent political opponents from seeing or distributing 1,800 pages of polling research, internal emails and strategy memos. Someone suing Fleischmann requested the documents as part of the civil discovery process.
In a filing, Fleischmann’s attorney said the congressman would supply the papers as long as they’re hidden from public view.
“The Court should order that any of these documents filed with the Court should be placed under seal, only to be opened in accordance with a subsequent court order,” the motion for a protective order states.
Fleischmann, an attorney, is joined in the motion by his co-defendant, Chip Saltsman, the congressman’s longtime political adviser and onetime Washington-based chief of staff.
Both men are fighting a defamation lawsuit stemming from claims in a three-year-old Fleischmann TV ad. Documents filed in Davidson County Circuit Court this week show the case is set for trial Feb. 24.
Political operative Mark Winslow filed the lawsuit. During the 2010 Republican primary, he worked for Fleischmann’s toughest opponent, former Tennessee GOP Chairwoman Robin Smith.
In an interview Friday, Winslow attorney Gary Blackburn said Fleischmann’s polling data motivated Saltsman to create “negative ads” that twisted the truth and ruined Winslow’s professional reputation.
“If a congressman’s tracking the success of lies,” Blackburn said, “shouldn’t the public be allowed to know that?”
Through a spokesman, Fleischmann declined to comment. He has described the lawsuit as “frivolous” and politically motivated. Saltsman, a well-known Republican strategist who managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign, did not respond to a request for comment
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Candidate’s Residence Stirs Flap in Knox County

Supporters of Democrat Gloria Johnson,running for the 13th District state House seat against Republican Gary Loe on Nov. 6, say Loe doesn’t live in the district, although he says he has rented a house and sleeps there.
From Georgiana Vines’s report:
Loe said he’s heard Johnson doesn’t live in the district, either. She gives as her address 2506 Brice St., which Knox County tax records show she owns.
Loe, a TV production company owner, lists his address as 2713 Boright Place, owned by a friend. The same friend owns a house at 7215 Kennon Springs Lane, which was Loe’s address when he ran for the Legislature two years ago to represent the 18th District. Rep. Steve Hall won that election.
This columnist looked into Loe’s residency after Diane Humphreys-Barlow sent an email to News Sentinel editors, asking that it be checked out.
Humphreys-Barlow said in an interview that at a house party she had for Johnson, her supporters talked about Loe renting a house, but that no one had seen him at the address. She said she understood he lives in West Hills.
“Is it rumor or validity?” she asked.
A political sign for Loe is in the yard of the near northeast city residence on Boright Place. The first time this columnist went by his address, no car was there. The Kennon Springs Lane address in West Hills also was checked out. That was two weeks ago.
At the time, a grey Volvo apparently belonging to Loe was parked at the Kennon Springs Lane address. Last week, the Volvo was parked at the Boright Place address.
Loe met with this columnist and discussed the residency issue. He said questions shouldn’t be asked about his residence when there is a question about Johnson’s.
“After her supporters put a yard sign (at the Boright Place house), I thought I would take it to her. It appears nobody was at the (Brice Street) home, so I drove by (without stopping),” Loe said.
As for the Boright Place residence, “I moved in in February. In March and August, I voted at Larry Cox (Senior Recreation Center). I sleep there. I do work out of the house,” Loe said.

News Notes on Some Legislative Campaigns

House District 13 Combat
In House District 13, one of the closest contests in the state, the state parties are weighing in with attacks on both Democrat Gloria Johnson ( Republicans, most recently, suggest she supports voter fraud ) and Republican Gary Loe (Democrats say he favors abortion in cases of rape and incest, for example> Story HERE.
The Scene in Northeast Tennessee
The Johnson City Press, as part of a roundup of contests in Northeast Tennessee, includes a review of contested legislative races – though, naturally, Republicans are heavy favorites. Story HERE.
Profiles Stories in Senate District 10
The Chattanooga Times-Free Press has campaign profile stories on Republican Todd Gardenhire and Democrat Andrae McGray.

Free Press Endorses Gary Johnson for President

In the third break with tradition for major Tennessee newspapers this election season, the Free Press side of the Chattanooga Times-Free Press is not endorsing the Republican nominee for president. Instead, the newspaper is editorially endorsing Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee who is on Tennessee’s ballot as an independent.
The News-Free Press maintained separate editorial boards after the Chattanooga Times and the Chattanooga News-Free Press combined a few years ago. The Free Press is traditionally conservative, the Times more liberal.
Earlier, the Tennessean, which traditionally has always endorsed Democrats for president, endorsed Romney in 2012. And the News Sentinel, which has varied its partisan preference for president over the years, decided not to endorse anyone this year.
Excerpt from the Free Press editorial:
This election, however, the Republican Party nominee has failed to demonstrate a consistent commitment to conservative principles. As a result of his failure to provide clear methods for reducing the size and scope of the federal government, unwillingness to address structural flaws with entitlement programs, reliance on government to intervene in issues best left to families and individuals, and sporadic support of the Constitution and America’s founding principles, Mitt Romney is too flawed to earn the Free Press’ endorsement.
Romney may be less eager to tax, spend, attack personal freedoms and disregard the constitutional limits on government than his Democratic opponent, President Barack Obama, but only slightly.
To the extent that Romney offers an alternative to Obama, the difference is in degree, not in kind.
As a result, the Free Press editorial page endorses Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson for President of the United States.
Johnson, a former two-term governor of New Mexico, has more administrative experience than Romney, who served just a single term as Massachusetts governor.
While serving as governor, Johnson slashed New Mexico’s gas tax, fought to reduce the state’s income tax and championed school choice. Romney, on the other hand, implemented a myriad of new fees on Massachusetts taxpayers and famously enacted a compulsory health insurance scheme which became the framework for Obamacare.
Unlike Obama, Johnson understands that government spending, unsustainable bailouts and stimulus schemes only lead to more unemployment, a higher national debt, a weakened dollar and a less stable economy.
Johnson’s platform includes presenting a balanced budget to Congress every year he’s in office, completely overhauling America’s ridiculous federal tax structure, and fundamentally restructuring entitlement programs to allow Americans more choice in health care and a greater opportunity to retire with dignity.

Rep. Hurley Pulls Up Libertarian Signs (at landowner request)

State Rep. Julia Hurley was seen pulling up and tossing down a campaign sign at a major Loudon County intersection, reports the News Sentinel. Apparently someone complained, but the lawmaker says the signs were on private property and she was following the landowner’s request.
Hurley, who lost her re-election bid for the 32nd Legislative District seat in the GOP primary, said Jennifer Wampler owns the property at the intersection of Highway 321 and Highway 11 in Lenoir City.
“They didn’t ask permission to place their signs there,” Hurley said.
Hurley said she “gently” placed the sign of Dr. Shaun Crowell on the ground. Crowell is an independent candidate seeking to unseat incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Corker, a Republican.
Also on the ground: A sign touting independent presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
(Note: Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party nominee for president; Crowell has been endorsed by the Libertarian Party. Both are listed on Tennessee’s ballot as independent candidates.)
“His (Crowell’s) sign was literally right next to the sidewalk,” said businessman Brad Boring, who said he watched Hurley pull it up Sunday morning.
“That close to the road is private property?” he asked. “I don’t believe so.” Boring questioned whether the sign was within state right-of-way.
Guidelines for campaign sign locations vary by jurisdiction.
In Lenoir City, signs on land beyond sidewalks are deemed as being on private property, and the landowners have the final say-so on allowing them, city Codes Enforcement Officer Leslie Johnson said.
Political signs between sidewalks and road curbs are on either state or city rights of way, she said.

House District 13: Johnson vs. Loe a Close Contest

State Rep. Harry Tindell says state House District 13, which he has represented for 22 years, may be seen as a microcosm of the national presidential race when it comes to voters choosing his successor on Nov. 6.
Voters’ partisan options in the district are Democrat Gloria Johnson, a politically active school teacher, and Republican Gary Loe, a former television reporter who now runs a video production operation. Nick Cazana, a retired businessman, is on the ballot as an independent candidate.
“I don’t think anybody can tell you who is going to win,” said Tindell, a Democrat who has met with all three candidates while not declaring his support for any of them.
He basically agrees with The Tennessee Journal, a statewide political news publication, which rates the contest as a tossup between Loe and Johnson. The difficulty in political prophesy, Tindell said, rests in the fairly even balance between Republicans, Democrats and independent-minded voters — rather like the national presidential election picture and a striking contrast to most districts statewide.
While the nation has red states, blue states and swing states, Tindell said, District 13 has red precincts and blue precincts and swing precincts. The red precincts are in the south of the oddly shaped district designed by Republican-drafted redistricting earlier this year.

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Assistant Commissioner Resigns in Dead Parolee Probe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An assistant commissioner in the Department of Correction has resigned after an investigation found parole officers reported making checks on dozens of parolees who had been dead for months or years.
Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield said in a letter to lawmakers on Thursday that Gary Tullock, who was in charge of community supervision for the department, turned in his resignation after a state audit released this week found 82 parolees being checked were actually dead. That number has risen to 107 now, Schofield said.
Schofield said lawmakers were incorrectly told two parole officers who falsified records were fired. A review showed they had resigned from state service.
According to The Tennessean, Tullock had worked his way up from a parole officer and been in charge of the program since 2004.

Note: For some background, see TNReport’s account of a legislative hearing and video on Schofield. An excerpt:
Assistant Correction Commissioner Gary Tullock said the agency fired two parole officers responsible for much of the faulty reporting on dead offenders, but Schofield said other employees likely contributed to the high number of erroneous reports.
According to the Department of Correction, the state monitors 13,000 offenders on parole and 56,000 people on probation. The state also supervises 7,500 people in community correction, a program that keeps less violent offenders out of prisons.
Overall, that’s 3,175 more offenders under state observation this year than last year, though the number of parole officers has not increased, Tullock said.
However, Schofield said it’s too early to say whether he’ll ask the governor to add to his department’s yearly budget.
“The first thing we say is we’re short-staffed. If you look at and examine how we supervise and how we do things, there’s always opportunities to find resources. If we need those resources, we will present that to the governor,” he told reporters.

New Citizens Take Oath at MTSU

By Kristin M. Hall, Associated Press
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Hundreds of people became naturalized U.S. citizens during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Middle Tennessee State University on the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
About 300 men and women who have immigrated to Tennessee from all over the world gathered to take the naturalization oath on Constitution Day, 225 years after the ratification of the rules that dictate the powers of the federal government.
Normally these ceremonies are held in the federal courthouse in downtown Nashville, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe B. Brown held the court session in the large university gymnasium in front of family and friends of the newest U.S. citizens.
Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade spoke about the history of the Constitution and its amendments.

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