Tag Archives: Jackson

Cruz schedules TN campaign stop Aug. 10

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has scheduled a presidential campaign to the Madison County Republican Party on Aug. 10, reports The Jackson Sun.

Madison County Republican Party Chairman Mike Peery said the event will include a question-and-answer period as well as a dinner speech.

Cruz will visit Jackson on the last leg of a bus tour through Tennessee, and will stop in Jackson for a rally and dinner at the Fairgrounds Park in the Family Center Building at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $25 apiece and can be purchased on the party’s website www.mcrptn.com or at Deaton’s Carpet One the week of Aug. 3-7. Patriot Tables, eight-seated tables close to the stage, will be on sale for $500. Sandwiches will be served at the rally and are included in the ticket price.

“We made it cheap for the masses, and if someone wants to sit close, they can pay to do that,” Peery said.

…Cruz, a senator from Texas, was the first Republican to announce his candidacy for president when he gave a speech on March 23 at Liberty University in Virginia. Cruz is now one of at least 16 Republican candidates who have officially announced intentions to run for the White House in 2016.

Jackson has not had a visit by a presidential candidate of a major party since Republican Herman Cain visited in 2011. Al Gore campaigned in Jackson when he ran against George W. Bush in 2000.

…Cruz will be visiting the region several times in the coming weeks. Including stops in Jackson, he will be in Columbus, Georgia, Aug. 8; Van Buren, Arkansas, Aug. 12; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Aug. 25.

Jackson Mayor Gist defeats Finney, others to win reelection

Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist defeated a crowd of challengers led by former state Sen. Lowe Finney to win a new term in Tuesday’s city elections, reports the Jackson Sun.

Gist finished with 5,983 votes, or 51.46 percent. Finney finished second with 4,757 votes, or 40.92 percent. The results are unofficial until ratified by the Madison County Election Commission.

Finney called for change, but Gist asked voters to recognize his experience.

“I’ve always felt that good, steady, non-confrontational leadership is essential as you attempt to govern,” Gist said. “Change in some cases is good, but in some cases you just don’t know what change will bring.”

About 27 percent of registered voters turned out for the election, with a total of 11,733 votes cast. The election cycle was tense at times, with heated forums and negative advertisements.

In the end, Gist was at a podium thanking God and his supporters for carrying him to victory. His family stood at his side in an overflowing DoubleTree Hotel conference room.

Gist urged his supporters to gather those who didn’t vote for him and help get them all to move Jackson forward.

“This is not a divided city,” he said. “We’re more unified now than I’ve seen this city over the years, and that’s due to the hard work of a lot of people.”

Finney told supporters at his campaign headquarters he wouldn’t change anything about how he ran his campaign. The night just didn’t end the way he wanted.

…”We knew we could not take a single vote for granted,” Finney said. “In a non-partisan race there were Republicans supporting me, and there were Democrats supporting Mr. Gist, and I commend Mr. Gist on the race he ran.”

Note: In a statement emailed to media, state GOP Chairman Ryan Haynes took a different view of the election. It’s below.
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Former Sen. Finney has outspent opponents more than $2-to-$1 in Jackson mayor’s race

The City of Jackson’s election day is next week and financial disclosures filed Tuesday show former state Sen. Lowe Finney raised twice as much money as the next closest candidate and spent even more, reports the Jackson Sun.

Finney raised $21,049.50 this period and spent $137,235.58. He had $147,381.17 during the previous report and currently has $31,195.09 on hand, according to his filing report.

Jerry Gist, the incumbent, raised $10,939.95 during the period and spent $47,943.99. Gist had $123,961.46 on hand during the previous report and currently has $86,957.42 on hand, according to his filing report.

James Baxter raised $395.25 this period and spent the same amount, $395.25. He had $44.80 on hand during the previous report and currently has $39.55 on hand, according to his filing report.

Tim York reported no fundraising or spending during the reporting period, according to his filings.

Charlie Motton did not file a finance report, but has not reported any fundraising or spending in any of his previous reports.

Haslam complains report on West TN ECD grants “way off base”

Gov. Bill Haslam says the state is spending more money per capita on economic development in the Southwest Tennessee Development District than in any other part of the state, contrary to a report in the Jackson Sun.

From the newspaper’s story today:

Haslam’s comments were in response to a story published by the Sun on Dec. 7 that said the district, which includes Madison and seven other counties, was last among nine development districts in the state in investment through the FastTrack program, one of the state’s largest economic development programs.

The Sun’s examination looked at FastTrack projects that had gone to contract in 2013 and the first three quarters of 2014. The Southwest Tennessee Development District was last in the number of jobs created through FastTrack investment, last in the investment per job created, last in investment per capita and last in percentage and amount of total FastTrack funds invested.

…”I think if you look at the places where we actively market, we actively market here as hard, if not harder, than anywhere else,” Haslam said.

“If you look at where the state has actually invested money on a per-capita basis, we’ve invested more in this economic district than any other economic district,” he continued. “Period.”

Haslam said the district leads in per-capita spending because of money spent or appropriated for the Memphis Regional Megasite in Haywood County.

Clint Brewer, assistant commissioner for communications and marketing at the state Department of Economic and Community Development, has said the Haslam administration has spent more than $66 million on the megasite.

Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith has disputed that figure, saying that large portions of that money have not actually been spent, including $19 million for re-routing State Highway 222 and $22.2 million for a waste water force main.

Regardless, Haslam said the megasite is in a position that it could be made ready for a company to move in before any company would be prepared to do so.

Haslam said he didn’t think The Jackson Sun’s focus on FastTrack was fair.

“To be honest, I thought your story was way off base,” he said. “I don’t get upset about a lot of things, but that one I did because it’s like saying the U.S. Olympic Committee is awarding more Olympic gold medals to this country than they are to that country.
“But the gold medals are a result of a process that happened, and somebody won that race,” he continued. “In economic development, you win a race for a lot of different reasons.”

He said people in every part of the state, except Nashville, feel like they get the short end of the state’s economic development stick.

Madison sheriff says overcrowding a factor in weekend jail break

Two inmates at the Madison County Jail Annex, located beside the county courthouse in Jackson, overpowered two female correction officers and briefly escaped Friday night, reports the Jackson Sun. Sheriff John Mehr says overcrowding at the main jail was a factor.

The inmates, both juveniles… escaped from their cell around 11 p.m. Friday. One made it to the roof using a side door and the other was found hiding in a closet, Mehr said around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Other inmates who were sharing the cells didn’t try to escape, Mehr said.

…Mehr said the guards were trying to retrieve an item from a cell when the inmates overpowered the guards using fire extinguishers, allowing them to escape.
…Both inmates are in custody and charges could be filed on Monday.

The juvenile inmates cannot be in an area where they can see or hear adult inmates, even though the juveniles are being tried as adults, Mehr said.

Holding the juveniles at the annex was the best option, Mehr said, because of overcrowding at the Criminal Justice Complex, and because the juveniles are facing “serious charges.”

Saturday morning, Mehr attributed one factor of the escape to an overcrowded jail, but said he would watch surveillance video to see what can be done to prevent a similar incident from happening again.

Commissioners voted on July 1 to begin working with the Tennessee Corrections Institute and their County Corrections Partnership to help remedy overcrowding in the Madison County Criminal Justice Complex after the jail failed a state inspection in May.

…Eventually, the committee will decide on options ranging from spending millions of dollars on a new facility to something as simple as having more offenders wear GPS ankle bracelets to monitor their locations instead of putting them in jail.

Embattled Madison County sheriff retiring

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) — Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork, who was facing a July 14 ouster proceeding and who a judge suspended on Wednesday, has announced he is retiring.

The Jackson Sun (http://bit.ly/MtCx7x ) reported Woolfork said in a statement announcing his retirement Wednesday afternoon that his administration has had a positive influence on the sheriff’s office since he was first elected in 1994, increasing court security, assigning school resource officers and increasing several units of the office.

Woolfork is charged in an indictment with attempted aggravated sexual battery and domestic assault involving a woman who works in his department. He has maintained he has done nothing illegal.

After Judge Don Ash of Nashville ruled to temporarily suspend Woolfork pending the ouster proceeding, Woolfork’s attorney, Mark Donahoe, said he disagreed with the decision.

Trivia Question: Name 5 Tennesseans who became president

News release from Secretary of State’s office:
Here’s a quick trivia question: Can you name five Tennesseans who became president?
If you’re a good student of the state’s history, you probably won’t have any trouble naming former U.S. presidents Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson or James K. Polk. But a fourth or fifth?
It’s a trick question, because there were also Tennesseans who later became presidents of foreign countries, such as Sam Houston, who led the briefly-independent Republic of Texas, and William Walker, who was inaugurated as president of Nicaragua on this date in 1856.
Walker’s life is highlighted in one of the Tennessee State Library and Archives’ online exhibits. The exhibit can be found at http://tn.gov/tsla/exhibits/walker/index.htm.
Walker isn’t as famous as some Tennesseans chronicled at the State Library and Archives, but in his day, he was quite infamous for his efforts to colonize Central America.
Three years before he became president of Nicaragua, the Nashvillian led a group of 45 men who landed in Baja California, Mexico. Walker declared the land to be the Republic of Lower California and proclaimed himself to be the new country’s president. Mexican forces soon threw him and his troops out of the country and he was tried (but acquitted) for violating U.S. neutrality laws when he returned.
Walker then led a group of 57 soldiers into Nicaragua. After fighting a number of battles and eventually becoming president, he launched a plan to “Americanize” the country by declaring English the official language and encouraging U.S. residents to immigrate there. He was later ousted by the combined forces of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. After unsuccessfully attempting to regain the presidency of Nicaragua, he was eventually captured and turned over to the Honduran government, which executed him for piracy.
“The story of William Walker is one of thousands that can be found at the Tennessee State Library and Archives,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Because his life is chronicled in one of our online exhibits, it is accessible to Tennesseans free of charge, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. I encourage people to visit our web site and learn more about the resources that are just a few mouse clicks away.”

Former Lawmaker Recalls Bribe Offer on Landfill Legislation

Excerpt from Stephen Hale’s thorough report on a lawsuit, legislation and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation as they relate to a landfill near Camden.
If the Jackson Law didn’t deliver the protection Camden residents hoped, maybe other legislation will. State Rep. Tim Wirgau, whose district includes Camden, is actively trying to slow the landfill permitting process. He’s filed a bill (HB952) that would amend the Jackson Law by adding a requirement for public notice and a public hearing prior to an increase in a landfill’s classification, or an expansion of the type of waste the landfill is authorized to accept.
Last year, Wirgau sponsored a bill that would have effectively shut down the EWS site. The bill made only one proper appearance in a subcommittee — which was not attended by EWS representatives — and was eventually deferred without ever getting a vote.
His new bill is yet to appear for the first time at the legislature. Wirgau says he’s optimistic, but that his guard is up after support he thought he had in his camp last year vanished. And he’s already heard from the opposition.
“We have heard from some of the larger landfill people with concerns, like, ‘Oh, we’ve already got enough problems so I don’t think we’re going to be on your side on this one,’ ” Wirgau tells the Scene. “My take is on it, look — if you’re a landfill operator and you are doing a good job, and you are working within your communities and all the boundaries, I don’t think any of the locals are going to have a problem with the operation that you’re running right now. But if you’re a bad actor, and not doing things properly, then you’re going to have a tough time getting an expansion or a new permit, especially from the locals.”
One former legislator would no doubt sympathize with Wirgau’s uphill battle. In 1989, Doug Jackson learned about the dirty politics of trash. Then a Tennessee state representative, he proposed the legislation nicknamed for him in response to a large landfill that had been proposed in his Dickson County district.
Suddenly, Jackson remembers, he was a popular man on Capitol Hill — or at least his office was crowded.
“It had lobbyists lined up 20 deep, and all the landfill companies obviously mobilized in opposition,” says Jackson, who left office after his defeat in 2010 and now serves as executive director of The Renaissance Center in Dickson. “And then the Tennessee Municipal League opposed it. The County Governments Association opposed it. It just seemed to have no friends.”
It was the toughest piece of legislation he ever sponsored, he says. He adds that it was notable for another reason: the first and only time in office he was ever offered a bribe.
The day after the bill passed out of the House environment committee, Jackson recalls, a man from South Carolina showed up at his law office without an appointment. He said he was involved with several landfills, Jackson says, including what was then the largest hazardous waste landfill in the country along with the landfill proposed for Jackson’s district. And he had a proposition.
“He said, ‘I’ve made all the money that I could ever hope to spend in my life, this landfill up here is going to be another good one, and I know you’re under pressure. And we’re used to addressing that, the pressures of local officials,’ ” Jackson remembers. “He said, ‘I think we can make this worth your while.’ ”
At that point, Jackson stepped outside and asked his secretary to come into the office and have a seat.
“Now do you want to go ahead and continue this conversation, or do you want to change the subject?” Jackson recalls telling the man.
The man just laughed, Jackson says, and got up to leave saying that he could see they weren’t going to get anywhere. Several years later, after the bill had passed into law, the two crossed paths again. Jackson says the man flagged him down, reminded Jackson who he was, and told him he’d done a “very stupid thing.”
“You would’ve made enough money out of that, you would’ve never had to work another day in your life,” Jackson recalls him saying.

Federal Gun Law Nullification Debated, Delayed

Senate Judiciary Chairman Brian Kelsey, comparing himself at one point to Andrew Jackson in 1832, managed to delay Tuesday a vote on legislation that declares Tennessee has a right to nullify federal gun laws and charge federal agents enforcing them with committing a felony.
The committee voted 5-4 to grant Kelsey’s call to postpone a vote on the proposal (SB250) for one week while he seeks a legal opinion from state Attorney General Bob Cooper on whether it would violate the U.S. Constitution.
Sponsor Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, said the U.S. Constitution authorizes states – through their legislatures – to decide the validity of federal laws.
She understands that lawyers believe the Supreme Court is the “ultimate arbitrator” of constitutionality, Beavers said, and that has allowed justics “setting themselves up as a dictator” and “generation after generation we have just accepted that.”
But that is wrong, she said, and the 10th Amendment lets states decide what laws are constitution and which can be ignored or nullified.
Beavers’ view was reenforced by June Griffin of Dayton, who heads the Tennessee Commission on the Bill of Rights. Griffin said Tennessee’s own constitution cast upon legislators – and sheriffs around the state – a duty to resist federal intrusion by supporting the bill.

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Remembering Andrew Jackson and Nullification

If one Tennessee legislator gets his way, federal agents could be arrested for enforcing any potential assault weapons ban. But the concept of a state trying to cancel out federal measures was already tried 180 years ago, observes WPLN’s Nina Cardona. And the president who squashed that effort was one of Nashville’s most famous residents.
In 1832, the hot-button issue wasn’t guns, but tariffs-taxes on imported goods which many Southerners considered constitutionally suspect. South Carolina went so far as to declare the tariffs null and void, bar anyone from collecting them within that state, and even threatened to secede.
President Andrew Jackson responded with a proclamation taking apart the maneuver point by point.
“Near the end of it he appealed to South Carolinians directly and he said, ‘you’re Americans. You’re not just South Carolinians, you’re Americans,’ told them it was wrongheaded to consider national legislation merely from the point of local or state interest.”
University of Tennessee History Professor Daniel Feller says Jackson ultimately won that battle, showing that the Constitution simply doesn’t allow states to pick and choose which laws to follow. But Jackson also reminded states of a place they can protest: the Supreme Court.