Tag Archives: lowe finney

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.

Lowe Finney launches campaign to unseat current Jackson mayor

In an email to supporters, Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney says he will seek election as mayor of Jackson to provide “leadership focused on solutions.” Finney, who announced he wouldn’t seek reelection to his Senate seat earlier this year, will be opposing the current mayor, Jerry Gist, in the election to be held next May. He initially announced his candidacy on Aug. 6 to Jackson media.

An excerpt from Finney’s email:

After talking with family, friends and many of you, my closest supporters, I decided the time is now to do my part to move Jackson forward again.

Jackson needs fresh eyes to view the challenges we face, especially with regard to public safety. With murders already in the double-digits this year and an increase in criminal gang violence, we need a renewed commitment to keeping our neighborhoods safe.

It’s time for new leadership; leadership focused on solutions.

As your Mayor, I will make public safety a priority for our community. In the days and weeks to come, I will be sharing more about our plans for a safer Jackson, such as a city government focused on coordinating gang crime intervention and prevention throughout our entire community. Here’s the bottom line: it’s time for Jackson’s leadership to be effective and accountable, with real quantifiable results.

Our greatest strengths are the very people who call Jackson home, and I look forward to speaking with people all across our city over the next several months as we share our plans for this campaign and the future of Jackson.

Gist has deemed Finney “selfish and rude” for initially making his candidacy public on Aug. 6, the day before the August primary election, according to WBBJ TV.

That’s why Mayor Gist said he chose to wait until after the election to speak about Senator Finney’s decision.

“There are certain things about the mayor’s office that you can’t learn in Nashville,” he said, referring to Senator Finney’s position as State Senator for more than eight years.

Senator Finney, who is currently a Jackson resident, said he’s heard from residents there is a need for change.

“You can argue about policy and experience, but at the end of the day people want to see results,” he said, highlighting the need to combat crime and increase public safety.

“Public safety affects everything,” Senator Finney said. “That’s why you hear everyone in every corner of the community talking about it.”

Mayor Gist agrees there is a problem with crime in Jackson.

“We are at a war with crime but we are going to win it,” he said.

Senator Finney said he hopes to get the opportunity to directly serve the community where he lives. Mayor Gist said he wants one more term to finish what he started.

Note: An early look at issues in the mayor’s race by the Jackson Sun is HERE.

Finney drafts bill to stop contractors ‘profiting from their own recommendations’

News release from state Sen. Lowe Finney:
NASHVILLE – State Sen. Lowe Finney has drafted legislation that will stop any state agency from entering a contract that allows a contractor to profit from its own recommendations.

“This bill stops companies from profiting from their own recommendations, as we’ve seen in the state’s building management contracts,” Sen. Finney said. “This bill sets a standard of ethics and protects taxpayers.”

The bill follows an audit by the state comptroller’s office that found flaws in the way the Department of General Services handled its contract with Jones Lang LaSalle for facility assessments, master planning and facility management services.

Auditors found that in two cases, the state’s contract with that company created organizational conflicts of interest where the contractor could profit from its own recommendations to the state.

The standards set forth in the legislation would put Tennessee in line with federal contract standards.

“The ideas of saving taxpayer dollars and having a standard of ethics on conflicts of interest are not mutually exclusive,” Sen. Finney said.

Note: Post on the audit, HERE.

Finney asks info on tax credits for potential ‘claw back’

News release from Senate Democratic Caucus:
NASHVILLE – Troubled by a recent audit that found state government can’t say whether companies are creating jobs in exchange for tax credits they’ve received, state Sen. Lowe Finney requested a review of state contracts to be presented during the 2014 legislative session.

“I brought ‘claw back’ legislation to protect taxpayers if promises of new jobs for tax credits are broken,” state Sen. Lowe Finney said. “According to this audit, the administration wouldn’t know when to ‘claw back’ taxpayers’ money.”

Sen. Finney sponsored SB 0605 during the last legislative session, which directs the Department of Economic and Community Development to include “claw back” provisions in all contracts to ensure the state has the authority to take back any incentives awarded to companies that don’t create jobs.

A recent audit by the comptroller’s office found that the Department of Revenue “could not provide evidence that companies audited complied with state law” for tax credits awarded to the 27 companies audited between Jan. 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012.

In a letter to Department of Revenue Commissioner Richard Roberts, Sen. Finney requested a thorough review of those contracts and the jobs created to be presented to the Senate Finance Committee during the 2014 legislative session.

Note: The letter is below.
Nov. 15, 2013
Commissioner Richard Roberts
Tennessee Department of Revenue
Andrew Jackson Building
500 Deaderick St.
Nashville TN 37242

Commissioner Roberts:

During last year’s legislative session, the General Assembly unanimously passed SB0605, a bill I sponsored that directs the Department of Economic and Community Development to include “claw back” provisions in all contracts, to protect taxpayers if
companies don’t create the jobs promised in exchange for tax incentives. I am deeply troubled by the findings of a recent comptroller’s audit, which found that the Department of Revenue “could not provide evidence that companies audited complied with state law.”

I’m sure you agree that this is more than a bookkeeping issue – it is a critical safeguard for taxpayers any time the state provides tax credits to private companies whether in the form of rebates or abatement.

I respectfully request that you prepare for the Senate Finance Committee a review of the 27 companies that have received job tax credits that were audited between Jan. 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012 to determine whether companies are indeed creating the very jobs they promised in exchange for tax incentives, as well as a review of the 39 companies who received exceptions during that period. Please provide us with the following:

The names of the companies, when they applied for tax credits and the number of jobs originally promised.

For each company, the number of jobs created and whether they still exist today.

For those companies that received exceptions, the specific exceptions granted.

The names of the companies to which we still owe tax credits and the dollar amount.

The names of any companies to which we owe tax credits that have indicated no more new jobs will be created, as well as the dollar amount.

Such a review is necessary not only to protect taxpayers, but to determine the effectiveness of our state’s job tax credit program.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I or my staff can assist you in any way. I remain,

Respectfully yours,
State Sen. Lowe Finney
CC: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally

Dyer County commissioner (a doctor) seeking West TN state Senate seat

Dr. Brandon Dodds, a Dyer County commissioner, has announced as a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Tennessee Senate’s 27th District seat encompassing Dyer, Lake, Lauderdale, Gibson and Madison counties, reports the Dyersburg State Gazette.

The seat is currently occupied by Sen. Lowe Finney (D-Jackson), who recently announced that he would not be seeking re-election next year. Dodds, owner of Dodds Eyecare on Main Street in Newbern, says he is interested in leaving the world a better place for his young children.

“There is so much we need to fix and a lot of it can only be done at higher levels,” said Dodds.

Some of the issues that are closest to Dodds heart include education, reforming the tax code, abortion and protection of the Bill of Rights. Despite limited experience in an elected office, Dodds feels that his small business background and his desire to do the right thing for his fellow Tennesseans make him an ideal candidate.

As the owner of Dodds Eyecare, Dodds has seen first hand what a burdensome tax code can do to a small business owner.

“Taxes prevent you from hiring more people and growing your business,” he said. “We can turn the economy around by streamlining tax codes to allow for more growth.”

As the son of an educator, it is no surprise that Dodds is very passionate about the education system and his support of teachers. He praised teachers and the work they do, but noted that they are limited by the constraints of laws being passed. Dodds says that he is against basing everything on a standardized test believing it leads to young adults who can pass tests but may not be ready for life beyond those tests.

“We have to educate children so they can have the tools and the knowledge to be successful in life,” he said.

Lowe Finney Won’t Seek Re-election to state Senate

Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney of Jackson today announced he will not seek reelection to his state Senate seat in 2014.

He’s been considering a run for mayor of Jackson, but declined comment on that possibility for now.

Finney, of course, is one of just seven Democrats remaining in the 33-member Senate — and it’s a safe bet that Republicans will go actively for his seat in 2014. Finney says he thinks Democrats can hold the seat and says some are interested — though he wouldn’t name them.

Here’s Finney’s email to supporters:

Today I am making an important announcement, one that I wanted to share with you – one of my friends and strongest supporters – before it’s out in the news media. After much prayer and thoughtful consideration, I have decided not to seek a third term to the state Senate.

I have had no higher honor than representing West Tennessee families in the state legislature. I am proud to have worked to improve health care for senior citizens, cut the sales tax on food and provide great opportunities for young students and veterans to attend college. I thank my wife, Tiffany, for her support all these years.

Although I am leaving the Senate at the end of next year, I will remain your Senator for Dyer, Crockett, Lake, Lauderdale and Madison counties until the November election. I will work even harder in my last session, and I will be available to serve you in any way I can. I remain,

Respectfully yours,