Sen. Beverly Marrero tells Andrea Zelinski that she has yet to forgive Sen. Jim Kyle for edging her out of office in the Democratic primary instead of running against a Republican. But the 73-year-old says she hasn’t totally ruled out taking another stab at getting back into the Legislature by running against Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, in 2014.
“It flashed on my mind a little bit that I might run against Brian Kelsey, but I would have to move to do that,” she said Wednesday in her Capitol Hill office during an interview with TNReport. Marrero added that many of her constituents for the last decade were drawn into Kelsey’s district this year.
“I’m sure that they’re not going to be happy with their choices. However, I’m sure there are enough Republicans in that district where he’ll easily be able to win. I may make him work for it a little bit. I don’t know,” she said.
Marrero lost her bid for re-election last month against Kyle, the highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, who asked Republicans to draw him into a race against Marrero instead of Kelsey during redistricting this year. Kyle beat Marrero with 55 percent of the vote in the Memphis district.
“I’m trying to deal with my feelings about it because I do — had — a certain feeling that I had been betrayed by a member of my own party, particularly when he was originally drawn into a district with a Republican and he chose to run against me,” Marrero said.
Democratic primary voters across a broad swath of Memphis must choose between two of the party’s Memphis leaders — State Sens. Jim Kyle and Beverly Marrero — as a result of this year’s redistricting of the state legislature, Richard Locker has discovered. With similar voting records, the two senators are focusing their campaigns for the Aug. 2 primary on jobs, education and crime, but with different themes.
Kyle is emphasizing his 29 years of Senate experience, his position as the Senate’s Democratic leader “and the fact that as a result, I have the opportunity to do more for my community.”
Marrero is running a grassroots campaign emphasizing her work on issues affecting women, children and families. She served three years in the House before moving to the Senate in 2007.
It’s the state’s only Senate race in which two sitting senators are paired against each other.
Nearly two-thirds of the new Senate District 30 is in Kyle’s current district, so Marrero says she’s working to meet voters in the Frayser and Raleigh areas she hasn’t represented before.
…Both attended Gov. Bill Haslam’s bill-signing ceremony in Bartlett Wednesday for three anti-crime bills, which both supported for safer neighborhoods. Marrero said she was particularly interested in the one that increases penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders.
…”It’s been a very positive fact that I’m the minority leader,” Kyle said. “I just left the crime-bill signing, and I helped make those bills reality. I think my experience on finance matters separates me and it’s been a good thing for Memphis and Shelby County. I’m going to be emphasizing what I have done and what I can do as a result of my leadership position.”
Both agree that Marrero is more liberal, or in her view, “progressive.” She is an outspoken supporter of abortion rights in a legislature dominated by Republicans.
“While Beverly has a reputation of being a very liberal person and I have a reputation of being a more moderate person, our voting records will reveal many similar votes,”
Kyle said. “And so the issue comes down to who can be more effective in representing the district and the community. It needs an effective legislator because of the community’s needs.
“And the experience I had of being (former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen’s) point person for six years has given me a view of government that allows me to work the system for the citizens of our community,” said Kyle, a Memphis lawyer.
…Marrero, who operated a real estate business and a bookstore before retiring, said that while she and Kyle most often vote alike, “I think I might be a little more of a progressive on certain issues. Issues having to do with women, children and families have been my strong suit and I’ve always favored legislation to make our neighborhoods safer and to reduce domestic violence.”
She cited her sponsorship of a bill extending foster-care benefits from age 18 to 21, which finally won approval under a Republican sponsor.
Marrero has the backing of her mentor, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen. Kyle won the endorsement last week of the Memphis Education Association.
Congressman Steve Cohen is backing state Sen. Beverly Marrero in her Democratic primary contest against Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, reports Jackson Baker. The Republican redistricting plan requires the two to run against one another. Cohen described Marrero as “my good friend, my successor, the lady who stands up when people need to stand up, the person with courage, the person with the right voice for the City of Memphis and for Senate District 30,” while he referred to Kyle, a longtime party rival, as someone “who in redistricting took Senate District 30 and made it into something different.”
Of his own reelection campaign, in which he has Tomeka Hart as a Democratic primary opponent, Cohen focused on the likely Republican nominee in the 9th District race, former Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn, the wealthy radiologist and broadcast magnate who, as Cohen noted, has waged unsuccessful races in the past for county mayor, City Council, and Congress.
“We’ve got a primary, but the enemy is the Republicans, and we’ve got a self-funder that’ll be running against me in the fall….He’s going to spend a lot of money, so we’re going to spend some money, too, and we’ll do everything we can to see that this is his worst defeat.”
Six veteran Shelby County Democrats in the state Legislature — two senators and four representatives — are paired against each other in the primary elections as a result of redistricting and their qualifying petitions filed by Thursday’s deadline, reports Zack McMillan in a rundown on the Shelby election situation. Sens. Jim Kyle and Beverly Marrero are running against one another in the new Senate District 30.
Reps. John DeBerry and Jeanne Richardson are running in House District 90, along with Ian L. Randolph.
In House District 93, Reps. G.A. Hardaway and Mike Kernell are facing off.
…Pending the withdrawal deadline next Thursday, seven other Shelby County incumbent state legislators up for election this year would face either primary or general election opposition, or both.
Surprise developments included the emergence of a Democratic challenger, FedEx pilot and Navy veteran Robert Noziglia, to Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, in southeastern Shelby’s House District 95, and intra-party challengers to Republican Sen. Mark Norris of Collierville and Republican Reps. Ron Lollar (Bartlett) and Steve McManus (Cordova).
Kyle and Marrero agreed that running against party colleagues is uncomfortable.
“Yet it’s happening all over the country,” said Kyle, who added that the newly drawn district consists of 70 percent of his old district. “I believe I do a very good job in the Senate and I will work my best to prove my case to the constituents.”
Marrero said she’s already been visiting parts of Raleigh and Frayser added to the district and that Memphis needs “female representation” in the Senate.
“Whatever district I’m in, there will always be poor people, there will always be young people, there’ll always be people who have been abused or neglected that need a voice in Nashville,” Marrero said.
Kernell, elected in 1974, said, “I’m going to go apply to be rehired, apply for employment in the district and show people what I’ve done and what I can do to help as many people as possible.”
Hardaway decided to enter the District 93 race as opposed to the state Senate or District 86 where his home is located. He said he’ll move into the district, which is a couple of blocks from his home, by the election.
“I’ll continue to work as I’ve done to make sure that Memphis makes its own decisions when it comes to local education matters,” Hardaway said.
In House District 90, John DeBerry couldn’t be reached for comment. Richardson, who will also have to move about two blocks into the district, said several communities in her current district were shifted into it and she was born in it and attends church in it.
“A lot of progressive Democrats live there and I am a progressive Democrat. I’ve already started knocking on doors,” Richardson said.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Democratic state Sen. Beverly Marrero says she’s “stunned” by an online effort to draft her to run for the U.S. Senate this year.
Marrero has been a vocal critic of the legislative redistricting plan that places her in the same Memphis district as fellow Democratic Sen. Jim Kyle.
She said Wednesday that the calls for her to instead run against Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker this year are a “very lovely gesture” and said she’s not ready to rule anything out.
Marrero was elected to the state Senate in 2007 after serving six years in the House. She is 72.
The candidate filing deadline is April 5.
— Note: See also Trace Sharp backing the draft Marrero idea HERE; and the facebook page on the draft Marrero movement HERE.
Marrero Running, Kyle Maybe
Sen. Beverly Marrero, thrown into the same district with fellow Democratic Sen. Jim Kyle under the final redistricting plan, says she will seek reelection. Kyle says he’s thinking about it. From the Commercial Appeal: “I am pleased to have an opportunity to run for re-election to the Senate, and I’m pleased that two-thirds of my district was kept intact (in the new District 30) because I’ve represented most of those people for nearly 30 years,” Kyle said.
Said Marrero: “It’s my district, 30, and I’m going to run. It will be interesting. Those days of women just saying, ‘You take it and I’ll go home,’ are over.” Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey
Statement from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey: The redistricting bills we have passed today are fair, legal and logical. The plans restore regional integrity protecting neighborhoods and other communities of interest. I am proud of the hard work by members of both parties that went into creating them. Most of all, I am excited that with this process completed we can all get back to giving Tennesseans what they have asked for — more jobs, less spending and smaller government. Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney
Statement from Sen. Lowe Finney: “With today’s vote to approve redistricting maps in the Senate, the majority party rushed a process that amounted to a secret reverse election. Even today, as these bills go to the Governor for his signature, members of the public have little idea who will represent them.
“The redistricting process should not be conducted this way. Tennesseans deserve openness and proper deliberation regarding such sweeping legislation.” Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris:
From TNReport: “I think it’s the best we can do. It’s the fairest and most legal redistricting plan upon which we could agree,” said Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, who sponsored the Republican maps in the Senate. “There’s something about this plan that just about everyone can dislike a little bit, and some dislike a lot.” Sen. Andy Berke
On why he voted for the Senate redisricting bill (in Chattanooga TFP):
“Sen. Watson and I sat down and looked at a number of the precincts in Hamilton County. There were a number of precincts that made more sense to be in the 10th District because of the commonality of interest. They didn’t make all the changes I requested but they made some.” Cagle: GOP Too Clever?
Excerpt from a Frank Cagle column Tennessee has always been conservative and it has been trending Republican. Given the in-state vote in 2008 against the Democrats with a ticket led by President Barack Obama, it will be an uphill battle for Democrats this time around as he seeks re-election. As conservative Democrats from rural areas retire, they have been replaced by Republicans.
The Republicans could use a neutral computer model and likely draw districts that would result in their retaining control. But they didn’t. The question now is whether they have gone too far in trying to get a super majority and open themselves up to a court challenge and a judge intervening in the process.
Have they been too clever? We’ll see. Bipartisan Support
House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey both made a point of declaring “bipartisan supports’ for the legislative redistricting bills that won final passage on Friday.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner and Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle both made a point of saying their ‘yes’ votes were based on a deal. Basically, they agreed a to go along with the bills – even though disliking several aspects – in exchange for Republicans accepting last-minute revisions that benefited some Democrats without harming any Republicans.
The final vote on the state House redistricting bill (HB1555) was 67-25-3 in the House; 23-10 in the Senate. Seven Democrats, including Turner, voted for the bill in the House. Three backed it in the Senate. There were no Republicans voting against it, but two were officially “present but not voting.”
The final vote on the state Senate redistricting bill (SB1514) was 21-12 in the Senate and 60-29-1 in the House. Three Democrats, including Kyle, voted yes in the Senate while two Republicans – Sens. Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet and Kerry Roberts of Springfield, who lost his seat in the plan – voted no. Five Democrats, not including Turner, voted for the bill in the House.
The final vote on the congressional redistricting bill (HB1558) was 68-25 in the House and 24-9 in the Senate. Four Democratic senators – notably including Sen. Eric Stewart of Winchester, who is running for Congress – voted yes. So did seven House Democrats.
Sexual slavery of adults and youths is spreading across Tennessee state at a rate that even police find “shocking,” according to a study of cases from last year by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Vanderbilt Center for Community Studies that is reported in the Commercial Appeal today. Responding to the state’s first study on the crime trend, lawmakers unanimously passed a series of bills protecting the minors and cracking down on those who exploit them. Gov. Bill Haslam signed the bills Tuesday.
“This is a big deal for us,” said state Sen. Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis, who has been pushing for tougher penalties for pimps and johns for years.
“People still think of this as a problem with foreign countries and unfortunately that’s just not the case anymore,” said Marrero, chairwoman of the Shelby County legislative delegation. “This is a problem in Tennessee.”
State Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, was among those co-sponsoring the bills.
“This sinister trade is largely underground but growing at an alarming rate,” he wrote on his website.
A significant change in state law: Minors will no longer be prosecuted for prostitution. Instead, they will be viewed as victims.
Police will continue arresting pimps and johns but will return the minors to their parents or guardians.
…(The study found) four counties — Shelby, Davidson, Coffee and Knox — reported more than 100 cases of the sex trafficking of minors.
Both Democratic and Republican legislators have put out news releases today on the occasion of Gov. Bill Haslam signing bills that deal with sex trafficking.
In almost an oddity for this year, the legislation was sponsored on a bipartisan basis — Sen. Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis, in the Senate and Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, in the House.
The releases are below.