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.
Sarah Moore Greene, one of Knoxville’s most influential civil rights icons and community leaders, died this morning, reports the News Sentinel. Ms.Greene — who celebrated her 102nd birthday in February — had been recovering from an illness and had been in and out of the Holston Health & Rehabilitation Center for physical therapy after a bout of pneumonia.
John Sibley, 64, Ms. Greene’s godson, said Ms. Greene was taken Monday to the Physicians Regional Medical Center on Broadway because of dehydration.
“She was resting in her room and just slipped away,” he said.
…Greene was the first black member of the Knoxville Board of Education and a Tennessee delegate to the Republican National Convention. She is also a former state and local president of the NAACP and over the years fought for desegregation and civil rights in schools and the wider community.
Every year around her birthday, the students at Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Technology Academy honored her.
The school was named after Greene in 1974 and became a magnet school with a focus on technology in 1996.
Tennessee Republicans think they can turn yet another state House seat their way this year in a district stretching from Goodlettsville to Bellevue, reports the Tennessean. But Democrats believe they have a strong candidate to keep the District 50 seat in Metro Councilman Bo Mitchell, who will face one of three relative newcomers from the GOP ranks. Democratic state Rep. Gary Moore, a union advocate like Mitchell, is retiring after representing the district for eight years.
Early voting starts today. Mitchell, 41, is running unopposed on the Democratic side. The Republican race features Dwight “DJ” Farris, a 25-year-old Realtor; Dave Hall, 24, who works with data for Wyndham Resorts; and Charles Williamson, 51, a geologist, business owner and bison rancher.
…Both Williamson and Hall ran for House seats in 2010, while Farris is making his first bid for public office. Williamson lost to state Rep. Mike Turner of Old Hickory in District 51. Hall was the Republican nominee in District 50. He drew more than 42 percent of the vote but couldn’t unseat Moore.
Moore made an issue two years ago of the fact that Hall lived with his parents, which still appears to be the case. Hall and his father, Senate District 20 candidate David Hall, listed the same address and phone number when they qualified to run in April.
Hall said he’s legally old enough to run and that he would focus on cutting taxes, confronting illegal immigration and communicating with the people he hopes to represent.
“If you’re here illegally, we need to deport you,” he said. “We need you to come here through the proper channels.”
Farris, who said he closed his first real estate deal when he was a 20-year-old sophomore at Lipscomb University, said he would work to reduce regulations on businesses and create an environment that encourages student achievement and rewards successful teachers.
“People are ready to see someone that’s focused on creating jobs,” he said. “They understand that government does best when it gets out of the way of small business.”
Farris has been endorsed by Tennessee Right to Life, a pro-life group.
Williamson did not return two phone calls or an email seeking an interview this week. In a response to a request for basic information last month, he wrote that he decided to run because “I want to give back in a meaningful way and represent my neighbors with common sense leadership and a sincere willingness to work across party lines for solutions that keep Tennessee vibrant and strong.”
A rundown on Davidson County legislative races has been compiled by The City Paper. Democratic District 50 Rep. Gary Moore announced Thursday he wouldn’t seek re-election in August, ending a four-term career in the legislature and joining Sen. Joe Haynes and Rep. Janis Sontany as other Nashville Democrats who have opted to not run again following the Republican-led redistricting.
…Shortly after Moore made his decision public, Metro Councilman Bo Mitchell, who represents parts of Bellevue, confirmed to The City Paper he plans to run as a Democrat for the open seat. He will run unopposed in the Democratic primary.
“It’s a great opportunity to continue to serve more of Davidson County and help where I can,” Mitchell said.
Republicans running for the District 50 seat are D.J. Harris, Dave Hall and Charles Williamson.
Republicans Steve Dickerson, a doctor, and Rob Mortensen, a businessman, had already made it clear they intend to run for Haynes’ departed District 20 seat. David Hall has also qualified to run as a Republican. On Thursday, attorney Phillip North and perennial candidate James Baxter both qualified to launch Democratic runs for the dramatically altered senate district, which stretches from Goodlettsville, across the western border of the county to parts of Belle Meade and Oak Hill.
Running for Sontany’s District 53 House seat are Democrats Jason Powell and Metro Councilman Jason Potts. Competing in the GOP primary are Tonya Miller and Ben Claybaker.
In House District 60, Councilman Darren Jernigan is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. He will face Rep. Jim Gotto in November. Republican Councilman Robert Duvall is running unopposed in the Republican primary to challenge District 59 Rep. Sherry Jones. Note: See also The Tennessean’s article on Moore and Mitchell, etc
News release from House Democratic Caucus:
(Nashville) – State Rep. Gary Moore Thursday announced his retirement from the Tennessee House of Representatives after eight years of service.
“Gary Moore is one of my best friends,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory). “I’ve worked with him for 25 years in the Nashville Fire Department and I’ve literally stood shoulder to shoulder with him working to protect the people in our community. His colleagues this morning expressed their gratitude for his institutional knowledge and recognized the hole he will leave in our caucus.”
Moore, who was recently elected President of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council, spent his years in the House fighting for working families and formerly served as Democratic Caucus Treasurer. He serves on the House Consumer and Employee Affairs and Judiciary Committees.
Moore resides in Joelton with his wife, Gloria. They have two children and four grandchildren. He represents District 50, is active in the communities he represents, and is a member of First Baptist Church, Joelton. He attended the National Labor College and Volunteer State Community College.
He served as a Nashville Firefighter for 30 years, and held the position of Captain for 11 years. He has over 40 years experience in developing various types of business and community organizations on a local, state and multi-state level.
With a profound concern for the environment, youth, senior citizens, veterans and the citizens of Tennessee, Moore is always willing to organize or become involved in any cause that will benefit them. He is a seasoned charity fundraiser, organized a citizens environmental group, is a founding member of “Get Kids Hooked on Fishing Instead of Drugs” and has organized Property Tax Assistance, Inc., a 501 ( c ) 3 that provides tax assistance to low income senior citizens.
“Gary will be missed as a colleague in the House, but we know he’ll still be around fighting for the causes we all stand for,” Turner said.
By Joe Edwards, Associated Press
The makers of Jack Daniel’s whiskey can take a victory sip after a proposal by local officials to tax its barrels of booze was derailed before it could reach the Tennessee Legislature.
The Moore County Council in Lynchburg voted 10-5 Monday evening to rescind a vote asking lawmakers to authorize a local referendum on the proposal, which would have taxed Jack Daniel’s up to $5 million annually with the revenue going to local coffers.
Charles Rogers of Lynchburg, who had spearheaded the effort, said the issue “is now on life support.”
Jack Daniel’s is the world’s top-selling whiskey, distilled in the tiny town which has been celebrated in folksy, black-and-white advertisements for years.
State Rep. David Alexander, who represents Lynchburg and attended the meeting, said he considers the issue dead.
“It’s the will of the people,” he said of the council vote. “They have spoken.”
A distillery spokesman did not return an after-hours call Monday for comment.
A previous vote was 9-5 to send the proposal to the legislature, and Rogers said he was told the town had been depicted as greedy in worldwide news reports about the proposal since the first vote.
The 145-year-old distillery, owned by Louisville, Ky.-based Brown-Forman Corp., now pays $1.5 million in local property taxes. Distillery officials had opposed the measure, saying Jack Daniel’s is already paying its fair share.
Members of the legislature had said the proposal had little chance of passing.
The distillery, tucked away on 1,700 hilly acres in south-central Tennessee, has 450 employees, making it the largest industry in the small county. About 210,000 people visit the distillery annually, qualifying it as a top tourist draw in Tennessee.
Ironically, Moore County is dry, meaning the iconic Old No. 7 cannot be legally sold in the county, just distilled.
State Rep. Gary Moore, the newly-elected president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council, says he will separate his duties as a legislator from the statewide union’s lobbying and political activities.
State Republican Chairman Chris Devaney questions whether that is possible.
“This isn’t like he’s become the president of the Mickey Mouse Club,” said Devaney. “He will be the Tennessee face of one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in America every time he shows his face on the House floor talking about an issue.”
“He needs to figure out if he wants to represent his district or represent the AFL-CIO,” Devaney said in an interview.
The GOP chairman also issued a news release last week declaring that Moore, D-Nashville, would be the “de facto campaign manager” for President Obama’s reelection effort in Tennessee.
Moore said that Devaney is wrong and that his new position is no different than that of other lawmakers who make a living outside the Legislature.
“Does Ron Ramsey become the face of auctioneers when he’s presiding over the Senate? Is Debra Maggart the face of school boards? Is Joey Hensley the face of doctors on the House floor? You could go on and on and on,” said Moore.
The Tennessee Republican Party, which rarely misses an opportunity to bash Democrats, has not missed the selection of state Rep. Gary Moore, D-Nashville, as president of the state AFL-CIO. Here’s the news release:
NASHVILLE, TN – Earlier this week, Democrat State Representative Gary Moore, District 50, was elected to serve as President of the Tennessee Chapter of the AFL-CIO Labor Council.
The AFL-CIO, including all chapters, enthusiastically endorsed Barack Obama for President in 2008 stating, “…he’s leading the fight to turn around America…Obama knows what it’s going to take to create an economy that works for everyone…Obama has vowed to fight for working families and for an economy that works for all–and he has the record to prove it.”
“Make no mistake, Gary Moore will be leading the fight in Tennessee to re-elect Barack Obama and perpetuate his failed economic policies. Whether it includes raising money or organizing grassroots efforts, Moore will essentially be Obama’s de-facto campaign manager in the state,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.
Just today, The Hill reported that Michael Podhorzer, the labor federation’s top politics officer, said, “There’s no question that the Obama administration has done many things that have helped working people…” The story also indicates that the union is likely to create a “super PAC” that can spend and receive unlimited amounts of campaign cash to help fund campaigns like President Obama’s.
“One could give the AFL-CIO the benefit of the doubt about what they said of Obama back in 2008; but to reaffirm their position that Obama is showing leadership on the economy, even as the economy continues to tank, is not only misguided, but naïve. As the leader of the Tennessee chapter of this big union, it will be difficult, if not impossible for Gary Moore to distance himself from this position,” said Devaney.
In 2004 and in subsequent re-election campaigns, Moore has received thousands of dollars from the AFL-CIO to fund his own campaign.
The Obama Record Endorsed by the AFL-CIO:
New Low Of 26% Approve Of Obama On The Economy. From Gallup: “A new low of 26% of Americans approve of President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, down 11 percentage points since Gallup last measured it in mid-May and well below his previous low of 35% in November 2010.” http://bit.ly/ojgvGF
Consumer Prices Rose By The Most Since March. From the Associated Press: “Consumers paid more for gas, food and clothes last month, pushing prices up by the most since the spring.” http://apne.ws/nN0WYK
Jobless Claims In U.S. Top Forecast, Climb Back Above 400k. From Bloomberg News: “More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, signaling the labor market is struggling two years into the economic recovery. Jobless claims climbed by 9,000 to 408,000 in the week ended Aug. 13, the highest in a month, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington.” http://bloom.bg/oYukin
The state AFL-CIO chapter has tapped a Nashville firefighters’ union president and state legislator to be its top leader as part of a top-management shakeup, reports the Tennessean.
State Rep. Gary W. Moore, D-Joelton, was elected president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council during the union’s biennial convention in Nashville earlier this week. Moore succeeds Jerry Lee, who did not seek re-election to the post he had held since 2003.
Another longtime union executive also stepped down: Eddie Bryan, who retired as secretary/treasurer after 32 years. James C. Hale, a former union official and labor activist from Sparta, Tenn., succeeds him.
Moore, 62, did not return telephone messages Wednesday. In addition to serving as a state representative, Moore is president of the union that represents Nashville firefighters.
“I think Gary will be a very energetic leader,” Lee said in a phone interview. Lee, 73, said he isn’t retiring from his union career but felt it was time for a change.