News release from Tennessee Republican Party:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus today released the following statement appointing the Republican National Committeeman from Tennessee John Ryder as the new RNC General Counsel:
“I am delighted to announce that I have appointed John Ryder as the new General Counsel of the RNC,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “I am confident that John’s legal expertise and political experience make him the ideal choice. His understanding of the inner workings of the Committee from his tenure as an RNC Committeeman and a delegate will be an invaluable asset in providing the RNC with guidance and leadership as we move ahead. I look forward to working with John as we continue to assemble the resources needed to be victorious in 2013, 2014, 2016 and beyond.”
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Chairman Priebus, the members of the RNC and the RNC legal staff. I know that we can build upon the solid foundation established by Chairman Priebus and our previous General Counsel and pave a constructive path forward,” said John Ryder, who lives in Memphis.
Chris Devaney, the Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, remarked, “Today, RNC Chairman Reince Preibus named Tennessee’s National Committeeman John Ryder to the post of RNC General Counsel. Tennessee has certainly been blessed to have strong leaders at the national level and John’s appointment to this important position is another indication of that. I want to congratulate John on his new role and know that he will do an outstanding job for our national Party.”
Biography for John Ryder:
John Ryder was first elected as the National Committeeman from Tennessee in May of 1996 and served from 1996-2004 and from 2008 to the present. He was the chairman of the Redistricting Committee and the RNC Presidential Nominating Schedule Committee. He was a delegate for the 1984, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Republican National Conventions. Ryder served on the Temporary Delegate Selection Committee and currently serves on the Rules Committee.
Ryder is a member of the Memphis, Tennessee law firm: Harris, Shelton, Hanover & Walsh. He is a past Chairman of the Board of Opera Memphis, a member of the Economic Club of Memphis and a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Previously, Ryder was the co-chairman of the Southern Region and director of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. He is vice President for Judicial Affairs for the Republican National Lawyers Association and serves as Senior Advisor to the Memphis Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society.
Mr. Ryder’s appointment is subject to RNC confirmation.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to create a new national wildlife refuge in Middle Tennessee.
The refuge would cover approximately 25,000 acres in Franklin County near Estill Fork, Hurricane Creek and Larkin Fork.
Dwight Cooley, who manages refuges in Alabama, said the tract is one of the most important in the Southeast with respect to natural resources.
Living within it are at least 15 federally endangered or threatened species and a number of species considered endangered or threatened in Tennessee. Much of the land is forested and provides habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” he said. “It’s a wonderful area.”
State Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, already has taken the oath of office as president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators although he doesn’t begin duties until Feb. 1, reports Georgiana Vines. The group had its annual conference the first week of December in Washington, D.C., when he was sworn in, Armstrong said.
“It was the same week we met with President (Barack) Obama,” he said on Friday. Caucus representatives, including Armstrong, met with the president on ramifications of the “fiscal cliff.”
Obama was a member of the caucus when he was a state senator in Illinois in 1997-2004 before being elected to the U.S. Senate.
Armstrong said there’s a delay in being president until the organization’s financial books close this month and the 401(c)(3) organization is audited in January.
Armstrong said he has been invited in his leadership role to Obama’s second inauguration on Jan. 21 and plans to attend. He also went in 2009.
News release from House Democratic Caucus:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) will be led by Tennessee’s own Rep. Joe Armstrong (D-Knoxville), who will serve as President of the organization over the next two years.
Joining him in leading the group will be Rep. Karen Camper who will continue to serve as Region IV Chair (KY, TN, VA, and WV), as well as Rep. Brenda Gilmore and Rep. Johnny Shaw who will serve as Executive Committee members at-large. Allyson Sneed, Legislative Assistant to Rep. Shaw, will serve as Chair of the staff organization.
“I am honored to be chosen by my peers to serve as the President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators,” said Rep. Armstrong. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to expand the caucus and find new and better ways to serve our African-American constituencies.”
NBCSL, founded in 1977, is an organization dedicated to developing and promoting educational, research and training programs to help African-American legislators be more effective when considering and introducing legislation that affects their constituents.
“This is a great opportunity for me to be a voice for rural African-Americans within the Black Caucus,” said Rep. Shaw. “I hope to use this opportunity to inform other legislators about the work we’ve done in Tennessee, and to learn from my colleagues how we can be more effective in our state.”
In addition to a newly elected board, NBCSL has for the first time allocated funds to the regional chairs for the purpose of promoting policy engagement between the states.
“I am grateful to be chosen by my peers to once again serve as Regional Chair,” said Rep. Camper. “I am excited about the opportunity to use these new resources to work with other states in our area so that we can learn from each other about the best ways to help improve the lives of our constituents.”
“Too often the needs of African-Americans are neglected by state legislatures,” said Rep. Gilmore. “By amplifying our voices through NBCSL, we can ensure that important issues and programs are not forgotten as we work to make our states better places for all.”
The new NBCSL Executive Committee will take effect on February 1, 2013.
Former House Republican Chairman Debra Maggart, defeated in her bid for reelection after being attacked by the National Rifle Association, has penned an attack on the NRA for the New York Times. An excerpt: They ran 12 full-page newspaper ads featuring my picture with one of President Obama stating I was for gun control. They ran radio ads, robo calls, posted a “Defeat Maggart” Web site, produced a YouTube video of their chief lobbyist explaining to their members why I should be defeated, and did nine mailings. They posted my photo with President Obama’s on three of the five billboards in my Republican hometown.
..Because of N.R.A. bully tactics, legislators are not free to openly discuss the merits of gun-related legislation. This stifling of discussion does not serve the interest of the public nor of the gun owners. But the N.R.A. gets their way because they know how intimidating they are and they know that lawmakers are afraid to speak openly about what needs to be done.
The N.R.A.’s agenda is more about raising money from their members by creating phantom issues instead of promoting safe, responsible gun ownership. N.R.A. members should ask about the million dollar salaries they pay their lobbyists and why they spend money to defeat proven Second Amendment defenders like me.
She’s also done an interview with Huffington Post. And here in Tennessee… well, previous post HERE.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Open your notebooks and sharpen your pencils. School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer.
Five states were to announce Monday that they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013. Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will take part in the initiative, which is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level.
The three-year pilot program will affect almost 20,000 students in 40 schools, with long-term hopes of expanding the program to include additional schools — especially those that serve low-income communities. Schools, working in concert with districts, parents and teachers, will decide whether to make the school day longer, add more days to the school year or both.
A mix of federal, state and district funds will cover the costs of expanded learning time, with the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning also chipping in resources. In Massachusetts, the program builds on the state’s existing expanded-learning program. In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy is hailing it as a natural outgrowth of an education reform law the state passed in May that included about $100 million in new funding, much of it to help the neediest schools.
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is changing its backcountry reservation and permitting process.
Beginning early next year, the park will collect a $4 per person per night fee for backcountry camping.
The money collected from the fees will be used to improve customer service for backcountry trip planning, reservations and permits.
Backcountry Office hours will be expanded with additional staff available. In addition, there will be greater enforcement of issues like food storage from park rangers assigned to the backcountry.
The park will also begin allowing backcountry campers to make reservations and obtain permits online. The new website should be available within the first few months of 2013.
The value of the government’s economic stimulus program has been a hot topic of debate, particularly during this political season, but — not surprisingly — the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act gets warm reviews in Oak Ridge, reports Frank Munger. The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge office received about $1.9 billion from the 2009 Recovery Act. About $1.2 billion of that windfall was designated for projects — ranging from environmental cleanup to construction of new research facilities — to be carried out in Oak Ridge. Now into the fourth year of the program, DOE still holds tens of millions of dollars to be spent in 2013.
While the precision of stimulus job counts has been questioned by the Government Accountability Office and others, DOE spokesman Mike Koentop said a total of 3,863 jobs had been created or saved in Oak Ridge as of the end of July. At that time, there were still 424 workers supported by Recovery Act funding, Koentop said.
Much of the Recovery Act work in Oak Ridge has been carried out with subcontracts, which end as projects are completed and don’t impact the regular contractor workforce at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex and other federal facilities. Because the work was spread out over four years, there haven’t been the huge employment spikes — followed by steep layoffs — seen at other DOE sites with a lot of stimulus money to spend.
“The economic benefit has been huge,” Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan said. “It’s spilled over into retail and housing and the services industry. It’s had a dynamic effect.”
Breaking from two decades of tradition, this year’s election exit poll is set to include surveys of voters in 31 states, not all 50 as it has for the past five presidential elections, according to The Fix, a Washington Post blog. Dan Merkle, director of elections for ABC News, and a member of the consortium that runs the exit poll, confirmed the shift Thursday. The aim, he said, “is to still deliver a quality product in the most important states,” in the face of mounting survey costs.
The decision by the National Election Pool — a joint venture of the major television networks and The Associated Press — is sure to cause some pain to election watchers across the country
Voters in the excluded states will still be interviewed as part of a national exit poll, but state-level estimates of the partisan, age or racial makeups of electorates won’t be available as they have been since 1992. The lack of data may hamper election night analyses in some states, and it will almost certainly limit post-election research for years to come.
…Here is a list of the states that will be excluded from coverage: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
News release from Tennessee Republican Party:
NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney has announced that National Committeewoman Peggy Lambert of Maryville, Tennessee was elected Vice-Chair of the Republican National Committee’s Southern Region.
“We are proud that Peggy was elected to this position. She has served the State Party for years and has been extremely active with the National Party during her first term as Tennessee’s National Committeewoman. She is well respected by her peers and brings great experience to the role. I am sure that she will represent Tennessee well in her new role,” said Devaney.
This region includes: Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.
Peggy Lambert was re-elected for a second term as Tennessee’s National Committeewoman by the State Executive Committee in March.