Tag Archives: phone

Ted Welch Switches Role inTennessee GOP Fundraising

Ted Welch, the man who has served as a central thread connecting the characters and campaigns of the now-dominant Tennessee Republican Party is entering a new phase, reports The Tennessean.
At 79, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight months ago, he is moving from the role of organizer of the party’s grandest events to honoree.
As his longtime friend (Lamar) Alexander gears up for a run at a third term in the U.S. Senate, Welch isn’t the one making calls to ensure the senator rakes in another $1 million during the next quarter.
Instead, the honorary finance chairman of Alexander’s re-election bid (the other being embattled Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam) is the subject of the senator’s next fundraiser, a “Salute to Ted Welch,” set for Tuesday in Williamson County.
“Every other time, he’s been organizing,” Alexander said, looking back at his numerous campaigns.
Welch, a former door-to-door Bible salesman and master of the fundraising phone call — a not-so-easy task for even the most seasoned politicos — stuck to a pretty simple formula: one call after another, flipping through a Rolodex, as he turned personal and political connections into money.
For more than four decades, Welch has played GOP fundraiser extraordinaire: from Gov. Winfield Dunn’s victory in 1970 to Alexander’s gubernatorial and Senate triumphs, to the more recent victories of Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Bob Corker. In between have been Sens. Howard Baker, Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, and new Republicans at the state level, such as House Speaker Beth Harwell.
…”If you’ve ever thought about running for politics in 30 years and you have not gone to have a conversation with Ted, you’re not doing it right,” said Bryan Kaegi, Alexander’s fundraiser and a Welch admirer.
Kaegi — along with his sister, Kim Kaegi, Corker’s chief fundraiser — is part of the next generation of Republican fundraisers who fall under the Welch tree. Another is Agnes Warfield, current fundraiser for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a woman called both the “Money Maven” and “The Money Lady.”

TennCare Phone Foulup Gives Wrong Message

Tennesseans desperately seeking health care coverage Thursday night received an erroneous message that the state was no longer accepting applicants for a Medicaid waiver program during the first 38 minutes of a competitive dialing process, reports The Tennessean.
Callers who got past busy signals heard a recorded message informing them that the 2,500-applicant limit had been reached, when it had not.
Thursday night marked the state’s sixth round of taking applications for the TennCare Standard Spend Down, for people with low incomes and high medical bills who would not otherwise qualify for Medicaid coverage. State officials say Tennessee does not have the manpower to handle an open-ended application system, so people have only one or two nights a year to do the competitive dialing.
“Due to a technical issue related to a server and the phone system, the phone lines at the beginning of the Standard Spend Down were not working properly,” said Devin Stone, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Human Services. “We are continuing to investigate with the vendors regarding the issue. Calls were successfully coming through by 6:38 p.m. By 7:23 p.m., we successfully reached our goal of 2,500.”
It is anybody’s guess how many people stopped trying to get through after hearing the erroneous recording, said Michele Johnson, managing attorney for the Tennessee Justice Center, an advocacy organization.
The Spend Down program consistently has more slots available for coverage than people enrolled in the program. Last year, the program had coverage budgeted for 3,500 people but maintained an average enrollment of 1,000.

Bill Cuts ‘LifeLine’ Phone Subsidy for the Poor

About 93,000 low-income Tennesseans would pay $3.50 per month more for basic landline phone service with passage of legislation moving quickly through the Legislature with support of AT&T, a company now losing money under the present system.
“It ends a mandate to fund social programs without being reimbursed,” said Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, in the only reference to the provision within SB1180 during a Senate committee hearing.
The measure — known as “the AT&T bill,” though Norris pointed out that it impacts other telecommunications companies as well — was approved unanimously by the Senate Commerce Committee and awaits a Senate floor vote this evening. A House committee, meanwhile, approved the companion bill last week — sponsored by House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, unanimously without any discussion.
The provision on “Lifeline” service, intended to assure the poor have access to basic phone service, is part of a package to eliminate what McCormick called in brief remarks to the House committee “obsolete language” and “regulatory underbrush” that could “hinder investment in Tennessee.”

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VOIP Phones to Help TN GOP Reach Ohio, Va. & N.C. Voters

News release from Tennessee Republican Party:
KNOXVILLE, TN – Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney debuted new technology at the Knox County Victory Headquarters today that will be used to help elect Mitt Romney and state legislative candidates in East Tennessee.
The new VOIP (Voice Over IP) phones, which are supplied by a Tennessee-based company, will allow volunteers to more efficiently contact voters in Tennessee and in nearby “swing states” like North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio.
“This is the most crucial election of our lifetime, and the Knox County Victory Headquarters is just one part of our overall Victory effort,” said Devaney.
“While working to expand our majorities on the state level, volunteers will also have the opportunity to call into or be deployed to a nearby ‘swing state’ like North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio. The volunteer spirit of the Volunteer State is alive and well, and that will help propel our candidates to victory this November and ensure a reversal of the reckless economic policies of President Obama,” concluded Devaney.
The Knox County Victory Headquarters is located at 5410 Kingston Pike in Knoxville. Volunteers can sign up to participate in the TNGOP Victory program by visiting http://www.tngop.org/action/volunteer.html.

Rep. Ragan Drops State Email, Phone Number from Campaign Website

Republican state Rep. John Ragan says he has removed his state office phone number and state email address from his campaign website as a “courtesy” to a constituent who complained — opponent and Democrat Jim Hackworth.
Hackworth this week sent reporters an email declaring Ragan, who represents District 33 in Anderson County, had run afoul of state laws with his campaign website, http://johndragan.com, on two fronts. He added a third example in an interview.
First, Hackworth said that by giving his state office telephone number and state government email address as a means of communicating on campaign matters, Ragan appeared in violation of the state’s “Little Hatch Act,” which generally prohibits use of taxpayer-paid equipment for political purposes. Hackworth said a caller to Ragan’s state office asking for campaign information was referred to a separate number, providing another indication that state facilities were being used for politics.

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School Board Video Meetings Approved; Critics See ‘Slippery Slope’

School board members will be allowed to vote via video phone without physically attending meetings for the first time under legislation approved by both the House and Senate despite complaints about allowing elected officials to dodge the public.
“We’re getting dangerously close to a digital proxy system,” said Rep. Mathew Hill, R-Jonesborough, in House floor debate Thursday. “To make it where you don’t have to face your constituency anymore is very, very troubling.”
Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, provided what he called “a little history lesson,” relating that two Oregon state representatives were kidnapped by “radical Republicans” when state ratification of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was in issue during the 1860s. Two men masquerading as the kidnapped legislators then voted for ratification, which passed by one vote in Oregon, Niceley said.
The kidnapping thus effectively “changed the course of history” and “stole power from the states,” he said. Passage of the school board bill, he said, could lead to similar situations.
Proponents of the bill (SB2723), which has been pushed by the Tennessee School Boards Association, said safeguards are provided in the measure to prevent any abuses.
The bill declares that a meeting can be missed only for specified reasons, including illness, military service or a “family emergency.” Each school board across the state must decide to implement the law and, if so, develop it’s own rules for what constitutes a “family emergency.”
A board member could attend meetings by phone a maximum of two times per year and a quorum of the board would have to be physically present at the meeting, not counting those attending by call-in.

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