News release from Sen. Bob Corker:
WASHINGTON – In remarks on the Senate floor today, Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., commented on an amendment he co-authored with Senator John Hoeven, D-N.D., to bolster security on the nation’s southern border as part of the immigration bill now being considered by the Senate.
“Some people have described this [amendment] as a border surge…[W]e are investing resources and securing our border [in ways] that have never been [done] before: doubling the border patrol, $3.2 billion worth of the technology that we took from the chief of the border patrol, the technology that he needs to have 100 percent awareness and to secure our border, dealing with the [entry]/exit program, dealing with e-verify so that all of these things are in place,” Corker said on the Senate floor.
“I do think the American people have asked us if we pass an immigration bill off the Senate floor to do everything that we can to ensure that we have secured the border. That’s what people in Tennessee have asked for…I think that’s what this amendment does,” Corker added. “I want to thank all involved in crafting an amendment that I think tries to deal with the sensibilities on both sides and at the same time secure our border in such a way that we can put this issue mostly behind us and we can have an immigration system in our country that meets the needs of a growing economy – the biggest economy in the world – that focuses on making our country stronger, not weaker, and hopefully will put this debate behind us.”
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam tonight delivered his 2013 State of the State address before a joint session of the General Assembly, contrasting Tennessee with Washington, D.C. and other states across the country that have struggled to keep their fiscal houses in order.
“Unlike the news coming out of our nation’s capital and so many other states around the country, good things are happening in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “We have a long history of fiscal restraint that crosses party lines. We have been deliberate about not spending money we don’t have and in making a concerted effort to save for the future…And now we are well-positioned to continue to invest in a thoughtful, strategic manner.”
The governor reiterated his priorities and progress in the areas of attracting and growing Tennessee jobs, the importance of a customer-focused, efficient and effective state government, improving public safety, and making significant progress in education.
“We had the second largest increase in state K-12 expenditures of all 50 states in fiscal year 2012,” Haslam said. “The average increase was nearly 3 percent. Ours grew almost 12 percent in state education funding. Education is another example of how in Tennessee we’re distinguishing ourselves as different from the rest of the country.
“We are literally putting our money where our mouth is, even when other states haven’t done so through tough budget times,” Haslam continued. “Our administration’s three budgets have certainly supported our commitment to public education, but I also think it is important to note that we’re not just throwing money at it. Dollars alone don’t lead to improvement. There has to be a plan. Along with strategic investments, we’re pursuing real reform in education that is producing results.”
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A transcript from Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ divorce case is being released although lawyers said the public may not see it before Election Day.
Attorney Gerard Stranch, who represents the Tennessee Democratic Party, and DesJarlais’ attorney, Harvey Cameron, said Monday they reached an agreement to release the transcript after both sides argued the case before Circuit Court Judge Jacqueline Bolton.
Stranch said a short time later that Bolton sided with the DesJarlais camp in withholding the completed part of the transcript until all 600 to 700 pages of the transcript are completed. He said that likely wouldn’t happen before Tuesday.
The impact of an Election Day release isn’t clear. More than 120,000 ballots have already been cast in the 4th District during Tennessee’s 14-day early voting period.
The Knox County Law Department has blocked the release of six emails written earlier this year that appear to involve Mayor Tim Burchett’s problematic campaign account, according to the News Sentinel. The county’s Information Technology Department produced records of the emails, written in January, March and April, in response to a request by the News Sentinel. But the Law Department determined the emails themselves should not be released because they are “personal” and not subject to the state’s Public Records Act.
If the emails do, in fact, deal with Burchett’s election account, they could be relevant to a meeting of the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance next week during which the mayor has been told to explain false entries in his campaign finance disclosure statement and undisclosed contributions to and withdrawals from the Elect Burchett campaign account.
The mayor has blamed his former wife, Allison, who wrote several checks from the campaign account to herself during their marriage and deposited those amounts in the couple’s household checking account.
She has said she acted at his direction. He has repeatedly said he knew nothing of the discrepancies until they were brought to his attention by the News Sentinel in June.
Before a July 22 news story, for instance, he issued a written statement saying, in part: “As a result of these matters having been brought to my attention for the first time, I have initiated a complete review ….”
County computer records show, however, that Allison Burchett sent three emails the morning of Jan. 30 to the mayor, his chief of staff, Dean Rice, and Communications Manager Michael Grider. The subject of the first, sent at 9:30 a.m. was “Financial disclosures.” The subject of the second, sent 35 minutes later, was “FW: elect.” It had an untitled pdf file attached to it. The subject of the third, sent a few minutes after that, was “RE: Financial disclosures.”
The data on 31 children whose lives had at some point intersected with Department of Children’s Services workers before they died this year have been released in response to requests by The Tennessean and by Democratic state lawmaker Sherry Jones.
Jones had made repeated requests over the past two months for the information. Ten children died in Tennessee during the first six months of 2012 while they were the subjects of ongoing investigations by the Department of Children’s Services. None was more than a year old.
An additional 17 children who died during the same time period had at some point been brought to the attention of DCS. At the time of their deaths, however, their case files had been closed.
And four children ages 18 and younger died in state custody during the same period of time.
…In releasing the data to Jones and the newspaper, DCS attorney Douglas Dimond acknowledged that the state agency charged with protecting children had been violating the law for seven years in its reporting of child deaths.
A 2005 law requires DCS to inform lawmakers of each child death or near-death in their district within 45 days.
“Although the statute was enacted in 2005, it does not appear that the Department has been generating individual notifications to legislators at any time or under any version of the statute since then, but the Department will certainly begin doing so immediately in compliance with the statute,” Dimond wrote.
From The Commercial Appeal:
Former state senator John Ford should be released from prison later this month after more than four years behind bars, his brother said Tuesday.
The Memphis Democrat reported to prison on April 28, 2008, following a bribery conviction. He is expected to be released to a halfway house in less than two weeks, said his brother, Edmund Ford Sr.
“The information I have is he should be here on the 20th,” said Ford, a former city councilman.
Chris Burke, spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons, said he can’t comment on a specific pending release but said by law inmates can be released to a halfway house anytime during the last year of their term. Ford’s scheduled release date is Feb. 8, 2013. Following time in a halfway house, inmates typically are transferred to home confinement to finish out their term, Burke said.
Ford, 70, resigned in 2005 from the state senate where he’d served over parts of four decades following his indictment in the FBI’s Tennessee Waltz bribery sting. Convicted in 2007 of accepting $55,000 in cash payoffs from an undercover agent posing as a corrupt businessman seeking tailored legislation, Ford is the last of 12
News release from SCORE:
(Nashville) — The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) today released a report, Supporting Effective Instruction in Tennessee, regarding Tennessee’s teacher evaluation system. The report follows a five-month listening and feedback process SCORE led on the evaluation system to identify what is working well, gather input on challenges and concerns, and report back with a range of recommendations to the Tennessee Department of Education and State Board of Education.
“SCORE’s role in this process has been to listen,” SCORE President and CEO Jamie Woodson said. “It is our hope that this report and its recommendations will build on key successes of the new teacher evaluation system and support improvements moving forward, while always keeping the focus on what it takes to improve student achievement in our state.”
Research shows that effective teaching is the most important school-based factor in improving student achievement. Tennessee is now completing the first year of implementing a new teacher evaluation system, designed to identify and support effective teaching.
News release from Fleischmann Congressional campaign:
CHATTANOOGA, TN – Congressman Chuck Fleischmann announced the team that will lead his re-election campaign this year.
“I am glad to have these folks on board my campaign as we work to let the people of the 3rd District know about my proven conservative voting record and the promises I have kept in Washington. We are not taking anything for granted, and will work harder than any other campaign so I can continue fighting in Congress for less government spending, lower taxes, the right to life, 2nd Amendment rights, and a strong national defense,” Fleischmann said.
Jordan Powell, Senior Advisor – From January 2011 to February 2012, Mr. Powell served as Congressman Fleischmann’s press secretary in his Washington, D.C. office. Prior to that, he served as day-to-day manager and spokesman for Fleischmann’s 2010 come-from-behind victory. He has worked on many other campaigns across the country, including Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Tyler Threadgill, Campaign Manager – Mr. Threadgill is an experienced campaigner who most notably served as the Tennessee Republican Party’s Victory Director in 2010. Under his direction, the Victory operation helped lead historic Republican victories in the congressional delegation, state house, and state senate. Mr. Threadgill has also worked on Capitol Hill and at the Tennessee Department of Education.
Axiom Strategies – In the 2010 election cycle, Axiom Strategies was the most critically acclaimed Republican direct mail firm in the country winning twice as many awards as any other Republican firm. Axiom boasts an 81% Congressional win percentage in over 60 Congressional campaigns and has delivered over 25 million pieces of direct mail with 11.4 million pieces delivered in 2010. Axiom is a returning member of Congressman Fleischmann’s 2010 campaign team.
Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research – Founded in 1998, by CEO Chris Wilson, WPA Opinion Research (formerly known as Wilson Research Strategies) has been a leading provider of political polling for campaigns from Mayor and City Council to Governor and U.S. Senate in 47 states and several foreign countries. In 2009-2010 alone, WPA conducted polling in nearly 200 races for campaigns, caucuses and independent expenditures efforts. WPA is a returning member of Congressman Fleischmann’s 2010 campaign team.
The Strategy Group for Media – Founded in 1994, The Strategy Group for Media produces the most creative and compelling political advertising in the United States today. In the 2010 General Election, The Strategy Group for Media posted the best win-record in the nation with major victories in races for Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House (14 new members), statewide, legislative caucus, and judicial campaigns. The Strategy Group is a returning member of Congressman Fleischmann’s 2010 campaign team.
News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Significant reforms of how the state operates and a responsible budget that includes strategic investments, reductions and savings for the future highlighted Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s second legislative session as the state’s chief executive.
Haslam introduced his comprehensive 2012 agenda on January 10, the first day of this year’s legislative session. His legislative priorities included a limited number of significant changes, which built upon his efforts in 2011 to reform teacher tenure and tort laws.
“This administration heard the Lt. Gov. and House Speaker’s call for an efficient and effective legislative session this year, and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished in working together,” Haslam said. “Our focus continues to be on making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs, which goes hand in hand with an ongoing emphasis on improving education. I’m also committed to making sure state government does its job of providing services to Tennessee taxpayers at the lowest cost in the most customer-focused, efficient and effective way possible.”
News release from DesJarlais campaign:
Jasper, Tenn. – While Eric Stewart touts that he is fiscally responsible, the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance says he failed to report contributions received, overstated his contributions that were reported and failed to properly maintain campaign records or follow campaign finance statutes.
Findings one through three in an audit conducted of Eric Stewart’s campaign finance activities paint the picture of a candidate who didn’t report all the contributions that he received and then exaggerated what he actually reported. Moreover, Eric Stewart kept campaign contributions records so poorly that authorities conducting the audit could not determine if he was in compliance with campaign finance statutes.
“While liberal Democrat Eric Stewart is trying to mislead voters into thinking he is a deficit hawk, reality clearly shows that he is irresponsible and sloppy when he manages even small budgets under his direct control. It’s hard to imagine having someone represent the Fourth District on federal budgetary issues in Washington who lacks the ability to balance their own bank account,” said Brandon Lewis, campaign manager for Congressman DesJarlais. Response from Stewart campaign:
In response to the press release sent out by Congressman Scott Desjarlais today, state Sen. Eric Stewart issued the following statement:
“With regards to our campaign disclosures from over 3 years ago, our campaign made some mistakes. I took responsibility for them, worked with the registry and made the appropriate corrections.
But now it’s time for Congressman DesJarlais to take responsibility for his actions and start standing up for working families in Tennessee. This is just another example of how Congressman DesJarlais is out of touch with his constituents. I guess you could say it’s another day and another hypocrisy from Congressman DesJarlais. At a time when folks are still struggling to get back on their feet and small businesses are worried about how they are going to make payroll, DesJarlais is trying to distract voters from recent news that he spent over $250,000 of taxpayer money to help his reelection campaign, that he took political contributions in return for letters of support for federal funding, that he voted to raise taxes on hard working Tennesseans on average of $750 per family and that he voted to end Medicare as we know it. Congressman DesJarlais must be feeling the heat by trying to divert the focus so soon. Of course, if I had his record of voting against hard working families in my district….I would want to talk about something else too.”