Tag Archives: Ron Ramsey

Ramsey appoints Hill to new 6-year term at TRA

Kenneth C. Hill of Blountville, first appointed a director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority in 2009, has been named to another six-year term by Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey.

Hill, father of state Reps. Mathew Hill and Timothy Hill, House and Senate resolutions confirming the appointment of Hill, is a past chairman of the utility oversight agency.

Resolutions confirming Hill’s appointment (SJR693 and HJR758 await approval by the Legislature on Wednesday, expected to be the final day of the 2016 session.

Former Rep. Shipley eyes run for Senate District 10

Seven people have now picked up the paperwork needed to run for the state Senate District 4 seat being vacated by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, reports the Kingsport Times-News.

Among the latest potential contenders are former state Rep. Tony Shipley, who lost his House seat two years ago, and Kingsport lawyer Alice Alexander, who lost a run for county attorney in 2014.

Alexander and Shipley joined Brad Baker and Steve Godsey (former county mayor and state representative) as would-be candidates who have picked up, but not yet filed, the qualifying paperwork.

State Rep. Jon Lundberg filed his qualifying petition on March 18, followed by Neal Kerney on March 21 and John Paul Blevins on Monday.

…Meanwhile, five hopefuls have picked up the paperwork to run for the District 1 House seat Lundberg has held for 10 years.

They include: Sullivan County Commissioner John Crawford (filed Monday); Bristol Tennessee City Council member Michelle Denise; Bristol Tennessee Vice Mayor Chad Keen; Bart Long (former county commissioner and register of deeds, filed Monday); and Sullivan County Commissioner Mark Vance.

Lundberg was elected to the House in the 2006 general election, after first besting Crawford in the Republican primary earlier that year by only 22 votes — 1,793 to 1,771.

GOP consensus forms around McNally as Lt. Gov.

Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, has by all appearances lined up support to assure his electiontion as speaker of the Senate and lieutenant governor of Tennessee.

McNally took the Senate floor near the end of Thursday’s session to pay tribute to retiring Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and officially announce his candidacy for the office.

He said he had spoken with each of his colleagues who had also considered running — Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville, Speaker Pro Tem Bo Watson, R-Chattanooga, Sens. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville and Jack Johnson, R-Franklin — and afterward told reporters all had indicated they would back him.

…Norris said Monday that he was working to put together an agreement in which McNally would be the consensus candidate within the Republican Caucus to avoid a divisive distraction during this year’s elections. Watson had said last week he wouldn’t run for speaker if McNally did and would support him if he did.

Ramsey said later Thursday that he believes McNally will succeed him.

McNally, 72, is in the middle of a four-year Senate term and isn’t up for re-election this year, as half of his Senate colleagues are. He said last week when he told reporters he would run for speaker that he will likely run for another Senate term in 2018 but that would probably be his last.

House beats Senate in corny competition

House Speaker Beth Harwell’s team defeated Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey’s team for the second year in a corn shelling competition held as part of “Agriculture Day on the Hill. This follows two years of House team victories in milking contests that were the standard before “Ag Day” became corny competition for the House and Senate.

From the Tennessean’s account:

House Speaker Beth Harwell and her bipartisan team of corn shellers have got a good thing going.

The three-member team, including Harwell and Reps. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, and John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, narrowly edged a Senate team led by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey to retain a golden trophy commemorating the annual competition.

Although Harwell lost a coin toss resulting in her team going first, her squad bested Ramsey’s, which included Sens. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, and Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains — who was wearing coveralls on top of his regular garb — after shelling 16 pounds of corn. The Senate team, who jokingly accused Harwell’s team of cheating in last year’s competition, managed to shell 15.8 pounds.

Note: Cheating allegations are nothing new to House-Senate contests, both during “Ag Day” and otherwise. A post on the Ag Day scandal of 2012 is HERE.

Norris backs McNally as Senate speaker

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris today backed Senate Finance Chairman Randy McNally as successor to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey as Senate speaker… and Ramsey said he’s neutral, but McNally certainly is qualified.

From Nashville Post Politics:

“I want to stay out of this, I really do. I don’t get a vote, but Randy McNally has been here for 38 years and he won’t be here much longer. I’ve had several members talk to me about that and I can see why people might think Randy should be the one. But again, I don’t get a vote,” Ramsey told reporters.

…“I haven’t counted votes, I haven’t done that,” Ramsey said about support for McNally, a member with 38 years experience in the legislature who said he would want to serve a transitionary role for two years or so. “He seems to have some momentum now just talking to my fellow members, but I don’t know.

“There’s one thing I don’t want, and that’s a blood bath as soon as I leave. I don’t want that. Hopefully there could be some kind of consensus candidate out there,” Ramsey said.

Norris, who met with Ramsey moments before reporters, said he would support a McNally speakership, telling media he “made a lot of calls” in the last few days pitching him as a man with a “storied career and reputation here, is the dean of the Senate in terms of time here and steady at the helm.”

Note: Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson, who has been mentioned as a prospective Ramsey successor along with Norris, previously announced support for McNally, post HERE.

More ramblings on Ramsey: cheers and jeers

Right-wing legacy
Excerpt from an Otis Sanford column in the Commercial Appeal:

Ramsey’s retirement announcement last week was followed by effusive bipartisan accolades for a guy who was the key to turning a legislature long dominated by Democrats into a Republican supermajority.

It’s no secret that Ramsey never had any love for Memphis, and the feeling was always mutual. Yet, Sen. Lee Harris of Memphis, the Senate minority leader and one of only five Democrats left in the upper chamber, called Ramsey “a true statesman and, really, a role model on authenticity in public life.”

High praise for sure, and politically expedient as well.

The truth is, Ramsey has been a powerful and effective leader for the causes in which he believes, from anti-abortion to pro-guns. To his credit, he opposed the effort to allow people to go armed in public even without a handgun-carry permit. But once the straight shooter from Blountville in upper East Tennessee brings down the gavel on his last session, he will leave a legislature that is arguably more conservative and less compromising than even he imagined.

It is also a legislature that often is out of control. That creates a challenge for Ramsey’s successor, particularly if it’s Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville.

For the moment, Norris is not talking about his interest in the job. But he has to be considered a leading candidate. The problem is, I don’t believe that Norris, deep down, is nearly as conservative as many of his legislative colleagues. Plus, he lives in Shelby County and, as far as I know, has not sworn a blood oath to hate Memphis.

That alone may disqualify him for the job. But that’s a topic for another day. Right now, it’s appropriate to pay homage to Speaker Ramsey, who more than anyone set the tone for right-wing conservative politics to thrive in Tennessee for years to come.
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Ramsey moves to exempt Kingsport from de-annexation

One of the five cities still included in a controversial municipal de-annexation bill may get a reprieve courtesy of the Senate’s most powerful member, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey has filed an amendment that would remove Kingsport from the bill, which allows residents of areas annexed into five Tennessee towns and cities since 1998 to petition and then vote to de-annex their areas from their cities. Kingsport is in Ramsey’s Northeast Tennessee district. Another city nearby but not in his district — Johnson City — was amended out just before the bill passed the House of Representatives last Monday.
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Sunday column: On Ramsey’s retirement

Tennessee’s lieutenant governors, who under our state constitution hold the position by virtue of being elected as speaker of the state Senate, have always been addressed simply as “governor” — certainly not “lieutenant” and generally not even “speaker” — except when formally presiding over Senate debate.

Ron Ramsey has not been as adamant about the label as his predecessor, the late John Wilder, but has embraced the inherent concept incorporated within the labeling — that the person holding that office is equal to the state’s chief executive in Tennessee’s power structure.

Ramsey, who announced his political retirement last week, did more to make that concept reality than anyone since the 1960s senatorial rebellion against the then-established tradition of letting the governor dictate who would be elected lieutenant governor.
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McNally emerging as likely Ramsey successor?

Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson, previously named as a prospective successor to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey as Senate speaker, tells Andrea Zelinski he would step aside in favor of Sen. Randy McNally, the legislature’s most senior member. And McNally is definitely running.

With a 38-year tenure in the legislature, McNally, 72, doesn’t face re-election until 2018. His longevity is a stat political insiders say could make his ascent to the Senate speakership a smooth transition following Ramsey’s expected departure next year.

“I know I’m not a Ron Ramsey. He’s a good friend. I probably see myself as more of a transition-type person. This will probably be the last thing I do in politics,” he told the Post. “I’m not going to be running for anything else. This is sort of the last hurrah.”

At max, McNally said he has one more term in him, “not a couple. Maybe one more.” His short tenure would pave the way for a replacement in a few years.

“Sen. McNally is our longest-serving member,” said Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, the Senate speaker pro tempore and another hopeful for the speaker’s gavel. “He’s played a multiple number of roles for our caucus, and in many ways, he’s earned what I would consider to be the right of first refusal.”

Watson is one of several expected contenders for the prestigious top job. Others include Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and Commerce and Insurance Committee Chairman Jack Johnson, R-Franklin.

…McNally’s election to Senate speaker would open up a powerful position on the Senate Finance Ways and Means Committee. Watson, first vice chair of the committee, could then slide over to the chairman’s position and potentially ready himself for a future run for speaker, sources say.

Asked about the strategy, Watson laughed. “I don’t know about a plan,” he said.

“In terms of what that would mean to everybody else, I don’t know. What I will say is, if Chairman McNally chooses to run for speaker, I would support that effort because he’s earned it. He’s earned that right,” said Watson.

…Ketron, a recent cancer survivor, said he’s also interested in the post. “Between now and December there will be a lot of — let the games begin, a lot of jockeying for position.”

He added: “I’ve had some encouragement, texts already today, so we’ll consider it… I’ve been through a journey these last few months. I know God got me through that for a purpose, so we’ll see what he has in store for me. I’ll let him lead me.”

Other potential candidates have declined to say whether they planned to contend for the speakership, saying it was too soon to begin talking about that prospect. However, none would rule it out.

Five prospective Ramsey successors quickly emerge

Speculation has begun on who will succeed the retiring Ron Ramsey as speaker of the state Senate and lieutenant governor, a position filled by a vote among state senators after the November election.

From the Times-Free Press:

One lobbyist said it could become a “bloody” fight as would-be successors vie for the post and various GOP factions and possibly even regional loyalties come into play.

Among those whose names are being bandied about are Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson, R-Hixson, a close and trusted friend of the speaker, whom Ramsey appointed to the post.

Also mentioned are Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collerville; Senate Commerce Chairman Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, and Finance Chairman Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge.

Asked whether he would run, Watson demurred, saying Ramsey is “still speaker. He’s still speaker until we adjourn.”

Norris told reporters, “I want to make sure there’s a smooth transition and a continuation of strong leadership. I’m thinking about it, sure, but Ron Ramsey is the lieutenant governor and speaker until he’s not.”

McNally, like Watson, said he preferred to talk about Ramsey and not a potential bid to replace him. But some Republicans are quietly talking up McNally as a potential candidate who might serve as a transitional figure and serve one two-year term as speaker.

The Tennessean adds one name to the above list — Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro — and has “bio box” profiles of the five men HERE.