At least 18 donors to U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais have pledged money, support or both to the congressman’s opponent, adding to a growing list of defections amid personal scandals and political fallout, according to the Chattanooga TFP. Along with 25 state legislators, the 18 DesJarlais donors publicly have endorsed state Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, in the 2014 Republican primary for the 4th District. Tracy is the only candidate so far to challenge the Jasper, Tenn., physician, whose re-election campaign and victory celebration were rocked by revelations from his long-ago divorce.
“I was not aware they’d given to DesJarlais,” Tracy said in a recent interview. “I didn’t go back and check, to be honest with you. I just called people.”
Interviews with donors established a common dichotomy: public praise for Tracy and private disappointment in DesJarlais. The former supporters simply don’t see their congressman the same way after salacious revelations spurred ethics complaints and a collective cold shoulder from current and former Republican officials,
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced an executive order to change the management and oversight of state drug court programs as part of his administration’s ongoing effort to increase government efficiency and effectiveness.
Executive Order No. 12 transfers the drug court programs from the Department of Finance and Administration (F&A) to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) effective July 1, 2012.
TDMHSAS oversees the licensing and funding for indigent Tennesseans needing substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. The transfer of the drug courts to TDMHSAS will lessen duplication of effort and align with the department’s role as the substance abuse authority in the state.
“Management and oversight of Tennessee’s drug court programs are consistent with the focus of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and we believe it makes more sense for the department to manage these programs,” Haslam said.
Drug courts were established as an alternative to jails and prisons and are designed to foster recovery. For many arrested on drug-related offenses, prison is not the answer, and research has shown treatment costs are lower than costs associated with incarceration.
Drug courts refer clients to substance abuse community agencies that provide intervention and treatment services, which are funded, contracted and licensed by TDMHSAS. The department and the Office of Criminal Justice Services in F&A have had discussions about transitioning the programs and are prepared for a smooth transition.
“We are facing a major prescription drug problem in our state,” TDMHSAS Commissioner Doug Varney said. “We need to focus all of our resources in the most efficient, effective and collaborative way to maximize our impact on this issue and drug abuse overall.”
Drug court activities are also closely aligned with other programs currently overseen by TDMHSAS. For additional information about Tennessee’s drug court programs or other mental health and substance abuse programs please contact TDMHSAS’ Office of Communications at (615) 253-4812 or visit www.tn.gov/mental.
Gov. Bill Haslam declares that he is successfully presiding over a “cultural shift” in Tennessee’s government operations and the state’s education system, though occasionally dealing with a “perception factor” caused by inordinate media attention to some legislative activities.
His own relationship to the Legislature, dominated by fellow Republicans, is marked by a general unity of purpose and broad support on substantive issues, Haslam said in an interview last week. He discounts talk of a conservative-moderate split in Republican ranks.
“I honestly think that’s exaggerated. I really do,” he said, though acknowledging that “Any time you have a party that has the majorities Republicans do now, you’re going have times when there are people who are not in agreement.”
The governor issued his first veto during the recently completed legislative session, blocking a bill aimed at overturning a Vanderbilt University policy that Republican sponsors saw as discriminating against campus religious groups. He also refused to sign two measures, one a bill that would protect teachers from discipline if they talk about creationism in the classroom and the other a resolution condemning United Nations Agenda 21.