News release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey:
NASHVILLE – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey today announced the appointment of Kristi Pruitt Stanley to the Tennessee Economic Council on Women.
“Kristi Stanley is the kind of strong conservative woman who will make a positive impact on the economic lives of Tennessee women,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “Her experience as an advocate on behalf of those who create jobs gives Kristi a keen insight into how women can become empowered economically. I look forward to her contributions on the council and I applaud her willingness to serve Tennessee.”
A longtime director of government affairs for the Memphis Area Home Builders, Stanley has worked for two Tennessee Congressman, Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Stephen Fincher as well as the Shelby County Trustee. Stanley is currently a government affairs specialist for Caissa Public Strategy in Memphis.
“I’m grateful to Lt. Governor Ramsey for offering me the opportunity to serve our state,” said Stanley. “I look forward to getting to work on behalf of women across the grand divisions of Tennessee.”
The Tennessee Economic Council on Women is a state agency created under TCA § 4-50-100 in 1998 to assess economic status of Tennessee women. The Council’s mission is to develop and advocate for solutions to help women achieve financial independence and economic autonomy.
Note: Betsy Phillips offers some commentary on the appointment.
Politico has a story on four former politicians who left office after sex scandals and the lessons they learned. One is former Tennessee state Sen. Paul Stanley.
Stanley, 49, served in the Tennessee state Senate from 2006 to 2009 before resigning after news of his affair with his 22-year-old intern broke. A week after the two ended what Stanley describes as a “purely sexual” and very brief “fling,” the intern’s boyfriend attempted to extort $10,000 from him by threatening to turn over pictures of the two to the press. Hours later, Stanley reported the incident to law enforcement and the intern’s boyfriend was arrested. Stanley told his wife about the affair the next day, but the story about the Tennessee legislator didn’t hit the news until four months later. The Republican lawmaker resigned his seat on Aug. 10, 2009.
The now-divorced father of two children, ages 12 and 8, is a writer living in Savannah, Tenn., his hometown. Stanley works as the politics editor for The Christian Post and is writing a memoir tentatively titled, “The Extortion of Forgiveness.” He is a born-again evangelical Christian and was at the time of the affair as well.
“You need to be honest with yourself. You know what you’ve done. You know what happened. Go to the ones you love… and tell the truth. When you do that, tell the entire truth. Don’t parcel it out, just tell it and ask for their forgiveness. When it becomes public, you’ve got to repent to God first. And then you need to genuinely say you’re sorry. Let me emphasize the word genuine. People will smoke you out in a heartbeat if your apology is superficial. They’re probably going to be disappointed in you, which they should, but the vast majority of them will forgive you.”
“I knew it was the best thing for my family at the time [for me to resign]. And without a doubt, without any question, I had been gone a lot as a politician. Politicians aren’t home a lot. For the next nine months, I was able to develop a very deep relationship with both my children… It’s made me a better person. I’ve told God on a number of occasions, I’d certainly like to go rewrite the ending, but he took me out of there the way he did and he did that for my own good. It wasn’t the way I would’ve liked to go out, but it was the right thing to have happened to me at the time.”
“My affairs were purely sexual. There was no emotion in them. … There need to be some ground rules in relationships — you don’t ever need to be alone with someone of the opposite sex after 5 p.m. or after business hours. There’s nothing good that can come of it.”
“Far too often politicians get thrown off course with people telling them how great they are, how wonderful they are. Even if you disagree with them, you’re complimenting them to get what you want. … You would think I would have learned from other people’s stories and other politicians from my story. … As you rise through political rings, more people pay attention to you and pay you compliments, accolades, and you have more power to control legislation. A lot of times, where there are females who are showing you that attention, you have to be very careful and have ground rules.”
“The No. 1 thing, and this is what threw me off, my spouse and I grew apart over time, and we didn’t deal with the issues when they occurred. That put me in a position where I was extremely vulnerable. I was a big boy and knew exactly what I was doing, but it put me in a place when I had more authority and more perceived power and I was getting attention — that was something that wasn’t good for me.”
SAVANNAH, Tenn. (AP) — A former state senator from Tennessee says the scandal that drove him from office and cost him his marriage is a fall he must live with, but he has moved on.
Paul Stanley’s affair with a legislative intern and a subsequent extortion attempt erupted in the summer of 2009.
The former conservative Republican lawmaker from the Memphis suburb of Germantown told WMC-TV he isn’t a person who went after interns, but conceded he knew he was going to have an affair with 22-year-old McKensie Morrison as soon as he saw her (http://bit.ly/vDMOvb).
Stanley now lives in Franklin and is the political editor of an online publication, The Christian Post.
Stanley has also written a book, “The Extortion of Forgiveness,” which is set for release next year.
Note: He’s also got a blog, link HERE.
In a lengthy blog post, Paul Stanley suggests that he was “set up” in the sexual scandal that led to his resignation as a state senator and which led, this week, to a guilty plea from Joel Watts to a felony charge. The sentence, Stanley says, was a year on probation.
Watts was a boyfriend of McKensie Morrison, the legislative intern who acknowledged a sexual relationship with the then-senator. He was charged with extortion for allegedly demanding $10,000 from Stanley to keep quiet about the relationship.
An excerpt from Stanley’s blog:
Joel Watts was indicted by a grand jury in the winter of 2010 and charged with Extortion, a Class D felony under Tennessee law. Yesterday, he pled guilty to “Facilitation of Extortion”, a Class E felony. He received a sentence of one-year probation. I did not attend the hearing; I trusted the Assistant District Attorney to handle the matter as he and his office best saw fit. Yet the story doesn’t end there.
In a statement read before the court, Joel Watts admitted acting under the direction of McKensie Morrison. I had no idea the statement would be included in the court record. In my heart, I had known this was the case from the moment I received the first text message from Watts on the morning of April 8, 2009.
Watts and Morrison are apparently still together. I’ve been told he is living in a structure behind her house, getting his electricity from an extension cord. If true, I find that both odd and sad. I hope he can successfully move on with his life.
It is my understanding from others intimately connected to the case, that Morrison and Watts indicated they did not act alone. Was there someone within or connected to the state legislature that was financially encouraging and strategically helping Morrison and Watts develop their plan? That is difficult for me to wrap my mind around. I certainly hope not and if true, I would prefer not to know.
People ask me lots of questions about the issue, one of the most common being, “Do you believe you were set up?” Even my former spouse feels she knows the answer to this question. We talked about it as recently as last weekend. Until now I have only discussed the issue with close friends and family. In one sense it does not matter because the outcome is still the same. However, in McKensie Morrison’s first interview after the Watts’ arrest, she denied having any knowledge of the extortion attempt; contradicting Watts’ initial statement to investigators after the arrest and the statement read in court.
(Hat tip: J.R. Lind)