Tag Archives: travis

AP: DCS Has Trouble Keeping Up With Kids Dying in State Custody

By Travis Loller, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — At its most basic level, the job of child welfare agencies is to keep children alive. Recently, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has had trouble keeping track of how many children died in its custody.
The disarray in the department’s records revealed in two court proceedings has child advocates wondering whether the agency’s clerical and administrative troubles could be putting children in jeopardy.
“The big picture here is that the state has to have a way to accurately track all child deaths and DCS needs a process for investigating all child deaths thoroughly. We learned recently that they don’t have either,” said Ira Lustbader, associate director of the advocacy group Children’s Rights, which works with independent monitors to keep track of how well DCS cares for foster children.
Tennessee taxpayers know next to nothing about what DCS does. Officials have for years refused to comment about how they handle cases of abuse or neglect, claiming confidentiality even after children died. What little is known has come from heavily redacted files that news organizations, including The Associated Press, have obtained under public records requests and by court order. Those requests have centered on getting information about 200 DCS investigations of abuse and neglect reports of children who later died or were seriously injured between 2009 and last year.

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Cobb Denies Campaign Sign Assault

An investigation is under way into a complaint against Tennessee House District 31 Rep. Jim Cobb, who is accused of getting into a disagreement with a woman at a polling place on election night, according to the Chattanooga TFP.
The woman who filed the complaint said she confronted Cobb Thursday after he knocked down a campaign sign for Ron Travis, Cobb’s opponent in the GOP primary.
Mike Taylor, district attorney in the 12th Judicial District where Rhea County is located, confirmed the incident is under investigation as a possible assault. He said he is unsure whether an assault occurred or how the sign for Travis, who defeated Cobb, was knocked over.
“My understanding was that the person who made the complaint was out at one of the polling places, holding a sign for Travis,” Taylor said. “There was some kind of action that occurred, and the sign got kicked over.”
Jeff Knight, spokesman for the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a complaint has been filed against Cobb, but declined to confirm any details because of the ongoing investigation.
…Cobb said Tuesday that the complaint is “fabricated.”
“I take no offense to what she said, but it’s not true,” he said.
He said he and the woman spoke on election night after he brushed up against a Travis campaign sign, but “not enough to knock it down, just barely enough to make it wiggle,” and the woman approached him.

Cobb Appears 7th Incumbent Republican to Lose

According to final unofficial returns on the Division of Election website, it appears Rep. Jim Cobb of Spring City has become the seventh incumbent Republican to lose in Thursday’s primaries.
His challenger, Ron Travis, an insurance agent, is shown with 4,357 votes while Cobb had 4,252.
The race had considerable controversy — including Rhea County’s election administrator declaring an organized Democratic crossover vote was aimed at helping Travis win.

House Districct 31, Cobb V. Travis, is Bitterly Contested

The latest development in the bitterly contested state House District 31 GOP primary is that incumbent Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, and Republican challenger Ron Travis, of Dayton, really do agree on some things, reports Action Andy Sher.
Both men have reservations about school vouchers, and both say they back anti-abortion legislation.
Beyond that, though, all bets are off in a contest that has attracted statewide attention. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is probing challenges by election officials of Democrats and other voters who are trying to vote in the Republican primary, which can be done if certain criteria are met.
The Rhea County Herald-News recently reported that, since 1996, Cobb has voted in one Democratic primary while Travis has voted in two.
The winner of Thursday’s GOP primary will be the next representative because no Democrat is running.
Cobb has accused Travis of being more of a Democrat than a Republican, saying he voted at least twice in Democratic primaries. He charged that Travis and his supporters hatched a plot “to get as many Democrats as possible to vote in the Republican primary.”
Citing his six years of experience in the Legislature, Cobb said electing Travis would be a “waste of time for a guy I believe really is not a conservative.”
Cobb has said repeatedly he has not been part of the GOP voting challenges.
Travis, 57, said he’s been a Republican since he was 18, although acknowledging he never has voted for Cobb, 61, who’s now seeking a fourth term.
“I’ve never put much faith in Jim Cobb,” said Travis, who calls himself a conservative. “I don’t like him representing me. I don’t think he does anything for us other than naming some roads for people and a dog-restraint bill. He couldn’t even get a second on it.”

TBI Investigating Rhea County Voter Rejections

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed Wednesday that it has launched a probe into whether Rhea County election officials illegally blocked voters believed to be Democrats from voting in the Republican primary election.
Theresa Snyder, the county election administrator, said she and other officials did nothing wrong and were following state law. They took an active stance to block known Democrats from voting in the GOP primary because of an orchestrated campaign for crossover voting in the House District 31 primary, she said.
Snyder said some Democrats are openly supporting Ron Travis, who is challenging state Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, for the seat. The county Democratic chairman, Doris Roy, said there is no orchestrated campaign and that she has heard from Democrats who intend to vote for Cobb as well as some saying they prefer Travis.
“I am staying out of it,” Roy said. “I just tell everybody to vote their conscience.”
There is no Democrat seeking the office, so the election will effectively be decided in the Aug. 2 primary. Early voting in the primary began July 13 and continues through Saturday.
Ten voters with a history of voting in Democratic primaries have been challenged, Snyder said, including Maxine Vincent, wife of Dayton Mayor Bob Vincent. Nine, including Vincent, were declared ineligible to vote by a three-member Republican panel, she said. In the remaining case, the judges decided the woman in question was eligible.

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A Game of ‘Who’s a Republican?’ in House District 31

The question of who’s a Republican and who’s not has become a major issue in the Tennessee House District 31 GOP primary, reports Action Andy.
Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, faces opponent Ron Travis, of Dayton, in the race and, last week, Rhea County Republican election officials challenged as many as 30 would-be GOP primary voters on grounds they were Democrats and not “bona fide” Republicans.
Now Cobb is charging that Travis himself is little more than a Democrat in disguise.
Travis, an insurance agency owner, said he has considered himself a Republican since he began voting.
“Let me tell you, I am a Republican. I have been a Republican since I was 18 years old. I choose the Republican Party. I have voted in Democratic primaries in the past. I have voted for the person.”
He acknowledged he has “voted for the person” and said he has never voted for Cobb because he doesn’t think the state representative has done a good job.
…Cobb said he’s “staying completely away” from the challenges.
“I have told people I’m certainly not going to participate in enforcing a challenge,” he said. “As many Democrats would vote for me as for [Travis].”
Stopping short of accusing Cobb of being behind the move, Travis said he understands 25 to 30 people have been challenged in the GOP primary. But, he said, he is told that Republican election officials are letting “some people of the Democrat persuasion through. … I don’t know how they’re determining it.”
That raises questions, he said. No Democrat is running and the GOP candidate will become the next representative. Given that, there is natural interest among Democrats to cross over, Travis said.
“I’ve had people say this is the worst feeling in the world where they say they can’t vote,” Travis said.

“I’ve never put much faith in Jim Cobb,” he said. “I don’t like him representing me. I just don’t think he does anything for us.”
Cobb, a TVA retiree seeking a fourth term, said Travis has voted in Democratic primaries at least twice in the past four election cycles.
“His voting record and his entire past reflects a Democrat leaning,” Cobb said, adding that the district leans Republican, making it “very hard” for a Democrat to run and win.
“So this idea of running on the Republican ticket was a plan started before the filing deadline,” Cobb continued. “The plan is to get as many Democrats as possible to vote in the Republican primary.”
Still, Cobb said he isn’t behind the challenges of some would-be GOP primary voters by Rhea County Administrator of Elections Theresa Snyder and other Republicans.
Tennessee primaries are open — the state has no registration by party — but crossover efforts can be challenged if the voter is not a “bona fide” party member. A voter also can take an oath declaring allegiance to a party when the person wishes to cast a ballot in a specific primary.

In Southeast TN, GOP Incumbents Have Big Money Edge

Andy Sher reviews fundraising in six Southeast Tennessee House Republican primary contests, finding incumbents had about a 3-to-1 money advantage over challengers in the second quarter — and a huge 20-to-1 leg up over primary or general election opponents.

The fundraising percentages would have been even more lopsided except for a lively Republican primary in the 31st Legislative District where Ron Travis, a Dayton businessman, raised $28,398 in his challenge to Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City.
Cobb reported raising $2,625 in the second quarter, but because of previous fundraising he had far more cash on hand than Travis. Cobb reported spending $30,709 but still had $34,232 on hand as of June 30.
Travis reported spending $25,712.85 and had a balance of $5,451 at the end of the reporting period. He said he feels “very good” about what he’s accomplished.
“I really didn’t think I would have come close to that when the race started,” Travis said. He said support has been “huge” and added, “People have just bought into the campaign. People are looking for change.”
Efforts to reach Cobb on Saturday were unsuccessful, but the lawmaker recently said he feels good about the contest and has been working hard. No Democrat is running in the district, which was significantly redrawn during legislative redistricting this year.
…Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, faces Basil Marceaux Sr. in the House District 27 GOP primary.
A perennial candidate, Marceaux’s 2010 gubernatorial bid and his unconventional views in areas ranging from traffic stops (he thinks they’re illegal) to banning gold fringes on American flags sent national political satirists and liberal bloggers into a collective swoon.
Marceaux, who likes to refer to himself as Basil Marceaux Dot Com, reported raising nothing in his latest outing. Floyd raised $2,800, spent $990 and had $22,192 in cash on June. 30.
…In Cleveland, Tenn., Baptist pastor Jack Epperson is challenging Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, in the Republican primary for House District 22. Epperson loaned his campaign $5,622 and spent the same as of June 30, his filing shows.
Brooks, the assistant House majority leader, reported $47,075 in contributions, expenditures of $12,828 and an ending balance of $49,135. No Democrat is running in the heavily Republican district.
Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, faces David Kimbro in the House District 22 GOP primary. Watson raised $20,529, spent $23,564 and had a cash balance of $65,603. Kimbro raised and spent nothing and reported a zero balance.