Tag Archives: White

House District 69: Shepard vs. White

The task ahead of state Rep. David Shepard does not look easy, says Chas Sisk, who states the task as: How do you win an election when your party’s standard-bearer could lose as much as 60 percent of the vote in the district you’re trying to win?
Shepard, a Democrat from Dickson, says the answer is to convince voters that he is a bipartisan lawmaker with a strong record on constituent services.
“People know I’m available, accessible, that I listen to people,” said the 65-year-old pharmacy owner. “I think people generally like me.”
Shepard will try to hang on as one of the few remaining Democrats from rural Tennessee in the state House of Representatives, in a rematch with Republican Wayne White for the House District 69 seat.
Once the state’s dominant political force — especially in Middle and West Tennessee — rural Democrats have seen their ranks thin to 10 members in the House, making them a minority within the minority party. Unless Democrats can find a way to reverse the trend, they have little chance of regaining their footing in Tennessee.
…White, a 54-year-old amusement company owner from Slayden, said the difference in party is the main factor separating the two candidates.
“It’s not that he’s a bad guy,” White said. “We just think differently on some things.”
Kenneth Buser, an independent, is also running for the seat. He did not respond to interview requests.
Shepard appears to retain the edge. In redistricting earlier this year, Republicans moved several Dickson County precincts that White had won in 2010 into the neighboring House District 78, shoring up their strength there. In place of those precincts, the GOP moved several Democratic-leaning precincts in Maury County into House District 69.

Debating ‘Obamacare’ in a state House Race

The partisan divide on Obamacare showed up in a debate between state legislative candidates Dawn White, a Republican opposed to the federal law, and Robert “Bob” New, a Democrat who supports the act, according to the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.
The two are competing to serve in the Tennessee House of Representatives 37th District in the upcoming Nov. 6 presidential election that starts with early voting Wednesday. The two exchanged views on health care, taxes, jobs, education and other issues during a 45-minute debate organized by the League of Women Voters Murfreesboro/Rutherford County at Murfreesboro’s City Hall.
While White sees Obamacare as a law that is killing jobs and economic development in Tennessee, New contends the Affordable Care Act is leading to more jobs in a state with a large healthcare industry, such as the way Hospital Corporation of America recently announced it was adding 2,000 jobs in Nashville.
“Any time people have health insurance, it’s good for the healthcare business,” said New, who has a 37-year background as a registered nurse. “Insurance reform is good for Tennessee. It will add jobs in Tennessee.”

On House District 37: New vs. White

Democratic House candidate Robert “Bob” New knows he’s been out-funded by Republican Dawn White in their race for the new 37th House seat in Rutherford County, but he’s forging ahead anyway.
From the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal:
“We’re working. We’re not conceding anything,” New said, adding he believes he has enough money to run a good campaign but needs more volunteers to go to work for him.
Though she out-raised New $29,800 to $4,400 during the second quarter, according to information filed with the state Registry of Election Finance, White said she isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I am continuing to attend as many community events as I can and am knocking on doors to meet as many residents of the district as I can possibly meet,” White said.
Jobs and education are the main campaign platform for New and White, who steamrolled Smyrna resident Richard Garvin in the Republican primary. But they have very different outlooks on both issues, in addition to health care.

White Supremacists Plan Conference in TN

A Caucasian heritage and $75 are the price of entry into next week’s international conference for white supremacists in East Tennessee organized by Stormfront, the oldest and best-known website devoted to the “white pride, white power” movement, reports The Tennessean.
Like a Facebook for white supremacists, Stormfront is the virtual gathering space for like-minded people to meet, post and respond to messages, tell jokes and offer political commentary in a variety of labeled discussion groups that range from “fighting white genocide” to poetry.
The Tennessee conference represents a rare offline gathering for Stormfront members. The two-day agenda includes a luncheon and workshops on immigration, political organizing and communications by some of the movement’s best-known contemporary leaders.

(The exact location of the conference isn’t announced until shortly before it opens, the story says, but apparently it will be in the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge area with attendance limited to 150.)

Sunday Column: On Tennessee’s Endangered White Democrats

In our state’s most populous county, Shelby, Republican-controlled redistricting this year left legislative Democratic incumbents — one black, one white — to run against each other in two state House districts. In both cases, the black incumbent won on Aug. 2.
As Otis Sanford observed in a recent Commercial Appeal column, this has left white Democratic state legislators an endangered species in the Memphis area. There’s only one now — Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, who was left by redistricting to run in the Democratic primary against an incumbent colleague, Sen. Beverley Marrero, who is also white.
White Democrats are otherwise endangered in Legislatorland, not because of competition with black Democrats, but because of competition with white Republicans. Or noncompetition in some cases, as with the retirement of Rep. Bill Harmon, D-Dunlap, who will be replaced by a white Republican since no Democrat of any race, creed or color ran for his seat.
There’s at least a chance that, after the November election, there will be no white Democratic state representative representing any county in East Tennessee and only one senator — Charlotte Burks, who lives in Middle Tennessee’s Putnam County but who also represents Cumberland County after redistricting.

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White Democrats an ‘Endangered Species’ in TN?

Otis Sanford has some observations – from himself and others – on ” the near-complete demise of white, moderate-to-liberal Democrats from Memphis in the Tennessee legislature” as illustrated by the Aug. 2 primary elections.
As a side note, it’s fair to say that white Democrats are disappearing elsewhere – though not because of a voter preference for black candidates. Consider, for starters, the retirement of Rep. Bill Harmon, D-Dunlap, with no Democrat on the ballot to succeed him in November. Republicans are also sure to be targeting the seat vacated by Rep. Harry Tindell, D-Knoxville, and appear to have an edge, thanks to redistricting, in the Senate District 10 seat vacated by Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga.
An excerpt from Sanford’s column:

Thanks to Republican-led state legislative redistricting this year, white Democratic Reps. Mike Kernell and Jeanne Richardson were forced into the same districts with African-American incumbent Reps. G.A. Hardaway and John DeBerry. Kernell and Richardson both lost.
And in a forced state Senate race between incumbent Democrats Beverly Marrero and Jim Kyle, Marrero lost. Which means that when the next Tennessee General Assembly convenes in January, every Democratic House member from Memphis will be African-American, and Kyle will be the only white Memphis Democrat in the Senate.
It is a watershed moment in local politics. And in a broader sense, it reflects the changing demographics of Memphis and the ever-growing racial polarization of the electorate in the county. In other words, what some people have been saying for years is now virtually true — in Shelby County, Democrat and Republican are mere code words for black and white.
“It does seem that liberal white Democrats are an endangered species,” said longtime Memphis Democrat Mike Cody. “The (political) game has been taken away from them on the state level.”
What Cody and others who agree with him mean by that is that population shifts in Memphis and the GOP-controlled legislative redistricting have created a scenario where it will be extremely difficult for a white Democrat — other than Kyle for the moment — to get elected to House and Senate seats.

On Democrats Competing to Challenge Rep. Vince Dean (House 30)

Democrats running in their party’s state House District 30 primary say they’re in the contest in part because of concerns over where the Republican-led General Assembly is taking Tennessee, reports Andy Sher.
Brock Bennington, Sandy Smith and Brian White of East Ridge are vying for their party’s nomination in the Aug. 2 primary. They acknowledge that whoever wins will face an uphill fight to unseat Republican Rep. Vince Dean, also of East Ridge, in November.
…They said their focus will be on promoting public education and jobs-related efforts zeroing in on the district, which includes East Ridge, East Lake, East Brainerd and part of Collegedale.
“We need to be looking at real issues and not the evolution bill or the ‘gateway sexual activity’ bill,” said Smith, a retired Hamilton County teacher, calling those types of issues “red herrings.”
“I just feel we have so many more important things to deal with.”
Bennington, a private investigator for a local law firm, took aim at the 2012 “evolution” law that proponents said was needed to provide a framework to protect public school teachers who address controversies over theories like evolution and climate change.
“To me it’s a waste of our tax dollars [spending hours] debating the issue in committees,” Bennington said. “It just made us a laughingstock when corporations are looking at moving here.”
But Benningston, Smith and White all said they are conservative enough to appeal to voters in the general election. All said they support a controversial guns-in-parking lots bill that would prevent employers and others from barring handgun-carry permit holders’ ability to store weapons in their vehicles on private or public lots.
Smith, however, said schools should be excluded while White said he thinks it shouldn’t apply to universities.
White, who worked as a security guard but said he is now at home caring for his elderly father, also took issue with Dean’s support of two laws, which he contends are Dean’s main achievements. One allowed businesses in East Ridge to sell fireworks and the other bans motorcyclists from popping wheelies.
“There’s a lot of injuries” associated with fireworks, White said. “A lot of elderly people don’t like the noise. I don’t like the noise.”

On a House District 3 Forum

Three Tennessee 3rd House District GOP candidates addressed jobs, tourism and K-12 education during a Bristol Chamber of Commerce forum Thursday night, reports Hank Hayes.
Blountville businessman Timothy Hill, former Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons and Bluff City Republican Thomas White fielded questions drawn from a glass bowl during the event held at Bristol Motor Speedway.
All three are seeking to win the Aug. 2 GOP primary, defeat Democrat Leah Kirk in the November general election, and take the state House seat held by retiring state Rep. Scotty Campbell, R-Mountain City.
When asked how they would strengthen K-12 education, Parsons indicated he favored tying teacher pay to performance.
“I think more needs to be looked at in what the teachers are actually producing,” Parsons explained.
White said the state needs to attract higher quality teachers.
“They should shine like a new penny. … Unfortunately we can’t afford to pay for that,” he said.
Then White changed the subject to talk against red light traffic cameras.
“In 2008, all the Democrats and all the Republicans decided we needed red light cameras. … Then during election time in 2010, the same fellows that made the law decided someone had implemented a bad law and wanted to get to the bottom of it. … I thought that since this is an election year, they would want to look at it again. … To me, it’s still a major issue,” White said.
Hill stuck to the K-12 question and said lawmakers need to continue to look at teacher evaluations.
“We’ve got to look at bold ideas where the money is sent with where the children go (to school),” Hill said. “We don’t need to be afraid to look at those types of options. … We need to look at vocational training. … A university education is not for everybody.”

A Report from House District 37 (Rutherford open seat)

Republican candidates for the newly-created 37th House seat both tout a background in education and the private sector as they campaign for the post, reports the Daily News Journal.
In fact, Smyrna resident Richard Garvin and his wife, Natara, met at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark., before he finally persuaded her to marry him. Now, he’s a professor at Fisk University in Nashville, in addition to office manager of Star Medical Group in Smyrna, and she is director of Career Development and Leadership at Fisk.
Natara supports him “fully” in his House campaign, calling it a step in the right direction that dovetails with his other community service. Garvin served on the Smyrna Planning Commission for two years and is still on the Smyrna Historic Zoning Commission.
…At age 27, he identifies with people in their late 20s and early 30s who are starting to pay more attention to the world of politics, she said.
His opponent, Dawn White, of Murfreesboro, a former Murfreesboro City Schools teacher who entered the business world, understands the point of view of teachers and small business owners. She wants government to get out of the way of business and to let teachers spend more time on children and less on evaluations.
Like Garvin, she serves on numerous boards such as CASA of Rutherford County, Read to Succeed and the Sam Davis Memorial Association and believes a seat in the state House would be the next step in public service
.

Hill Trying Again in House District 3 GOP Primany

From Hank Hayes comes this report on the race in state House District 3:
Timothy Hill has been down this road before.
Hill, a Blountville businessman and former press secretary for ex-U.S. Rep. David Davis, looked like the front-runner to win the GOP primary for Tennessee’s 3rd House District seat two years ago.
Hill, the brother of GOP state Rep. Matthew Hill of Jonesborough, had name recognition in Sullivan County, a number of campaign donors, and a conservative message to go with his candidacy.
But Mountain City Republican Scotty Campbell’s base of Johnson County voters in the district showed up in droves, and Hill came in second to Campbell after splitting the rest of the primary vote with five other candidates. Campbell, a former legislative aide to ex-House Speaker Kent Williams of Elizabethton, easily defeated Democrat Joe Mike Akard and two independents in the November 2010 general election.
After one term, Campbell isn’t seeking re-election, and Hill is again seeking the seat.
And now Hill is facing another GOP candidate with considerable Johnson County name recognition — former Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons. Also in the primary race are Karen Greene Morrell and Lee White, both of Bluff City.

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