Monthly Archives: May 2017

Randy Boyd gets endorsement for governor from 22 East TN county mayors

News release from Randy Boyd campaign

Nashville, TN —  Randy Boyd announced today that nearly two dozen County Mayors from across East Tennessee have endorsed and are already working in support of his Republican campaign for Governor.  Boyd is the only gubernatorial candidate from East Tennessee. More than 40 percent of the projected 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary vote is expected to come from East Tennessee.
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United TN delegation finally gets Nashville courthouse named after the late Sen. Fred Thompson

Legislation naming a new federal courthouse in honor of the late Sen. Fred Thompson failed to pass Congress last year – perhaps one of the most notable bipartisan flops of the session for the Tennessee delegation to Congress. It passed the House, but the Senate where Thompson served never got around to voting on it, despite support from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. (Previous post HERE.)

The Tennessee delegation came back with the proposal again this year and declared success Wednesday. Here’s the bipartisan, collective press release, interestingly themed on asking President Trump to sign the bill (a veto, one suspects, is rather unlikely):

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TVA to cut spending, employees under Trump budget plan

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s preliminary budget plan for fiscal 2018, unveiled Tuesday by the Trump White House,  projects the agency will trim its capital spending next year by $677 million, cut its operating expenses by $263 million and trim its staff by another 316 employees compared with the current year.

Further from the Times Free Press:

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Giannini part of new TN government/political consulting firm with Memphis as first client

Bill Giannini, a former deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance who unsuccessfully sought election as Tennessee Republican chairman in December, has launched a new consulting firm that, the Nashville Post reports, will “focus on efficient government and performance management” — not lobbying.

Called Resolve Consulting, the firm of the former Haslam appointee and his team will have a mix of public and private clients, with some political consulting on the side… Rachel Selbe is also a principal and the firm’s vice president. Selbe is a former program and policy development director for the state, and she served as an assistant general counsel for the state’s Regulatory Boards Division. Other employees include Emily Janney and Greer Kelly as strategic consultants and Kellee Mannix as a consultant and coach.

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New law bans condemning land through eminent domain for industrial parks

Legislation originated by a Jefferson County commissioner last year and signed by the governor last week will eliminate the use of eminent domain proceedings to take land for industrial parks.

The bill (SB1184) is the subject of a report in the Standard Banner of Jefferson City and a column in the News Sentinel by Frank Cagle. Excerpt from the latter:

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State revenue back on surplus track in April: $149K over budget estimate

News release from the Department of Finance and Administration

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  – Tennessee tax revenue exceeded budgeted estimates in April. Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin today announced that overall April revenues were $1.9 billion, which is $148.9 million more than the state budgeted.

“Total reported revenues in April reflect significant improvement over this time last year and were driven primarily by franchise and excise payments, sales tax receipts and business tax revenues,” Martin said.   “The Hall income tax posted a significant reduction from receipts received in April 2016 and was much less than budgeted expectations. All other tax revenues, taken as a group, were more than the April estimates.

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Guber campaign notes: Prayerful Green, Fitzhugh on the cliff; Boyd & Lee on the road

Some notes from media reports on the developing campaign for governor:

Sen. Mark Green in a Tennessean report, after saying he was encouraged by a letter signed by 106 “conservative leaders” urging him to resume his run for the GOP nomination and that he would make a decision within a week.

“I have heard forom these leaders and many others from all parts of Tennessee asking me to run as their conservative candidate for governor,” he said. “I am examining, prayerfully, with the input of friends and family, all of my options including resuming my campaign for governor.”

House Speaker Craig Fitzhugh, Democrat, quoted by the Nashville Post from a speech to the L Club in Nashville on Saturday following an introduction by millionaire businessman Bill Freeman (who said “he’s my candidate for governor, if he decides to run”):

“I think I’m ready to jump off a cliff,” Fitzhugh told the group to loud applause. “I might go splat, but I might also land on my feet.

Another quote: “We’ve been in session, and I got behind on some other things. But we’re out now. And I’ve got some other boxes to check off and some people I want to talk to,” Fitzhugh said. “But I’m moving in that direction. I’ve got a lot of good support, some good encouragement, and my family’s on board, so I’m just almost there.”

Announced Republican candidates Randy Boyd and Bill Lee, both millionaire businessmen, continue their introductory campaign travels through the state, getting some local media attention. Recent samples:

Boyd quote from visit to Dover in Stewart County, as reported by the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle:

“I want to complete some missions I started while special adviser on higher education and while I was commissioner of Economic and Community Development,” Boyd said on a recent campaign swing through Dover. “My goal is to make Tennessee THE State of Opportunity. … When you think of Tennessee, that’s the place you go for a better education, for an opportunity for a better job, an opportunity for everyone. They don’t leave anyone behind in Tennessee.”

Lee quote from visit to the Tri-Cities area, as reported by the Johnson City Press;

The cattle farmer, businessman and family man leads his campaign by letting people know he isn’t a politician, focusing on the fact that he is a native Tennessean with the people and state in mind.

“We have growing cities, a great small business climate and improving schools,” Lee said. “But we also face challenges shared by both our rural areas and inner cities — rising crime, persistent unemployment, increasing opioid abuse and families in turmoil. While we’ve made great strides across our state, we can’t leave these communities behind.”

Rick Perry visits Oak Ridge as Trump pushes cuts to Department of Energy budget

Newly appointed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry toured several labs at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex Monday, reports the News Sentinel. The former Texas governor rode around in 3D-printed vehicles and talked about President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts for the Department of Energy.

According to Science Magazine, Trump’s proposed budget would cut $900 million, some 17 percent, of the $5 billion budget for DOE’s Office of Science. And it would eliminate DOE’s roughly $300 million Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

“I know how to budget, I know how to manage and I know how to prioritize. Obviously what you see here, I happen to think is a high priority,” he said. “I have not been in the job long enough to go through line item by line item, but because the budgeting process is nigh upon us here, I’m doing my homework every day.

“Hopefully, we will be able to make that argument to our friends in Congress, that what DOE is involved with, particularly on the economic development side, plays a vital role not only in the security of America, but in the economic well-being of this country as we go forward,” he said.

Perry said the budgeting process was not his first rodeo, something ORNL Lab Director Thom Mason could relate to.

“I mean we’re an Office of Science lab, so if you reduce Office of Science budget by 17 percent we’re going to feel that … if that was the final answer I would be quite worried with how we would respond,” Mason said after the tour. “Having been through the budget process many, many times now I kind of recognize that you need to let things play out.”

Perry agreed and said he expects to see the proposed budget change before it is passed.

TN Democrats raised $300K at Jackson Day dinner

News release from Tennessee Democratic Party

Nashville, Tenn. (May 22, 2017) – On Friday, May 19, 800 Tennessee Democrats from across the state gathered in Nashville to celebrate the annual Three Star Jackson Day Dinner. Attendees heard from elected leaders and candidates, paid tribute to President Barack Obama and looked to the future.

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106 TN ‘conservative leaders’ call for Green to resume run for GOP gubernatorial nomination

A group of 106 people, describing themselves as Tennessee conservative leaders and operating under the title “Coalition 2018,” have signed a letter calling for state Sen. Mark Green of Clarksville to resume his campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination after withdrawing from consideration as President Trump’s nominee to become U.S. secretary of the Army.

The group includes tea party activists – including, for example, Nashville Tea Party President Ben Cunningham, Chattanooga Tea Party President Mark West and Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation – along with at least three current members of the state Republican Party Executive Committee and Joe Carr, a former state representative who unsuccessfully challenged Lamar Alexander in the 2014 U.S. Senate primary and Diane Black in the 2016 6th Congressional District Republican primary.

Green, who filed the paperwork for gubernatorial campaign early this year, decided against seeking U.S. Senate confirmation of his Army secretary nomination after a national criticism from some groups for remarks they interpreted as hostile toward LGBT persons and the Muslim religion – remarks notably including a taped appearance before the Chattanooga Tea Party.

Says the letter: “Throughout the nomination process, Senator Green was attacked by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren. Tennesseans disagree, because we know and share Mark’s values. We write today to urge Mark Green to resume his campaign for Governor.”
Green has so far been non-committal about resuming the race, saying only that he’s thinking about it.

(Three other legislators considering a run for governor and widely expected to announce decisions shortly after the legislative session ended — House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris on the GOP side and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh on the Democratic side — have also maintained silence. )

Text of the letter with a list of those signing is HERE.