Monthly Archives: November 2018

Casada wants to restore 3 oversight committees

Rep. Glen Casada, the Republican nominee for House speaker, wants to restore oversight committees for prisons, children and families, and TennCare, The Tennessean’s Joel Ebert reports. Those oversight committees — and eight others — were eliminated through an initiative of former Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) and outgoing House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) in 2011.

Former anchor Demetria Kalodimos sues WSMV-TV

(Handout photo.)

Former news anchor Demetria Kalodimos is suing WSMV-TV for gender and age discrimination in federal court.

Here’s the full release from the Lieff Cabraser law firm:

Nashville, Tenn. — The national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein announces the filing of a gender and age discrimination employment lawsuit in federal district court in Nashville on behalf of “Face of Channel 4” news anchor Demetria Kalodimos against Meredith Corporation d/b/a WSMV Channel 4 (NBC).

The action, filed under the Tennessee Human Rights Act and Disability Act, Tennessee common law, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 alleges a continuing policy, pattern, and practice of gender and age discrimination. After an extended campaign of biased treatment against her, Channel 4 terminated Ms. Kalodimos’s employment after nearly 34 years of award-winning journalism by leaving her a one-page letter at the Channel 4 reception desk.

Continue reading

Lee names senior staff positions

Gov.-elect Bill Lee is formally naming his first three Cabinet appointments (one new one and two holdovers from the Haslam administration), and is also announcing six senior staff positions, including Lang Wiseman as his deputy and legal counsel.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced his first cabinet appointments as well as several key appointments to his forthcoming gubernatorial staff.

“We have received a tremendous amount of interest from Tennesseans across the state who are interested in serving our administration,” said Lee. “I am proud to announce these first members of my cabinet and staff. They are highly qualified to lead in their respective areas and will be an important part in helping our state continue to grow.”

Continue reading

Lee to retain Haslam’s commissioners for human services, mental health

Gov.-elect Bill Lee plans to retain two commissioners from fellow Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration, The Tennessean reports. They are Danielle Barnes, the commissioner of the Department of Human Services, and Marie Williams, who heads the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Other current commissioners are are also expected to be held over for in the Cabinet of the new Lee administration.

As The Tennessee Journal reported earlier this week, Lee plans to name Stuart McWhorter as commissioner of the state Department of Finance and Administration. McWhorter was Lee’s finance chairman during the governor’s race and is currently the chairman of his inauguration planning efforts.

Lee plans to have most of his Cabinet named by the time he is sworn in as governor on Jan. 19.

Source: Lee to name McWhorter as finance commissioner

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee speaks at a rally in Franklin on Oct. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov.-elect Bill Lee plans to name Stuart McWhorter as commissioner of the state Department of Finance and Administration, The Tennessee Journal has learned. The official announcement is expected later this week, according to a source close to the Lee transition team.

The finance commissioner traditionally serves as the governor’s chief Cabinet officer.

McWhorter was Lee’s finance chairman during the governor’s race and is currently the chairman of his inauguration planning efforts. He is the chairman and president of Clayton Associates, and investment management company focused on the health care and technology industries. He has also served on the board of directors of the Lee Co. (the plumbing and HVAC company owned by the governor-elect), FirstBank of Tennessee, 247 Sports Media, Haven Behavioral Healthcare, MedEquities Healthcare REIT, JumpStart Foundry, and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

McWhorter has taught about health care and entrepreneurship as an adjust professor at Belmont University. He earned his master’s in health administration from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a bachelor’s degree in management from Clemson University.

McWhorter’s father, R. Clayton McWhorter, was a longtime executive with HCA who rose to the level of CEO before co-founding HealthTrust Inc. in 1987.  That company merged with HCA in 1995 and he founded Clayton Associates the following year. The elder McWhorter died in 2016.

Stuart McWhorter briefly considered running for Nashville mayor in 2015 before deciding against a bid.

Boyd outlines priorities as interim UT president

Randy Boyd speaks to reporters in Nashville on July 25, 2018. The former Republican gubernatorial candidate was nominated to serve as interim president of the University of Tennessee on Sept. 19, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd has taken the (interim) helm of the University of Tennessee system. He’s outlined a series of priorities, which include beginning the search process for a new permanent president in 2020.

Here’s the full release from UT:

KNOXVILLE – University of Tennessee Interim President Randy Boyd unveiled his priorities as president of the statewide University of Tennessee system earlier today.

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to serve my alma mater, the University of Tennessee, and my state. We have experienced eight years of unprecedented success under Dr. Joe DiPietro, and we are deeply appreciative of his leadership. We must ensure we do not lose momentum during the transition to the next generation of visionary leadership,” said Boyd. “It is vital that we continue to do the important work currently underway, from building the endowment to enhancing educational opportunities.”

Continue reading

Camper elected minority leader in Tennessee House

Rep. Karen Camper (D-Memphis) speaks tp reporters on Nov. 25, 2018, after her elected as House minority leader. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Fellow Democrats have elected state Rep. Karen Camper of Memphis to be the House minority leader for the 111th General Assembly. Camper is the first African-American to be elected the chamber’s Democratic leader.

Camper will also be the Democrats’ nominee for speaker. The Army veteran has served in the House since 2008.

Camper defeated Reps. Bo Mitchell of Nashville and Johnnie Shaw of Bolivar for the position.

“I am honored by the faith the caucus has shown in me and I pledge to bring the type of aggressive leadership needed to advance legislation that promotes the Democratic agenda, such as quality health care and economic opportunities for all Tennesseans,” she said in a statement.

Rep. Mike Stewart of Nashville was unopposed in his re-election as Democratic caucus chair. Democrats hold 26 of the 99 seats in the House.

Continue reading

Lee uncertain about Casada’s call for more House control on budget

Gov.-elect Bill Lee speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on Nov. 7, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov.-elect Bill Lee says he’s not certain how the House will become more assertive in the state budgeting process. Glen Casada, who won the GOP nomination for House speaker, announced earlier this week that he will seek to give the chamber a bigger role in developing the state’s annual spending plan.

“I have no idea that that is going to happen,” Lee told reporters at a Nashville food bank on Wednesday. “What I do know is we’re going to be working together and we’ve already started that process. I believe we can work together as the executive branch and legislative branch to advance the common good for Tennesseans.”

The Tennessean reports Lee and Casada played phone tag after Casada won the speaker nomination on Tuesday, but finally connected on Wednesday.

“My hope and my belief is that we have an opportunity to actually not work in separate veins, but on the same page,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, Lee said he’s working on assembling his staff and Cabinet. The first announcements are expected next week.

UPDATE: Casada wins GOP nomination for House speaker

Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) speaks to fellow Republicans about his bid for House speaker on Nov. 20, 2018.. He was later nominated for the position by 47 of 73 members. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

UPDATE: Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) has won the nomination for House speaker. He received 47 votes from the 73-member caucus.

Rep. William Lambert’s (R-Cottontown) was elected majority leader, Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) was won the caucus speakership, and Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) was nominated speaker pro tem.

Continue reading

Chattanooga-area woman writes about why she disrupted Blackburn rally

A Chattanooga-area woman writes in The Tennessean about why she decided to disrupt a moment of silence during a Marsha Blackburn rally in Nashville in the waning days of the Senate race.

Yes, I interrupted during her moment of silence, saying that ‘Marsha Blackburn is a white supremacist.’

I interrupted because as a registered nurse, mom of five, wife of one of those first responders who must see, process and live with the incidents of violence that she and extremists like her are inciting.

I can’t stay silent any longer.

Read the the rest here.