Lamar Alexander

Alexander opposes Trump move on WHO

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) attends an event at the state Capitol in Nashville on Dec. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is speaking out against President Donald Trump’s move to withdraw the United States’ membership in the World Health Organization.

Alexander (R-Maryville) is the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Pension, and Labor Committee. Here’s what he said on the WHO decision:

I disagree with the president’s decision. Certainly there needs to be a good, hard look at mistakes the World Health Organization might have made in connection with coronavirus, but the time to do that is after the crisis has been dealt with, not in the middle of it. Withdrawing U.S. membership could, among other things, interfere with clinical trials that are essential to the development of vaccines, which citizens of the United States as well as others in the world need. And withdrawing could make it harder to work with other countries to stop viruses before they get to the United States. If the administration has specific recommendations for reforms of the WHO, it should submit those recommendations to Congress, and we can work together to make those happen.

While critics tend to label the retiring senator a moderate, FiveThirtyEight.com rates him among one of the more likely members to vote with the president at 90.3% of the time. Tennessee’ junior senator, Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, votes with Trump 91.9% of the time, according the site. Here’s where some senators rate in relation

  • Cruz (R-Texas): 92.4%
  • Blackburn (R-Tenn.): 91.9%
  • Scott (R-Fla.): 91.9%
  • Rubio (R-Fla.): 90.8%
  • Alexander (R-Tenn.): 90.3%
  • Cotton (R-Ark.): 87.7%
  • Graham (R-S..C.): 87.1%
  • Romney (R-Utah): 81.1%
  • Paul (R-Ky.): 69.6%

Deadline to register to vote in Aug. 6 primary is upon us

Image: Secretary of State’s office.

Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote for the Aug. 6 primary.

Registrations can be mailed or handed in to county election commissions or submitted online to through the Secretary of State’s website. Choosing the online route will make first-time voters ineligible to cast absentee ballots.

Early voting begins on July 17.

This year’s primary election includes a hard-fought contests for the Republican nominations to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) and U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Johnson City). There’s also several open races and contested primaries for state House and Senate seats.

Tennessee politicos react to upheaval

Nashville Mayor John Cooper walks by the Metro Courthouse damaged during weekend protests on May 31, 2020 (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

 

Here’s how some elected officials reacted to statewide protests that included clashes with police, vandalism, and fires.

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Alexander lauds coronavirus testing in Tennessee

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) speaks at a Tennessee Titans event in Nashville on Dec. 13, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who is presiding over health committee hearings while in self-quarantine in Tennessee, is lauding his home state’s COVID-19 testing regimen. But the Maryville Republican is warning that more needs to be done before college campuses can reopen this fall.

“Tennessee has tested 4 percent of its population. The governor hopes to increase that to 7 percent by the end of May,” Alexander said. “That impressive level of testing is sufficient to begin Phase I of going back to work in Tennessee, but as I said last week, it is not nearly enough to provide confidence to 31,000 students and faculty that it is safe to return to the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus in August.”

Here’s the full release from Alexander’s office:

MARYVILLE, Tennessee, May 12, 2020 — Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that COVID-19 testing in the United States is “impressive” and “enough to begin going back to work.”

“But millions more rapid tests created by new technologies are needed to give the rest of America enough confidence to go back to work and back to school,” Alexander added.

Alexander made his remarks today during the Senate health committee hearing — “COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School” — which featured testimony from Administration officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about what federal, state and local governments are doing to help Americans go back to work and back to school as rapidly and safely as possible. 

“According to Johns Hopkins University, the United States has tested over 9 million Americans for COVID-19. That is twice as many as any other country — we don’t know what China has done — and more per capita than most countries including South Korea, which several committee members have cited as an example of a country doing testing well.”

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Alexander to self-quarantine after staffer tests positive for COVID-19

Former Govs. Lamar Alexander, left, and Phil Bredesen await the start of the inauguration of Gov. Bill Lee in Nashville on Jan. 19, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) will remain in self-quarantine in Tennessee for the next two weeks after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19. The senator tested negative last week and didn’t have any symptoms.

““The senator will be working remotely and will chair the Senate health committee hearing on Tuesday morning by videoconference where the witnesses will be Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Robert Redfield, Dr. Brett Giroir, and Dr. Stephen Hahn,” Alexander’s chief of staff, David Cleary, said in a release.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 10, 2020 — David Cleary, chief of staff for United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), today released the following statement:

“Today, Sunday, May 10, a member of Senator Lamar Alexander’s staff tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member is recovering at home and is doing well. 

“Senator Alexander has no symptoms and tested negative for COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon, May 7. After discussing this with the Senate’s attending physician, Senator Alexander, out of an abundance of caution, has decided not to return to Washington, D.C., and will self-quarantine in Tennessee for 14 days. Almost all of the senator’s Washington, D.C., staff are working from home, and there is no need for any other staff member to self-quarantine.

“The senator will be working remotely and will chair the Senate health committee hearing on Tuesday morning by videoconference where the witnesses will be Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Robert Redfield, Dr. Brett Giroir, and Dr. Stephen Hahn.”

Alexander, Blackburn named to Trump’s economic recovery initiative

U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) and Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) attend a Tennessee Titans event in Nashville on Dec. 13, 2019 (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) have been named to President Donald Trump’s economic recovery initiative.

“The way to contain this disease and get back to work and back to school is to put politics aside and work together as fast as we can on new tests, new treatments, and new vaccines,” Alexander said in a release. “Everyone I know wants this to happen as quickly as we responsibly can, and I welcome the opportunity to help in this way.”

“This pandemic is affecting Americans of all backgrounds, in every sector, and figuring out how we re-open our country requires a targeted approach,” Blackburn said in a statement. “I am grateful that President Trump has selected me to join that effort, and look forward to working with my colleagues to come up with a solution that serves the American people.”

Here’s how much Tennessee colleges stand to receive in emergency coronavirus grants

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) speaks at a Tennessee Titans event in Nashville on Dec. 13, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Tennessee colleges and professional schools are in line to receive to $237 million in emergency grants to help students affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to U.S. Sen. LAmar Alexander’s office. The grants range from $9.6 million for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to $5,092 for Omega Graduate School in Dayton.

(See the full list after the jump)

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Tennessee delegation comments on Trump acquittal

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) speaks at a Tennessee Titans event in Nashville on Dec. 13, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Here’s what members of the Tennessee congressional delegation had to say about the Senate’s acquittal of President Donald Trump following his impeachment trial:

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood):

The impeachment of President Donald J. Trump was not a matter of procedure—it was an attempted coup, brought forth at the expense of the safety and prosperity of the American people. Every member of Congress must now reflect, remember, and take to heart the real legacy of this dark moment in history, when ruthless partisanship undermined due process, trampled the rule of law, and very nearly erased from precedent those rules that underpin our democratic republic.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville):

The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the Constitution clearly provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that began on Monday in Iowa.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis)

I voted for the articles of impeachment in the Judiciary Committee and on the House floor and believe the House managers proved their case in the Senate beyond a reasonable doubt. Because the Senate required a two-thirds vote to remove the President from office, he will remain. But his ignominious impeachment will always be the legacy of his reckless and lawless presidency. A bipartisan majority of Congress has voted to impeach or convict him, and that’s a blemish on his record that the American public should consider in evaluating his remaining time in office.

U.S. Rep. John Rose (R-Cookeville):

Just as we knew from the beginning, House Democrats’ impeachment process was purely partisan and an embarrassment to our country. More importantly, their focus on this process served as a distraction from the work the American people sent us to Washington, D.C., to accomplish.

U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Memphis):

I commend the Senate for acquitting the President today and putting an end to this partisan endeavor. The fact is, President Trump did nothing wrong, and today’s acquittal proves just that. Now that this impeachment is behind us, I look forward to working closely with President Trump to pass real legislation that would improve our infrastructure, secure our border, and continue to boost our already thriving economy.

 

Alexander decides against impeachment witnesses

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) attends an event at the state Capitol in Nashville on Dec. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) says he doesn’t need to hear from witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial:

I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense. …The Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.

The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday. …Our founding documents provide for duly elected presidents who serve with ‘the consent of the governed,’ not at the pleasure of the United States Congress. Let the people decide.” – Senator Lamar Alexander

Here is the full release from Alexander’s office:

Washington, D.C., January 30, 2020 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on his vote regarding additional evidence in the impeachment proceedings:

“I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense.

“There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine. There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.’ There is no need to consider further the frivolous second article of impeachment that would remove the president for asserting his constitutional prerogative to protect confidential conversations with his close advisers.

“It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation. When elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations, it undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.

“The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday.

“The Senate has spent nine long days considering this ‘mountain’ of evidence, the arguments of the House managers and the president’s lawyers, their answers to senators’ questions and the House record. Even if the House charges were true, they do not meet the Constitution’s ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors’ standard for an impeachable offense.

“The framers believed that there should never, ever be a partisan impeachment. That is why the Constitution requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate for conviction. Yet not one House Republican voted for these articles. If this shallow, hurried and wholly partisan impeachment were to succeed, it would rip the country apart, pouring gasoline on the fire of cultural divisions that already exist. It would create the weapon of perpetual impeachment to be used against future presidents whenever the House of Representatives is of a different political party.

“Our founding documents provide for duly elected presidents who serve with ‘the consent of the governed,’ not at the pleasure of the United States Congress. Let the people decide.”   

He’s back! Flinn announces latest campaign for U.S. Senate

George Flinn, the Shelby County radiologist and broadcast company owner, has dropped $12.5 million of his own money on five unsuccessful congressional bids since 2010. He’s now announcing his latest Republican bid for the U.S. Senate.

Flinn ran against U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Memphis) in the last two cycles, dropping $6.1 million of his own money on those bids. It’s his second bid for the U.S. Senate, having spent $1.2 million in a 2014 bid. He finished that race in distant third behind incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander and former state Rep. Joe Carr (R-Lascassas).

Here’s the release from the Flinn campaign:

BRENTWOOD, TN- Today, George Flinn announces his candidacy for U.S. Senate. As a tenured businessman, Flinn brings extensive experience to this race. For too many years politicians have avoided the hard work of problem-solving and instead focused on distracting the American people with soundbites and spin. Elected officials are more interested in being idols, celebrities, and stars. George Flinn is appalled by this trend and knows it is hindering America’s progress.  

Flinn is committed to providing real solutions, rather than being focused on distracting the voters. He knows government is about policies, passing bills, and being a servant to our country by implementing real solutions, not by sounding good and accomplishing nothing. George Flinn will bring back the true conservatism that this country was founded on,

Time and time again politicians provide soundbites over a working plan. That’s why I feel I had to throw my hat in the race this year, for a chance to really work, to get things done for Tennesseans. A political campaign is not about just getting elected, it is about creating an opportunity to reach a large group of people with a powerful message that will create major improvements in their lives. I feel the majority of political candidates have lost sight of that. I refuse to give up on the opportunity to improve the quality of so many lives across Tennessee. 

Innovative solutions require crucial work that is at times boring, but always vital. It is critical to invest time to consider all of the possibilities to address our complex problems. This is the type of work and commitment you can expect from George Flinn as a U.S. Senator. 

I have developed real solutions for the complex problems facing Tennesseans and am sharing them with everyone, through my website. I am so committed to implementing solutions that I invite other candidates to embrace these solutions also. What is really important is that these solutions that benefit Tennesseans, are implemented. As one of my favorite Ronald Reagan quotes states, “There is no limit to the amount good you can do when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

George Flinn is a double-boarded certified M.D. in radiology and nuclear medicine, electrical engineer,  author of multiple books, and U.S. Senate candidate, who truly believes we can improve the future of Tennessee.   

For more information visit his website at www.realsolutionsfortn.com.