Monthly Archives: October 2019

Strickland re-elected mayor of Memphis, voters OK sales tax hike

Incumbent Jim Strickland was re-elected mayor Memphis and voters in the city approved a proposal to hike the city’s local option sales tax from 2.25% to 2.75% to restore benefits that had been cut for for police and firefighters in 2015.

“Politics can be pretty toxic… Today’s vote shows that it doesn’t have to be,” the Commercial Appeal quoted Strickland as telling supporters after the vote. “We can disagree without being divisive. That is the campaign I have run. That is the way that I lead. I have been and will continue to be everybody’s mayor.”

Strickland took 62% of the vote. Willie Herenton, a former 18-year mayor, received 29%. County Commissioner Tami Sawyer got 7%. None of the other eight candidates (including the eternal Prince Mongo) received more than 0.5%.

The sales tax referendum passed on a 52%-48% vote. Officials were quick to point out that voters can’t dictate how sales tax money is spent, but that they will follow the will of the electorate in dedicating the money toward police and firefighters.

Sethi names 174 ‘grassroots supporters’ for Senate bid

Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi is releasing a list of “grassroots support” in all 95 counties in his bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

“I am so honored to have support in every corner of Tennessee,” Sethi said in a release. “From Mountain City to Memphis, and Turtletown to Tiptonville, these grassroots leaders are eager to elect a conservative outsider to the United States Senate. I look forward to adding to this list in the coming months as we work towards victory next August.”

The list includes state Reps. Dan Howell (R-Cleveland) and Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown), as well as former state Rep. Tony Shipley (R-Kingsport). Also represented is Rebecca Griffey, the wife of freshman state Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-Paris), who has been in the news lately. She is one of 12 members of the state Republican Party’s executive committee endorsing Sethi.

“Conservatives from across the state are hungry for a fresh voice to take on the Washington establishment and support our president,” said “It is a remarkable accomplishment for a campaign to have this level of broad grassroots support this early in a campaign,” said Forrest Barnwell-Hagemeyer, Dr. Manny’s campaign manager. “It’s clear that Dr. Manny is the choice of Tennessee conservatives.”

Here’s the list broken down by county:

ANDERSON:
State Executive Committeewoman Amy Jones

BEDFORD:
Reverend Jeff Heard

BENTON:
James Peach

BLEDSOE:
Robert Standefer

BLOUNT:
Sharon Earley

BRADLEY:
Jonathan Cantrell
Sarah Cantrell
State Representative Dan Howell

CAMPBELL:
Les Barnaby

CANNON:
Denise Caffey
Shirley Boren

CARROLL:
Colonel Jim Harding

CARTER:
Lynn Richardson

CHEATHAM:
Linda Klingmann

CHESTER:
Sam Boyd

CLAIBORNE:
Daniel Chauncey

CLAY:
Bev Young

COCKE:
Joan Fine
Rama Brunswick

COFFEE:
Benny Jones
Dow Jones
John Roberts

CROCKETT:
Ruste Via

CUMBERLAND:
State Executive Committeewoman Barbara Gregson
Steve Frank

DAVIDSON:
David Birdsong
Dr. Ming Wang
Duane Dominey
Neil B. Chaffin
Reverend Louie Johnston Jr.
Rick Williams
Scooter Clippard
State Executive Committeeman Robert Duvall
Tootie Haskins

Continue reading

Lee says block grant critics are ‘misinformed’

Gov. Bill Lee speaks at the state Capitol on Sept. 16, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee says the largely critical response to his Medicaid block grant proposal in public hearings around the state is coming from people who have either been misinformed or haven’t taken the time to understand the proposal, the AP’s Kimberlee Kruesi reports.

From the AP report:

“I do think that a lot of the folks who are concerned about this have been either misinformed or have not taken the time to really understand it. And there’s legitimate concern about that. We want people to understand this,” Lee, a Republican, told reporters.

The public comment period is required under federal rules for seeking Medicaid waivers. Public hearings were scheduled for Nashville, Knoxville, and Jackson this week. Lee has said he will add stops in Chattanooga and Memphis.

Wake me up when September ends? Byrd still mum on re-election plans

Embattled Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) attends a House Education Committee meeting in Nashville on March 28, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

State Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) tried to defuze efforts to oust him from the General Assembly during a special session in August by telling GOP colleagues behind closed doors that he wouldn’t run for re-election next year. When confronted by The Tennessean afterward, Byrd declined to confirm anything, saying only he would have a statement about his plans in September.

Well, September has come and gone. And Byrd, who has never publicly addressed sexual misconduct allegations dating back to when he was a girls high school basketball coach, still hasn’t made any public pronouncements. The lawmaker didn’t respond to several efforts by The Tennessean to reach him for comment.