Former Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey becoming a lobbyist

Former Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has announced he will become a lobbyist in the 2018 legislative session, reports the Kingsport Times News.

The retired lawmaker told a Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) legislative luncheon on Thursday that he’ll be lobbying for Realtors and others. Ramsey, a Blountville Republican who served as lieutenant governor and speaker of the Tennessee Senate for 10 years, noted a ban on him lobbying state lawmakers expires in November.

…Ramsey, a Realtor and auctioneer, said he’s been hired as a member of the Nashville-based Farrar and Bates law firm headed up by his old friend, Tennessee Association of Realtors lobbyist Russ Farrar.

When asked why he isn’t establishing his own lobbying firm, Ramsey responded: “I don’t want the responsibilities or overhead. I think I can work with someone every day and Russ is that person. He already has a client list … have you seen the price of rentals in Nashville?”

Farrar praised Northeast Tennessee lawmakers and advised NETAR members how well TAR represents them.

Farrar said lawmakers passed a statute of limitations on taking legal action against appraisers. TAR, Farrar added, successfully negotiated a satisfactory result on a bill that would have allowed Limited Liability Companies to sell their own properties.

…State Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, pointed out none of the Northeast Tennessee lawmakers are Realtors.

“We will vote on and make decisions that impact your business … we can make your job easier or more difficult. Hopefully we make it easier,” Lundberg told NETAR members. “Russ (Farrar) is a powerhouse in Nashville … he is respected and admired across the aisle.”

Note: Ramsey acted as a paid consultant in the 2017 legislative session to the Transportation Coalition of Tennessee, a group of businesses supporting increases in the state’s fuel taxes to pay for transportation projects, but did not register as a lobbyist and says he did not engage in any active lobbying. There’s been some discussion on when the year-long ban on lobbying by former legislators and top government officials expires in Ramsey’s case. His term as a state senator ended on election day in November, but he remained speaker of the Senate/lieutenant governor until his successor, Randy MccNally, took office on Jan. 10, opening day of session.

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