House rejects honoring resolution for writer with Penthouse background

The House has spurned a resolution honoring Kay West, longtime Nashville journalist perhaps best known as a restaurant food critic – apparently because she once worked for Penthouse magazine. The resolution (HR127) was sponsored by Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville.

An excerpt from Cari Wade Gervin’s report/commentary:

After Clemmons introduced the resolution, he was challenged by House Majority Leader Glen Casada, a Franklin Republican who has butted heads with West in the past — not that he mentioned that on the floor.

“I know she’s your neighbor, she’s a friend, I’m sure she’s a great lady,” Casada said. “But I will say as I read the resolution I just wanted the membership to realize that she does — has written for Penthouse magazine, and a lot of members would find that objectionable, and so, because the magazine — if no one’s familiar with the magazine, it does, has a tendency to make women, uh, objects. And so I just want the body to know who this person is and who she does write for, then vote your conscience.”

As the resolution mentioned, West’s very first job out of college was indeed as a receptionist at Penthouse, where she worked her way up into editorial. And as Clemmons pointed out, that was a long time ago.

“I appreciate the leader pointing that out and, you know, I believe she did work for that publication some several decades ago,” Clemmons said, before taking a significant pause. “But I will say writing for a publication like that is much more savory than posing for publication like that, like the First Lady.”

The entire chamber collectively gasped, some taking offense at Clemmons’ dig at Melania Trump’s history of nude modeling, and others in amusement at possibly the sickest burn on the House floor all year.

Unsurprisingly, after that, the vote failed, 48 to 25, with 7 members, including another prominent longtime Nashvillian, House Speaker Beth Harwell, not voting.

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