bill haslam

Sponsoring it to kill it? Opponent of making Bible official state book takes control of resolution

Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) presides over the chamber on June 1, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) has taken over sponsorship of a resolution seeking to declare the Bible the official book of Tennessee. The move could effectively kill the measure, The Tennessean’s Natalie Allison reports.

The sponsor of a bill or resolution decides when — or whether — it should be discussed in committee.

McNally has long argued that putting the Bible would be trivialized by placing it alongside other symbols like the state amphibian or flower. Then-Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, vetoed a similar Bible measure in 2016 on similar grounds. The House ended up voting against an ovrride.

The House last week passed the perennial measure sponsored by Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) on 55-28 vote. This year’s version is a joint resolution, which goes through the entire process in its originating chamber before being shipped over to the other (unlike bills, which are usually debated concurrently and usually have like-minded sponsors at the helm).

“The first senator to sign on to a House Joint Resolution received by the Senate becomes the prime sponsor,” McNally spokesman Adam Kleinheider told the paper.

It just so happened to be the Senate speaker.

UPDATED: What consistency? Seven who opposed Bible bill override vote for latest version

The House meets at the state Capitol in Nashville on June 1, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

When then-Gov. Bill Haslam vetoed a 2016 bill to make the Bible the official state book, 15 Republicans who still remain in the chamber today voted against an override. On Monday night, seven of those representatives switched their positions to support the latest version that passed by just five votes more than the minimum needed to clear the chamber.

The GOP members who essentially voted to sustain Haslam’s veto five years ago while approving the renewed measure were Majority Leader William Lamberth of Portland, Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison of Cosby, Andrew Farmer of Sevierville, Curtis Johnson of Clarksville, John Ragan of Oak Ridge, Mark White of Memphis, and Ryan Williams of Cookeville.

While 55 members approved of the bill on Monday, 28 voted against. Another nine didn’t vote, including Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville).

The measure now heads to the Senate, where Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) has spoken out in opposition.

Hagerty’s staff to be led by former Corker, Haslam aide Rader

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty speaks at Nashville event on Dec. 3, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Nashville) has named John Rader, an onetime aide to former Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam, as his chief of staff. Rader also worked for Hagerty on former President Donald Trump’s transition team in 2016.

Hagerty’s state staff, led by former Haslam chief of staff Jim Henry, was announced previously.

Here’s the full release from Hagerty’s office.

WASHINGTON – United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) today announced the appointment of a team of experienced professionals to his staff. In addition to the State office appointments announced earlier, Hagerty has appointed Cookeville, Tennessee native, John Rader, as his Chief of Staff, as well as other exceptionally qualified men and women who will make up his administration, communications, and policy teams in Washington, D.C.

“Not only does the team I have assembled in my Washington office augment the strong on-the-ground state organization announced this month, they also bring a wide array of experiences and qualifications that will serve our state and the country well,” said Senator Hagerty. “Under John Rader’s leadership, and with the senior team I have assembled, I am confident this talented group will work above and beyond to serve the needs of Tennesseans and our Nation.”

Administrative

John N. Rader will serve as Chief of Staff. Rader, who brings legislative and executive branch experience, at the federal and state level, most recently served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives at the White House. Rader also served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Policy Advisor to the National Security Advisor and Deputy Assistant to the President for Policy and Strategy. Prior to his time in the administration, Rader served as Deputy Director of Presidential Appointments on the 2016 Presidential Transition Team. Rader previously served as counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and as Acting Deputy Counsel and Assistant Deputy Counsel to the Governor of the State of Tennessee. He received his B.A. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Rader is a native of Cookeville, Tennessee.

Clark Milner will serve as Chief Counsel to Hagerty. Milner was previously Deputy Counsel to Governor Bill Lee, a role in which he advised the governor and governor’s staff regarding legal, legislative, ethical, and other matters, assisted in the development, drafting, and implementation of legislation, and helped coordinate the legal affairs of the executive branch of state government. He previously served as Associate Deputy Counsel to Governor Bill Haslam, was an associate with Bass, Berry, and Sims PLC in Nashville, and was a law clerk to Judge Thomas A. Varlan of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Milner received his law degree from the University of Tennessee and his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia. He is from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Jim Durrett will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. Durrett previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN). He has served in senior staff roles for U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), and U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). He is a graduate of Austin Peay State University. Durrett is from Clarksville, Tennessee.

Betsy Van Dam will serve as Executive Assistant and Scheduler. Van Dam has supported Hagerty for the past ten years in the private sector as well as his stateside commitments during Hagerty’s tenure as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. She served with the Presidential Appointments group on the 2016 Presidential Transition Team and as Hagerty’s Executive Assistant in the Department of Economic and Community Development for the State of Tennessee. She is from Franklin, Tennessee. 

Addison Osborne will serve as Assistant Scheduler. Osborne previously held internships in the White House Office of Political Affairs, at the Republican National Convention, and with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Office. She is a recent graduate of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. 

Legend Brumbaugh will serve as Staff Assistant and Personal Aide to the Senator. Previously, Brumbaugh worked as a Regional Field Representative for Hagerty’s Senate campaign in Knoxville. He is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado, where he played football. Brumbaugh is from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Communications

Judd Deere will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Deere, who will also serve as the Senator’s spokesperson, most recently served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary. He also spent time as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Media Affairs and before that as Director of State Communications. Prior to joining the administration, Deere was Director of Communications for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and served as Deputy Campaign Manager and Director of Communications for the Tim Griffin for Arkansas campaign. Deere brings prior U.S. Senate experience from his time as Press Secretary and Digital Director for U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Correspondence Director for U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR). Before his first stint on Capitol Hill, Deere was a Field Director for the Republican Party of Arkansas during the 2010 campaign in the State’s third congressional district. Deere holds a B.A. in Political Science from Lyon College, and is a native of Benton, Arkansas.

Julia Hahn will serve as Senior Communications Advisor. Hahn most recently served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy White House Communications Director. She also served as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Rapid Response and Surrogate Operations. Previously, Hahn worked in media as the Executive Producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and a reporter at Breitbart News. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as Press Secretary to former Congressman Dave Brat (VA-07). Hahn graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Philosophy.

Bailee Beshires will serve as Press Assistant. Beshires joins Hagerty’s office having previously served as Press Assistant for former U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where she also served as Communications Assistant at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. She is from Henderson, Tennessee.

Audrey Traynor will serve as Digital Assistant. Traynor most recently served as Communications Assistant for former U.S. Senator David Perdue’s (R-GA) 2020 re-election campaign. Prior to joining the Perdue campaign, Traynor worked in communications for the Georgia Department of Labor. She is originally from Atlanta, and holds a B.A. in Advertising from the University of Georgia.

Policy

Adam Telle returns to the Senate to serve as Hagerty’s Chief Advisor. Most recently, Telle led the White House Office of Legislative Affairs’ Senate team, where he also managed all national security and appropriations matters. Previously, Telle was the chief staff member on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee, serving under the chairmanship of U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Boozman (R-AR), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). He also spent 10 years in the Office of Senator Cochran, where he served as Deputy Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, and the top national security staffer. Telle began his Senate career in the Office of Senator Shelby. He is a native of Northport, Alabama and holds degrees in computer science and communication from Mississippi State University, where he was elected student body president. Telle spent childhood summers in Sevier County, Tennessee, where his parents were married, and Telle himself was married in Nashville on the campus of Vanderbilt University, his wife’s alma mater.

Jonathan S. Greenstein will serve as Senior Policy Advisor. He previously was a Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Treasury. In the private sector, he worked in Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking Division covering financial institutions. He holds a J.D. from Yale, and a B.A. and MBA from Harvard.

Robert Zarate will serve as National Security Advisor. Zarate most recently served on the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State. He previously served as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and advanced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (Public Law 116-76), Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (Public Law 116-145), Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act (Public Law 115–272), and the Senate-passed Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act (S. 1, 116th Congress). He earlier served as National Security Advisor to former U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01). Zarate earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago.

Colonel (Retired) Joel D. Rayburn will serve as Special Advisor for Middle East Affairs. Rayburn has almost three decades of experience as a diplomat and military officer. Most recently, he has served two-and-half years as the U.S. Special Envoy for Syria in the U.S. Department of State. Previously, he was Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon on the National Security Council. Along with numerous deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans, Rayburn taught history at West Point and became a published scholar of the Middle East. His 26-year Army career culminated in his 2013-2016 directorship of the Army’s Iraq War Study Group and the publication of a two-volume history, “The U.S. Army in the Iraq War” (2018). Rayburn also authored a book on Iraqi politics, “Iraq After America” (2013) and numerous articles on Middle Eastern affairs. He holds master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and the National War College.

Natalie McIntyre will serve as Deputy Legislative Director. McIntyre was formerly Deputy to the Associate Director for Legislative Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) where she handled the Senate portfolio and was the primary contact to Senate offices and OMB components. Before that, she was a Senior Policy Advisor and White House Liaison at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Prior to her time in the administration, McIntyre was a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and handled the healthcare, transportation, and the budget portfolios. Natalie holds a M.P.P from the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University and a B.S in Financial Economics from Centre College.  

Andrew H. Hogin will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for State Relations. He will focus on Tennessee-specific projects in Washington D.C. Previously, Hogin served as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative David Kustoff (TN-08). He also served as Legislative Liaison for Hagerty during his tenure as Commissioner of Economic and Community Development for the State of Tennessee and prior to that as an Aide to Governor Bill Haslam. Hogin is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, and holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Tennessee. 

Lucas Da Pieve will serve as Projects Director. Da Pieve most recently served as the Deputy Legislative Director and Projects Manager, supervising all appropriations requests for former U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Previously he was the Director of Digital Response in the Office of Presidential Correspondence at the White House. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and has worked in government and politics since 2013. Da Pieve is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His family has lived in Blount County since 2008.

Kevin Kim will serve as the National Security Fellow. Kim previously served as the Senior Advisor to Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, where he participated in multiple rounds of United States-Russia arms control negotiations. He was also the Chief of Staff to Special Representative for North Korea. Kim was previously an analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the Department of State, focusing on East Asia, non-proliferation, and Western Europe. Prior to joining the Department of State, Kim worked at the World Bank Group and the U.S. Korea Institute at SAIS Kim. He holds a B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University, an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Catholic University of America.  

Shane Harris will serve as Special Projects Coordinator. Prior to joining Hagerty’s team, Harris was Associate Director for the White House Office of the Staff Secretary. He also previously served in the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. Harris holds a B.A. in Political Science from Wittenberg University.

Riley Stamper will serve as a Legislative Correspondent and Personal Aide to Hagerty. Stamper most recently served as Personal Aide to Hagerty during his 2020 campaign. Previously, he served in former U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) Office. He is a graduate of Wofford College. Stamper is a ninth-generation Tennessean, originally from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Nick Elliot will serve as a Legislative Correspondent. Previously, he served as Deputy Field Director for Hagerty’s campaign. Elliot is a graduate of Georgetown University. He is from Nashville, Tennessee.

Rachel Leong will serve as a Legislative Correspondent. Leong previously worked in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, first as a Staff Assistant on the Senate team and later Special Assistant to the Director of Legislative Affairs. Leong holds a B.A. from Texas A&M University, and is currently pursuing her M.S. in International Business at George Washington University. 

Shea Throckmorton will serve as a Legislative Correspondent. Previously, he served as West Tennessee Field Representative for Hagerty’s campaign. Throckmorton is a graduate of the University of Mississippi. He is from Memphis, Tennessee. 

Lee named policy chairman of Republican Governors Association

Gov. Bill Lee speaks at a groundbreaking event in Nashville on Dec. 13, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has been named policy chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Lee’s predecessor, Bill Haslam, served two stints as chair of the group.

Here’s the release from the RGA:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Republican Governors Association announced today that Arizona Governor Doug Ducey was elected to serve as RGA Chair and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds was elected to serve as RGA Vice Chair for 2021. Both assume the positions immediately and will serve for a one-year duration.

“Governor Doug Ducey’s exemplary leadership in the great State of Arizona has prepared him well to assume the role of Chairman of the RGA, and I look forward to his accomplishments on behalf of our nation’s Republican Governors,” said outgoing RGA Chairman Governor Greg Abbott. “Following the RGA’s widespread success in the 2020 election, Republican Governors can count on Governor Ducey to maintain the organization’s effectiveness and help expand their majority even further.”

“I am honored to serve as the next Chairman of the RGA for this upcoming year. I look forward to building on the RGA’s momentum as we work to expand the Republican majority. In Arizona, we’ve put forward bold policy solutions and meaningful reforms that’s made our state one of the fastest-growing in the nation and we look forward to leading Republican Governors in bringing these reforms to the rest of our country,” said incoming RGA Chairman Governor Doug Ducey. “I want to congratulate my friend Governor Greg Abbott on his successful tenure, and I am excited to work with him and the Executive Committee to build a strong foundation for success in the 2021 and 2022 elections. I also am excited to serve with my good friend Governor Kim Reynolds, who has been a mentor for myself and my colleagues.”

“If the challenges of 2020 taught us anything, it’s that leadership matters. Republican Governors across our country stepped up during an unprecedented time and I am honored to be a part of this incredible team,” said incoming RGA Vice Chairwoman Governor Kim Reynolds. “Across the nation, Republican Governors are leading America’s economic comeback, working to grow jobs, expand opportunity, and keep our communities safe. I look forward to partnering with RGA Chairman Governor Ducey to grow our ranks and elect more Republican governors across the country.”

Joining Governor Ducey and Governor Reynolds on the RGA’s Executive Committee for 2021 are Governors Eric Holcomb of Indiana, Larry Hogan of Maryland, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Doug Burgum of North Dakota, Henry McMaster of South Carolina, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, and Greg Abbott of Texas, who served as RGA Chair in 2020. Additionally, Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee was elected Policy Chairman, and Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi was elected Policy Vice Chairman.

Trump taps Haslam as Wilson Center chair

Then-Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at an event at the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville on Aug. 28, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

President Donald Trump is appointing former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam as the chairman of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The Washington, D.C.-based Wilson Center was founded in 1968 and describes itself as “the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.”

Haslam served as governor from 2011 to 2019.

Wilson Center board members are appointed to six-year terms. Haslam will succeed fellow former Republican Gov. Scott Walker as chair.

Walker took over following the death of businessman and GOP fundraiser Fred Malek last year. Malek was the finance chair of the Republican Governors Association from 2008 until his death. Haslam was elected chairman of the RGA in 2015 and 2018.

Haslam backing Tennessee Tutoring Corps to tackle enhanced ‘summer slide’

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former Gov. Bill Haslam is backing an effort to recruit college students to tutor children in kindergarten through sixth grade whose education has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s the full release:

Knoxville, Tenn. – The Bill and Crissy Haslam Foundation, in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee and other youth-serving organizations across the state, today launched a new statewide Tennessee Tutoring Corps (TTC) to provide summer learning opportunities for rising K-6th grade students whose education has been interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
“The ‘summer slide’ is a very real problem each year, and, with students being out of school for so long because of the coronavirus, this year could be more of a summer avalanche,” Bill Haslam said.  “We know that younger students and low-income students are especially vulnerable to summer learning loss, and we want to help address the problem.”
 
The Tennessee Tutoring Corps, which will run from June to August, aims to recruit at least 1,000 qualified college students to serve as tutors to students entering K-6 grade this fall. Eighteen Boys & Girls Clubs organizations representing nearly 90 clubs across the state will join with locally-run, youth-serving nonprofits in several counties to help facilitate the program.  

Recent research predicts the pandemic will significantly worsen the summer slide, with learning loss affecting students nationwide. Estimates suggest students could return in the fall retaining only 70 percent of typical learning gains in reading and less than 50 percent of usual learning gains in math. In some grades, students could be nearly a full year behind. 
 
Additionally, news reports suggest that as many as 30 percent of college students have lost summer internship opportunities due to COVID-related economic distress. Recognizing that many college students are experiencing financial strain or loss of employment opportunities due to the pandemic, tutors will be compensated with a stipend of up to $1,000 for their work through the duration of the summer program. 
 
“In creating this program, we hope to attract college students who care about their communities, about making a difference during this difficult time, and about helping younger students learn and grow,” Crissy Haslam said. “Many of these college students thought they would be doing something else this summer and have suddenly found themselves available.  Both the college students and younger students will be in extraordinary circumstances this year.”  
 
Qualified tutors must be current college students and must pass a background check. Preference will be given to those who have a 3.0 GPA or higher, have at least completed their freshman year, and are Tennessee residents. Interested candidates can learn more and submit an application on the Tennessee Tutoring Corps website at www.tntutoringcorps.org. The deadline for applications is 11:59am EST on Friday, May 29.
 
TTC is a pilot project that will be evaluated for effectiveness and feasibility in considering future opportunities. More information is available at www.tntutoringcorps.org.

Kustoff won’t run for Senate

U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Memphis) has decided against running for the Senate next year. President Donald Trump has tweeted that U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty will seek the seat being vacated by Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville). Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi joined the race before former Gov. Bill Halsam announced he wouldn’t run.

Meanwhile, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports another doctor, Josh Gapp, is running as a Republican.

Former lawmaker, ex-GOP chairman, and current lobbyist Ryan Haynes was surprised to see his name floated among potential Senate candidates. He’s not running.

 

Haslam talks about Senate race, Gov. Lee, and UT in wide-ranging interview

Former Gov. Bill Haslam has tackled a wide variety of issues in one of his first extensive interviews since deciding against running for the U.S. Senate. In his sit-down with WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Haslam discusses how he came to that decision, as well as about his successor Bill Lee’s performance through the first six months of his time as governor, the ongoing saga surrounding the honoring of Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Randy Boyd’s job as interim president of the University of Tennessee.

Take a look here:

Haslam announces he won’t run for Senate

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at an event at the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville on Aug. 28, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former Gov. Bill Haslam has decided against running for the U.S. Senate, according to a letter submitted to Tennessee Gannett newspapers.

Haslam said he came to the realization that following in the Senate footsteps of his mentors Lamar Alexander and Howard Baker was “not my calling fo the next period of my life.”

“Since leaving office in January, I have wrestled with the possibility of running for the United States Senate,” Haslam wrote in the letter. “I want to thank everyone who has encouraged me and helped me think and pray about this decision.”

“I also apologize to all those who think it has taken me an exceedingly long time to make up my mind!” he said.

The decision throws open the doors to a contested Republican primary. Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi is already in the race. Other potential candidates include U.S. Reps Mark Green and David Kustoff and U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty. Others could give the race a fresh look with Haslam on the sidelines, including two failed gubernatorial candidates from the last cycle: former U.S. Rep. Diane Black and interim UT President Randy Boyd.

UPDATE: Black is out. So is Green. Kustoff still considering.

Haslam to decide on Senate bid within 3 weeks

Former Gov. Bill Haslam (right) and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander attend the state Republican Party’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner in Nashville on June 15, 2019.

Republican Bill Haslam plans to make up his mind about a U.S. Senate bid within the next two or three weeks, the former governor told reporters at the state GOP’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner fundraiser.

Haslam said it’s been his intention to decide about whether to make a bid to succeed U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) within six months of leaving the governor’s office.

The former governor sat a table alongside Alexander, junior Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood), and U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty.

Hagerty would be expected to give the race some serious consideration if Haslam doesn’t run. U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Ashland City) is also mulling a campaign. Surgeon Manny Sethi of Nashville announced his candidacy earlier this month.

Haslam said he enjoyed being back in political circles.

“I loved the job, and when you come back and see a lot of people you haven’t seen, you miss that,” he said. “But being a private citizen has its upsides, too.”