Tennessee Journal

Quotes of the late Roy Herron from the TNJ archives

This week’s print edition of The Tennessee Journal includes an obituary of Roy Herron, the former longtime state lawmaker who died in a boating accident at age 69. Here are some quotes of the Dresden Democrat that appeared in the pagers of the TNJ over the years:

— “I’m a truck-driving, shotgun-shooting, Bible-reading, crime-fighting, family-loving country boy.” — Herron in an ad for his unsuccessful Democratic bid for Congress in 2010.

— “The gospel singer didn’t tell the gospel truth.” — Herron in 2011 about a Federal Election Commission finding that winning Republican congressional candidate Steve Fincher had misrepresented the source of a $250,000 loan during the campaign. But the FEC deadlocked on how to punish Fincher, so the matter was dismissed.

— “To put it simply, the scripture teaches us that the church is to be the bride of Christ, not the prostitute of any political party.” — Herron in 2006 about a new website launched for Cristian Democrats that he said would help dispel the notion that “God is spelled G-O-P.”

— “You’re all in the same kettle, but some of the fish don’t smell as bad as some others.” — Herron questioning the District Attorneys General Conference in 1992 about some local prosecutors struggling to stay within their budgets.

— “If they want nuclear waste in West Tennessee, they will have to dump it over my dead body.” — Herron in 2010 about a proposal to convert the Milan Army Ammunition Plant to a storage facility for depleted uranium.

— “I voted for the president. I announced I was for the president. I told anybody who asked me that I was for the president. I support the president, I support what he’s trying to do for the country, and I support the United States of America.” — Herron, when challenged upon his election as Tennessee Democratic Party chair in 2013, about whether he supported President Barack Obama.

— “Help me get the cookies on a low enough shelf so I can eat them.” — Herron to the state Medicaid director Manny Martins in 1992 about intricacies of the latest funding proposal.

— “I’m reluctant to encourage people to break each other’s noses, especially at this point in the legislative session.” — Herron about a 1992 bill covering simple assault.

— “I would say to my friends who are not attorneys that The Tennessee Journal wrote of this bill, ‘Lawyers hate the bill.’ And I would encourage those of you who would like to vote against lawyers to vote for this bill on that basis.” — Herron during a 1996 House floor debate about his bill seeking to crack down on “ambulance chasing.”

— “By the grace of God, I dodged a bullet. . . . I am especially grateful that I am not one of the 320,000 Tennesseans who, because of the indifference of the Tea Party-dominated legislature, do not have access to health insurance.” — Herron after undoing a stent procedure for a blocked artery in 2014.

— “When someone vigorously pursues the truth and really examines the problems, that’s going to naturally create some opposition from those responsible for administering the programs you are overseeing.” — Herron on losing the chairmanship of the TennCare Oversight Committee in 2001.

— “He can preach, and he did today.” — Herron about President Bill Clinton’s speech at a burned-out church he helped rebuild in Gibson County in 1996.

— “When I think the bill has enough votes to pass without my vote, I vote against it. The thought in my mind is, ‘If my vote isn’t necessary, then there’s no reason to give any opponent a campaign issue to distort against me next time.’ So, today I vote wrong.” — An excerpt of Herron’s diary from his first term in office about a vote on sex education bill published in Southern Magazine in 1988.

— “If the state’s the mama, BlueCross is the daddy.” — Herron in 2000 about the role played by BlueCross BlueShield in the creation and development of the TennCare program.

— “Thanks to that helmet, there’s not anything wrong with my head after the wreck that was not already wrong with it before.” — Herron crediting a bicycle helmet with saving his life in a 2011 bike crash Sunday in Obion County, where he was training for an upcoming triathlon. Herron sustained a broken collar bone and multiple broken ribs.

New TNJ alert: Supreme Court finalists in their own words, lawmakers drop bills into the hopper

The Tennessee Supreme Court building is seen in Nashville on Dec.8, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— A look at some key answers given to the screening panel by the three finalists for an upcoming vacancy on the Tennessee Supreme Court: Kristi Davis, Tom Greenholtz, and Dwight Tarwater.

— Fresh out of the hopper: Lawmakers file bills on sentencing, handgun safety, fees on developers, and bringing remedial classes back to four-year colleges.

Also: Andy Ogles at the center of the stalemate over a new House speaker, Bill Lee’s “deliberative process privilege” denied by Nashville judge, Tim Burchett on the effects of not kissing enough butt, and Bill Hagerty’s letter-writing campaign.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

New TNJ edition alert: New battle brewing over abortion law, new faces in the legislature

New Faces 23

The Tennessee Journal’s final print edition of the year is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Exceptions to abortion ban back on table when lawmakers return, Sexton could ap-point special committee to evaluate proposals.

— New faces: Photos and bios of all 23 new additions to the General Assembly.

Also: Andy Ogles threatens Mitch McConnell, Vincent Dixie blames Cameron Sexton for his defeat his caucus leadership election, Chattanooga’s conflict of interest loses Olympic trials bid, and Justin Jones has a leg up on his new colleagues in the House.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

New TNJ edition alert: Lee’s road plans, Senate GOP re-elects leadership team, Supreme Court opening breeds speculation about successor

Gov. Bill Lee, center, attends a budget hearing in Nashville on Nov. 9, 2022. He is joined by Finance Commissioner Jim Bryson, right, and COO Brandon Gibson. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Lee wants to make major road upgrades without new taxes, debt. Can it be done without tolls?

— Political update: Senate GOP re-elects leadership team of McNally, Johnson, Yager; Registry presses pause on auditing Gary Humble; and digital ads target state’s certificate-of-need rules.

— From the courts: Justice Sharon Lee’s retirement from Supreme Court unleashes speculation about who will apply to succeed her.

Also: Dolly Parton lands $100 million prize, Jonathan Skrmetti says level of federalist view often depends on who controls White House, watchdog files FEC complaint against Beth Harwell, and the Showboats are back in Memphis.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

New TNJ alert: Never mind the constitution, here’s the new state Senate districts

The Tennessee Supreme Court building is seen in Nashville on Dec.8, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The new print edition of the Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Supreme Court finds election commission deadlines are more important than pesky constitutional language on state Senate districts.

— Party politics: Lee slow walks (in)action on residency requirements for congressional candidates, dumping 5th District hot potato in lap of state GOP.

— From the campaign trail: 41 state House members get free pass to re-election, Anti-Skulduggery Act to kick in after Brenda Gilmore’s announces plans to withdraw candidacy, and Andy Ogles drops mayoral bid to focus on Congress.

Also: Scott Cepicky wants to tear public education down to the “bare bones,” Butch Spyridon denies “bait and switch” on football stadium, former Nashville Banner executive editor Joe Worley dies, and Todd Warner’s Dixieland band.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

New TNJ alert: Awaiting more Phoenix fallout after grand jury testimony, lawmakers at odds over Ford labor disclosure rules, Lee declines to sign

Reps. Robin Smith (R-Hixson) and Mark Cochran (R-Englewood) are sworn into the 112th General Assembly on Jan. 12, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The new print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Waiting for the other shoe to drop after lawmakers’ grand jury testimony.

— Domed of Doomed? Lee’s $500 million bond proposal for new NFL stadium gets mixed reviews among lawmakers.

— Legislative roundup: Fracas over union labor building Ford plant, Lee doesn’t sign new sterilizer rules, and Jerry Sexton’s latest official Bible resolution appears headed for failure (again).

— From the campaign trail: 5th District race cast into uncertainty over residency requirement bill, lawsuit.

Also: Hagerty’s kids get stake in MLS team, Bell’s statue of limitations on smoking something in high school, and Weaver claims to title of “conscience of the House.”

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

New TNJ alert: Will lawmaker’s guilty plea spur ethics overhaul?

Reps. Robin Smith (R-Hixson) and Mark Cochran (R-Englewood) are sworn into the 112th General Assembly on Jan. 12, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

In this week’s print edition of The Tennessee Journal:

— It took months after the Tennessee Waltz bribery sting to overhaul ethics laws. Will latest scandal prompt quicker response?

— Legislative roundup: Residency requirements, AG confirmation, pipeline priority, and Confederate artifacts.

— From the campaign trail: Hargett’s chief of staff leaving to run Lee re-elect, Curcio hanging ‘em up.

— Obituaries: Former Shelby County sheriff and a perennial candidate.

Also: Lee isn’t sold on gas tax moratorium, Nashville DA finds no evidence former vax chief sent muzzle to herself, Curcio calls investigative reporter a “silly person,” and liquor store owners complain of getting hammered.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

Carr defends internal poll, won’t supply crosstabs

Former state Rep. Joe Carr (R-Lascassas) announces his U.S. Senate bid in January 2013.

Former state Rep. Joe Carr (R-Lascassas) is objecting to questions The Tennessee Journal raised in this week’s print edition about an internal poll conducted on behalf of his campaign for Rutherford County mayor.

We observed pollster Triton had included a line about 180 of 455 respondents from a list supplied by the client, with the remainder coming from the company’s own voter file (an unusual arrangement, according to other campaign consultants we consulted). We then noted that despite being the source of the list that generated 180 responses, only 144 out of the total sample backed Carr in the survey.

Carr says it’s unfair for us to have said his list was “handpicked,” saying he merely forwarded the entire Rutherford County voter database created by the local administrator of elections.

Triton told us its clients sometimes provide a list of contacts to invite to respond to its internal polls.

“To assess possible differences in the client list versus the standard voter file we obtain, we breakout the results on crosstabs so the results can be compared between the two list sources,” a company official told us in an email earlier this week. “That is the purpose for the variable you are seeing in the topline results.  Take a look at the crosstabs and you can review the differences between the list sources.”

Update: A company official confirms it received the Rutherford County voter file from Carr and used Republican-leaning individuals in its automated survey.

So we asked Carr to supply the crosstabs to show how many of the 180 respondents from the sample he supplied backed his bid compared with the responses from the remaining 275 people from the company’s voter file.

He declined.

“Your attempt to get the crosstabs to review the methodology appears to be nothing more than a ruse,” Carr wrote in an email.

New TNJ edition alert: The dead bill file, Lamar gets Senate nod, likely candidate for Kelsey seat

House members attend a floor session in Nashville on Jan. 12, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

This week’s Tennessee Journal is out. Here’s what’s in it:

— Short-term rentals, food trucks, cockfighting, and landfills: Lawmakers start to clear decks as session’s final stretch looms.

— Political roundup: Lamar gets nod for vacant Senate seat, Kelsey seat gets new challenger, Warner faces primary showdown from new Williamson County side of district.

— Going Canadian: Politically connected bank gobbled up for $13.4B.

Also: Cothren seeks to plead the Fifth in campaign finance probe, Casada chides Registry over ‘bias,’ Tennessee liquor stores pledge to remove Russian booze from shelves, and Gardenire calls for a “kilt-raising party.”

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

New TNJ edition alert: Redistricting lawsuit, oral arguments over vouchers, 5th District field grows

The latest edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here’s what’s in it:

— Democratic lawsuit claims GOP remap unlawful for county splits, district numbers.

— Likely swing vote silent in Supreme Court rehash of voucher arguments.

— Harwell, Winstead join 5th District race despite Trump endorsement.

— Slatery slams legislative proposal to move consumer advocate office.

— After pandemic-related stagnation, lobbying spending on rise in 2021.


Lee unveils details of proposed overhaul of school funding formula, Juneteenth holiday runs into House roadblock, HBO’s John Oliver mocks John Ragan, and a fee to access to the Sunsphere observation deck.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.


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