Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lamar Alexander Announces “Standing up for Tennessee” Bus Tour

Senator will make 35 stops across Tennessee in final two weeks of campaign

NASHVILLE – Lamar Alexander today announced that on Friday he will kick off a nearly two-week “Standing up for Tennessee” bus tour that will begin in Maryville, the senator’s hometown, and feature 35 stops in all regions of the state before the Aug. 7 primary.

“I learned from Howard Baker that one of the best ways to finish a campaign is a bus tour across the state,” Alexander said. “I work hard every day to stay connected to Tennesseans, and this bus tour is one more way to keep providing Washington with a steady supply of that Tennessee common sense we need so much more of in Congress.”

The tour builds on the rest of the efforts by Alexander’s campaign for re-election, which include a TV ad showing Alexander sparring with President Obama over Obamacare; a TV ad about Alexander fighting against the Obama administration acting like a de facto national school board; endorsement ads by former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson and former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; and a series of radio ads featuring community leaders across Tennessee.

Read about and watch the Obamacare ad here.

Read about and watch the education ad here.
Read about and watch the Thompson ad here.

Read about and watch the Huckabee ad here.

Read about and listen to the radio ads here.

The Alexander campaign is chaired by Congressman Jimmy Duncan, with co-chairmen Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell, as well as Congressmen Blackburn, Roe, Black, Fincher, and Fleischmann.

The campaign’s Honorary Co-Chairmen include former U.S. Senators Howard Baker (1925-2014), Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, as well as former Governors Winfield Dunn and Don Sundquist.Serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Statewide Committee to Elect Lamar Alexander are all 13 living former state Republican Party chairs. 

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Alexander on Federal Appeals Court Striking Down Obamacare Subsidies for Tennesseans, Americans in 36 States

“Obamacare is not working – and cannot work – for the American people. It was an historic mistake.”

July 22 2014, Washington, D.C., July 22 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the senior Republican on the Senate health committee, today released the following statement on a federal appeals court ruling that Americans in 36 states, including Tennessee, cannot receive Obamacare subsidies through the federal exchange:

“This is yet more evidence that Obamacare is not working – and cannot work – for the American people. It was an historic mistake. It is time for Democrats and the president to realize this and work with Republicans to start over as rapidly and responsibly as possible with step-by-step reforms that reduce the cost of health insurance and expand freedom and choice. Republicans are ready with proposals to repair the damage Obamacare has done and prevent future damage.” 

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Sarah Palin endorses Joe Carr

Thank you, Lamar Alexander, for the respect and integrity you’ve shown in your many years of public service in Washington. With the new challenges in D.C., the time has come for new leaders who are willing to stand up to the political establishments and the Obama administration and say, “no mas!” Unfortunately, advocating and voting for amnesty, cash for clunkers, bailouts, raising the debt ceiling, and many controversial Obama administration nominees has marred the incumbent’s record. It’s time for a change.

Joe Carr is the new voice Tennessee needs in the U.S. Senate! Joe is a citizen legislator who brings his small business experience to bear in the Tennessee General Assembly. He’s stood up to those in his own party, fighting to enact some of the toughest illegal immigration legislation in the country and working to make Tennessee the 4th most business friendly state in the nation. Joe knows that government is most often the problem, not the solution, and he will work to reduce the size of our federal bureaucracy and always use the Constitution as his guide.

It’s a disappointment that after so many years in office Senator Alexander has refused to debate Joe Carr in this campaign. Really, it’s pretty unbelievable because the good people of Tennessee deserve to hear from both these candidates to know who will be on their side and who will choose the Washington status quo.

The conservative grassroots patriots in Tennessee have clearly spoken. When I visited there earlier this month, I was impressed by all the energy and momentum behind Joe Carr. Please join me in supporting him as the Volunteer State’s next Senator!

- Sarah Palin (link)
My Comment: This is a big endorsement. It doesn't come with any PAC money however as far as I can determine and it is almost too late in the game. Still, Sarah Palin carries a lot of weight with some Republican primary voters. If Carr is smart he will use this endorsement for all it is worth. If this is endorsement is widely known, it could help Carr. I still think Lamar is safe, however. I am sure the Lamar camp is carefully watching the polls and I would assume that if Carr looks close to pulling an upset, the Lamar camp will go negative on Carr. If that happens then I think Carr's poll numbers will drop like a rock. I think the more people know about Carr, the less they will like him. Also, even if Carr is rising in the polls, early voting has already happened, TV air time has already been purchased and there are only 13 days until the primary. I am still betting on Lamar.

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Caffeinated Conservatives host candidates Debate! July 26th

When: Saturday, July 26, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Where: Bagel Face Bakery, 700 Main St, Nashville, Tennessee 37206
These people want to represent you, so we want to watch them fight it out for the right! Join us as we host a head-to-head match-up between contenders for the GOP nomination on August 7th.
For the US House-5, we have Bob Ries versus Big John Smith!
For the TN House-51, we have Brian Mason versus Joshua Rawlings!

Please submit questions you want them to answer ahead of time to have them included in the debate, to be moderated by Stephen Clements.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fred Thompson Supports Lamar Alexander in Endorsement Ad

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Another Blow to Obamacare- Maybe the fatal blow.

In case you missed it:

Federal appeals court strikes blow against ObamaCare subsidies

A federal appears court on Tuesday struck down one of the pillars of ObamaCare, ruling that the law’s premium subsidies are invalid in more than two-dozen states.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 decision that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not permit the IRS to distribute premium subsidies in the federal ObamaCare exchange, meaning those consumers must bear the full cost of their insurance. (read more)

My Comment: No doubt this will be appealed to the full circuit court and then if the government loses there, it will be appealed to the Supreme Court. This could spell the end of Obamacare.

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Who I'm supporting in the Aug 7th General Election and the Republican Primary

The General Election

In any race in which there is a Republican running against a Democrat, I am supporting the Republican.  I am a Republican and I think it is important to build the Party from the ground up. I am not so partisan however, that I would not support a Democrat if the Democrat was significantly more qualified or it the Republican was a fringe nut-job. There are also some Democrats that I would have a hard time voting against simply because I like them, such as Charlie Cardwell. I have know him a long time and think he is a person of talent and integrity and am pleased he does not have a Republican opponent.  Also, I like Judge Bill Higgins.  I would support him even if he had a Republican opponent.  Also, Amanda McClendon. She performed my and Louella's wedding and I worked closely with her on some issues when she represented the district I used to represent in the Metro Council, so I would have a very difficult time voting against her unless there was a powerful reason to do so.

Adam Dread

We have good Republican candidates running for office and I am comfortable supporting all of our Republican candidates. Some of them, I have gotten to know during this campaign and think they are well qualified and are really good people. Those Judicial candidates I am especially pulling for are Jim Roberts running for Chancery Court Part 2; Sabrina Johnson Orr, Chancery Court Part 1; Marian Cheadle Fordice, General Session Judge Division 1; and Adam Dread, General Sessions Judge Division 9.

Marian Cheadle Fordice
 One can vote in any race listed on the general election ballot. Sometimes there is confusion. While both Jim Roberts and Sabrina Johnson Orr are running for a Chancery Court seat, it is different offices and you can vote for both.

I am supporting Toni Eaton for County Clerk.  I personally like current clerk Brenda Wynn but she is too tied to the Democratic machine and has hired too many partisan Democrats to fill positions including the former state rep. Janice Sontany. I would like for this office to be in Republican hands.

In Council District 1, I am supporting William Guthoerl.  While I have been disappointed in some Republicans who have served in the Metro Council and have voted just like Democrats, I do not believe William Guthoerl will disappoint. He told me he would have voted against the recently passed Metro benefits for same sex couples bill, he would oppose Metro's sponsorship of a youth pavilion at the gay pride festival, he would oppose price fixing and he would be conservative on fiscal matters.  I think he will make a good councilman.
William Guthoerl

In the school board races, I am supporting challengers against incumbents.  I have been very disappointed with our current school board and want a change. In School Board District 8, however, if Michael Hayes was running again, I would be supporting him.  I watch almost every School Board meeting and have found Hayes to be reasonable and to ask the questions I would ask if I was on the School Board.  I think he is one of the two good members of the school board, the other being Alissa Kim.  It is too bad Hayes is stepping down. I wish he was running again.

I do not have a lot of in depth knowledge about the candidates for school board.  I have not attended any candidates forums and I do not personally know any of the candidates. I am basing my selections on word of mouth, who is supporting whom, and the candidates position on school choice. I am a supporter of charter schools and want to support candidates who are not hostile to charters.

In School Board District 2, I am supporting Bernie Driscoll; in District 4, Rhonda Dixon; in District 6, Tyese Hunter; and in District 8, Mary Pierce.

In the retention elections for Judges, I am voting "replace" on all. I don't know enough about the particular judges to know if any of them or excellent judges who should be retained, but when in doubt my default position is "replace" as a matter of principle, because I do not believe retention elections are really elections.

The Republican Primary

I will be voting in the Republican Primary.  Everyone needs to know that you can vote for whomever you want in the General Election and then still vote in the primary of your choice.  If you vote for a Democrat in the General Election, you can still vote in the Republican State Primary. Those two elections are totally separate.

For Governor I am supporting Bill Haslam. I think he has done an excellent job as governor and he has no serious opponents in the primary.

For Senate, I am supporting Lamar Alexander.  I know some conservatives think Lamar is insufficiently conservative, and while I disagree with him on some issues, he is hardly a liberal. He is conservative enough for Newt Gingrich and Art Laffer and David Keene, the former head of the National Rifle Association and former Chair of the American Conservative Union.   Lamar has shown more commitment to some conservative ideas than other Republicans who are often thought of as more conservative.   Lamar not only opposes raising the minimum wage, but thinks it should be abolished. On the other hand, Lamar has disappointed me by supporting Cash for Clunkers and the Internet sales tax.

Part of the reason I am stubbornly supporting Lamar, is because I have supported him for a very long time and feel invested in him.  I remember when Tennessee was overwhelmingly Democrat and our governor was the corrupt Ray Blanton who was selling pardons to prisoners and engaging in all sorts of other corruption. Lamar had became known by running an unorthodox campaign that involved walking all the way from Mountain City in the North East corner of the state to Memphis in the South west corner. He wore a red plaid flannel shirt for the walk. I was thrilled to see Lamar beat Blanton and I donned a red plaid shirt and walked with hundreds of other people up Charlotte to the Capitol for his swearing in. I got a button that said something like, "I walked the last mile with Lamar," and it had those words on a red plaid background. I think I still have it.

In addition to being invested in Lamar and remembering fondly earlier campaigns, I am supporting Lamar, because his main primary opponent is an unqualified nut-job.  Carr believes the second amendment gives you the right to carry a gun onto the property of another who may not want guns on his property.  He also supports the discredited theory of nullification. He would have local police arrest Federal agents carrying out federal law in Tennessee. If Lamar had a talented intelligent conservative running against him such as Ron Ramsey or Senator Mark Green, I would have to think twice about my support of Lamar; with Joe Carr being his opponent, I don't have to think twice. If Joe Carr should somehow win the nomination, I think the Democrat nominee would take the seat. Once the general electorate discover who Carr is, I don't think he could be elected.

For 5th Congressional nominee, I am supporting Bob Ries.  Bob is a likeable guy, a solid conservative and he has ran for the seat before.  His opponents have not had as visible a campaign for the nomination as has Bob Ries. Whichever candidate gets the nomination they will have a hard time unseating Jim Cooper, but of those running I think Bob Ries would have the best chance. I wish we had a well known office holder such as Beth Harwell running for the nomination or a wealthy, enormously successful business man like Lee Beaman, but we don't. I wish Bob well. If he gets the nomination, I will contribute to his campaign and vote for him.

Diana Cuellar
In the 21st Senatorial District, I am supporting Diana Cuellar.  This race belies the claim that the Republican Party is the party of old white men. This race is the picture of diversity with a Hispanic women, an African-American male, and a Muslim Kurdish immigrant running for this seat and no old white man.  Whichever candidate wins, I hope the party will rally behind him or her.

The winner of this race will be running against either Jeff Yarbro or Mary Mancini. I wish it would be Mancini. Mancini is a left wing activist and would be easier to run against than Yarbro who is not so scary to moderates. He is probably just as liberal but he is not the activist that Mancini is. Most likely Jeff Yarbro will win the Democratic primary. While the district is Democrat, portions of it was the old district represented by the retiring Senator Henry.  Senator Henry was a conservative Democrat of the type of which there are no more, and many of those who in the past had voted for Henry may be ready to cross party lines when they see how far to the left is Jeff Yarbro.  I think Diana Cuellar would have the best chance of beating Jeff Yarbro, or should Mary Mancini beat Yarbro in the primary, Diana would be the best candidate to run against Mancini.

In the 51st district, I am supporting Brian L. Mason.  I don't either candidate well but Josh Rawlings, the other contender, is very young. I just think Mason would stand a better chance of taking on the Democrat challenger. District 51 is the House District seat currently being held by Mike Turner who is not seeking reelection. Democrats seeking that nomination are Jennifer Buck Wallace, former executive director of the Tennessee Democratic Party, Stephen Fotopulos, the former Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition executive director, and attorney Bill Beck.  Beck, has the support of former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, Sheriff Daron Hall, former Senator Joe Haynes and former Judge Barbara Haynes and is most likely to be the Democrat nominee. (For more info see this.)

We have several other good candidates who are running unopposed for the nomination for the seat they are seeking and they deserve your support: John Wang in 53rd Representative District, Beth Harwell in the 56st Representative  District, and Jim Gotto in the 60th. If you are in a District with no Republican running, write in your own name.

Also on the ballot are people seeking seats to the State Executive Committee of the Republican Party.  Each State Senatorial district gets to elect one man and one women to the Executive Committee.

For State Executive Committee in District 18, I do not know either of the candidates for the male seat or the female seat, so I am not making a recommendation at this time in either of those contested races.  If I learn more, I may update this post with a recommendation, so look for updates.

Please vote against Mark Winslow
In District 19, I am supporting D. J. King and I do not evem know Mr. King, but his opponent is Mark Winslow and I would vote for anybody but Winslow. Mark Winslow has been a very controversial figure having once sued the Republican Party. The most recent controversy evolving Winslow is that he has worked to elect a Democrat who is running for a seat being sought by a Republican. In the Democrat primary he worked for Melissa Blackburn.  The Republican running for that seat is Marian Cheadle Fordyce. It is my understanding that Ms. Blackburn is the wife of the person who was Winslow's lawyer when Winslow was suing the Republican Party.

Is this Mark Winslow working for a Democrat candidate?
Please vote against Mark Winslow!
Winslow claims he supported her candidacy because she is a client of the firm he works for.  He reportedly has claimed that since the primary, he has not been working for her. However, I have heard from several people that he still is doing so.  In fact someone sent me the accompanying picture that shows someone putting up yard signs for her.  The picture is blurry and I do not have first hand knowledge that, that is Winslow, but I absolutely trust the person who sent me the picture. These were taken at Karen Bennett's Amqui Station fundraising event on July 17. Also on Tuesday night of that week he was with Melissa Blackburn at a Democrat Meet the Candidates event at Farmers Market.

I find it an absolute outrage and disgusting that a member of the State Executive Committee would work for a Democrat against a Republican.  If he must work for a Democrat because the Democrat is a client of his employer, then he should resign his position the SEC. Members of the State Executive Committee of the Republican Party are supposed to support Republican candidates. Winslow's candidacy for the right to run for the position of member of the State Executive Committee was challenged but Party Executive Director Chris Devaney refused to remove Winslow from the ballot. Please, Please vote against Mark Winslow. For more information on Winslow, follow this link. When I reported on this issue earlier, Winslow threated to sue me, so who know what he may do now.

Bob Schwartz
In District 20 for State Executive Committee, I am supporting Bob Schwartz.   Bob is a good friend of mine. He is a loyal Republican, a principled conservative, hard working and a man of integrity. He has a lot of credentials and would make an excellent member of the State Executive Committee.

There are several other candidates seeking seats on the state Executive Committee who do not have opposition.

We have a real chance to win some Republican seats in Davidson County this election and again in November. Please do not fail to vote and encourage a friend to vote. To see a sample ballot follow this link.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

US Rep. Diane Black and State Rep. Susan Lynn Endorse Clark Boyd for State Senator

Rep. Susan Lynn, Clark Boyd, and Rep. Diane Black
State Senate candidate Clark Boyd who is running against Senator Mae Beavers has received the endorsement of Clark Boyd. In her email newsletter out today, Susan Lynn writes:
US Rep. Diane Black and I have both enthusiastically endorsed state Senate candidate Clark Boyd.  Clark is a veteran, small business owner in Lebanon, a loving husband, father and a Sunday school teacher. As immediate past Chairman of the Wilson County Republican Party Clark did an excellent job and his leadership made us very proud.  Clark will make us proud as our state Senator. 

Please visit Clark's website at, and on Clark's State Farm website you can see a video of Clark that you might enjoy viewing;  A state Senate district contains 180,000 people and Clark has been working very hard but because it is very difficult to meet each voter at their door Clark asked me to provide you with his phone number and websites: 615-618-3329. 
I am pleased to see Senator Black and Rep. Lynn, two people I greatly admire and respect, endorse Mr. Boyd.  I do not personally know Mr. Boyd but if I was voting in that district, I would be voting for him.  Mae Beavers has too often taken fringe position, such as sponsoring legislation to nullify federal laws. She is an embarrassment and needs to be replaced by a sane Republican.

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Education Opportunities: A Path Forward for Students in Tennessee

Education Opportunities: A Path Forward for Students in Tennessee
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. CDT
Renaissance Nashville Hotel (Meeting Rooms 108 - 109)
611 Commerce Street, Nashville, TN 37203
RSVPor watch live
Learn more at

Sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute and proudly supported by the Charles Koch Foundation.
Moderated by Brennan Brown, Program Manager, Higher Education Charles Koch Foundation
Jonathan Butcher, Education Director, Goldwater Institute

Stephanie Linn, State Programs & Government Relations Director,
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Justin Owen, President & CEO, The Beacon Center of Tennessee

Dr. Steve Perry, Principal, Capital Preparatory Magnet School

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Friday, July 18, 2014

If we want to pay teachers more, we need fewer of them

From TN Edu Independent:

TNTP is out with a good report on why the teaching profession's antiquated step and ladder pay system doesn't cut it any more.

You can read it here:

They identify a number of problems that are accurate, and that need to change, but I want to explicitly add something to the conversation. Many of the solutions that TNTP suggests I think will make a difference, and they get at this idea, but I think many of their proposals won't fully address the underlying structural issue as to why teachers don't earn more: If we want to pay teachers more, we need fewer of them.

If we think about the supply/demand economics of the labor pool of teachers, we have far too great a supply than there is demand.

If you remember from economics class, quantity demanded is your x-axis and your y axis is price, or wage paid. At some point, there's this "ideal" equilibrium out this case, 100 for demand, paid at .50 pence each (sorry, best graphic I found was British). When the supply offered increases, it depresses the price, or in the case of teachers, wage paid.

To make this more concrete, if you are a school district, and you have 10 teacher applicants for every 1 open position, why pay more? You're in the leverage position to pay as low as you can. Now, legislatures, unions, and city councils are constantly engaged in politics to provide a minimal floor to teacher salaries, but in terms of economics, the minimum salaries set by politics are often above what the market would pay. This comes from the National Council on Teacher Quality blog (this is specifically for elementary teacher production):

I imagine you'd see something similar in Tennessee for elementary teachers.

I'm being simplistic, but overall, we do have an oversupply of teachers for the demand that's out there. What would be better is if we were more precise and broke it down by student need or subject area.  There are certain specialties within teaching where it's opposite, the demand is greater than the supply.  There is a good report from Minnesota that they produced for their Legislature (would be great to see a report like this for Tennessee), and it found the teacher shortage areas were as follows:
Emotional behavior disorders (294 permissions) 
  • Learning disabilities (265 permissions) 
  • Developmental disabilities (145 permissions) 
  • Early childhood special education (91 permissions) 
  • English as a second language (86 permissions) 
  • Mathematics (78 permissions) 
  • School psychologist (66 permissions) 
  • Spanish (64 permissions) 
  • Physics (50 permissions) 
  • Developmental/adapted physical education (45 permissions) 
  • Chemistry (43 permissions) 
Areas of teacher surplus:
  • K–6 elementary 
  • Physical education 
  • Social studies (high school and grades 5–8) 
  • Communication arts and literature (high school and grades 5–8)
I think much of the same would apply to Tennessee.

For those with Finland fever...the people that like to say places like Finland and Germany have the secret sauce when it comes to education, how they treat teachers, why they pay them more, value them better as a profession, etc.  Ever looked at their teacher labor pool demand/supply market? 

They have very rigorous entrance standards for teacher training colleges. Only the top high school graduates get in to teacher training colleges and the programs are rigorous. This serves to keep a check on their labor supply of teachers. Here in America, to get into a teacher training college, you basically need to be able to spell your name, have a low GPA, and a low ACT or SAT score (that's a simplistic generalization and not all teacher training colleges are like this). 

If we want to pay teachers more, school districts and political leaders will need to challenge higher education institutions and the higher education political lobby to modify their teacher training college business model, which for many higher ed institutions, is lucrative.

It's high time in American public education this happen, because 1. our students need better teachers, and 2. teachers deserve to be paid more for the incredibly hard work they put into their profession each day.

So if we want to do something, really do something about how much teachers make, we need to do something about the teacher labor pool supply/demand economics.

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Metro Councilman Megan Barry raised more than $317,000 for her Nashville mayoral campaign.

In case you missed it: Megan Barry raises more than $317,000 for mayoral run.

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Early voting started today. Locations and times.

There is both a primary and a general election taking place at the same time. Many people, even those involved in elections, don’t understand that there is both a primary election and a general election, and when one votes in the general election, it does not matter which primary the person voted in (or that the person chose not to vote in a primary election at all).

Thus, voters can vote in the Democrat primary and vote for a Republican in the general election or vote in the Republican primary and vote for a Democrat in the general election.

Voters need to listen closely in the polling place for poll officials who might say or imply that if people vote in the Democrat primary, they have to vote Democrat in the general election, as if the two elections are linked. If you hear that being said, please complain to the senior person at the polling place and document what you hear and complain to the election commission. Don't let that go unchallenged.

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Vote Marian Cheadel Fordyce for Judge

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