Saturday, October 31, 2015

How Tennessee Congressmen voted on the budget deal.

District 1: Phil Roe (Republican), No
District 2: Jimmy Duncan Jr. (Republican), No 
District 3: Chuck Fleischmann (Republican), No
District 4: Scott DesJarlais (Republican), No
District 5: Jim Cooper (Democrat), Yes
District 6: Diane Black (Republican), No
District 7: Marsha Blackburn (Republican), No
District 8: Stephen Fincher (Republican), No
District 9: Steve Cohen (Democrat), Yes

For more on the budget deal, read this article in The Tennessean

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Sen. Alexander voted yes and Sen. Corker voted no on the budget deal.

The Tennessean - Tennessee’s Republican senators split their votes early Friday on a two-year budget agreement, a reflection of how the issue of government spending levels has divided the GOP.
The deal, which prevents the government from defaulting on its debts and allows for an $80 billion spending increase over two years, passed the Senate 64-35 about 3 a.m. Friday. (link)

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween Comic Book

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Beacon Scores Major Victories in Anderson family Airbnb Case

Beacon Center press release- Today, the Davidson County Circuit Court made a crucial decision and denied Metro Nashville's motion to throw out P.J. and Rachel Anderson's case, meaning the case has merit and will move forward.

In addition, the judge also granted our motion for a preliminary injunction on behalf of P.J. and Rachel Anderson, who sued Nashville over the city's Airbnb law. This means that the Anderson family is likely to prevail on their claim that at least some of their constitutional rights are violated by Nashville’s new law.

Beacon Litigation Director Braden Boucek stated, "Today’s ruling was really encouraging and shows that Nashville's Airbnb ordinances are deeply flawed and were passed with little concern over its constitutionality. In today’s decision, the judge ruled that there was at least a “substantial probability” that the law infringes on the Andersons’ constitutional rights."

Boucek went on to note, "Despite Metro's attempt to have this case thrown out, this ruling shows that the Airbnb law has very significant legal questions surrounding it. We look forward to a final ruling on the merits, but today’s outcome shows the need for Nashville to take a fresh look at how it addresses homeowners's rights."

To read more about the Anderson's lawsuit, click here.

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Discover Great Schools Tour by Project Renaissance

Discover Great Schools Tour By: Project Renaissance
For the inaugural "Discover Great Schools" event, attendees will tour Valor Collegiate Academy and Crieve Hall Elementary School and meet the educators behind two of the best performing public schools in Nashville. Attendees will be provided a boxed lunch. This is the first of many "Discover Great Schools" events that will be hosted by Project Renaissance. When Wednesday, November 11, 2015 from 8:15 AM to 1:15 PM (CST). Where Valor Collegiate Academy and Crieve Hall Elementary - 4527 Nolensville Pike Nashville, TN 37211.

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Mayor Barry Creates Office of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment

New office will focus on issues related to financial empowerment, workforce development, and affordability

Metro Press Release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Megan Barry announced today the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment (OEOE), focused on making sure Nashville’s growth results in an increased quality of life for all Nashvillians. 

Adriane Bond Harris
Adriane Bond Harris
Anne Havard
Anne Havard
“From the outset of my campaign, I was committed to making sure that Nashville’s focus on economic growth and expansion was matched by a renewed focus on lifting people out of poverty, and expanding opportunity,” said Mayor Barry. “The Office of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment, headed by Erik Cole, will help us to do just that.” 

The Mayor has announced the appointment of three new members to the administration, who will work with Erik Cole to further the goals of expanding the supply of safe and affordable housing, engaging community partners, and efficiently leveraging resources to reduce poverty and increase the supply of career-pathway jobs for all Davidson County residents.  

  “I’m honored by the confidence Mayor Barry has shown in me and humbled by the opportunity to continue working on these important issues and lead the Office of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment,” said Cole. “All of our collaborative efforts will work together towards the common goal of building a better quality of life in Nashville.”

Cole, a former member of the Metro Council, has served in the Mayor’s Office since 2013, when he
Eric Cole
was appointed as the Director of the Financial Empowerment Center. He brings years of knowledge and experience working on issues related to poverty, and will be in charge of coordinating efforts within the office while continuing to focus on promoting on finding solutions to alleviate poverty and end homelessness in Nashville. 

Adriane Bond Harris will serve as Senior Advisor for Affordable Housing Issues. She is an urban planner and an affordable housing and community development professional in Nashville, TN. She joins the administration from The Housing Fund (THF) assisting with THF’s new initiatives and providing technical assistance to nonprofits, developers, and local governments on housing and community development programs and policies. Prior to joining THF, Adriane worked as a consultant assisting local nonprofits and small governmental agencies to administer federally funded programs and housing developments.

“I look forward to working with the Mayor to learn from other cities, those that have addressed affordable housing well, and those who have not, to find creative and sustainable solutions for Nashville,” said Harris. 

Joining the administration as Senior Advisor for Labor and Workforce Issues will be Ashford
Ashford Hughes
. He will be leaving his role as Assistant Business Manager for the Southeast Laborers District Council, Local 386, where he worked to organize and represent the interests of working families in Middle Tennessee. In addition, he has been a leading Executive Board Member for Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH), which played a pivotal role in bringing economic justice issues to the forefront of the 2015 mayoral election. 

“I want to thank Mayor Barry for the opportunity to serve the people of Nashville as we work together to help improve the lives of working families in Nashville,” said Ashford Hughes. 

Anne Havard will serve in the OEOE as a policy assistant, helping to research, review and implement the goals and policies developed by the office. She is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University, and she served at Open Table Nashville doing homelessness outreach, advocacy and grant writing while attending the University. Most recently, she worked on the Megan Barry for Mayor Campaign as a policy and communications advisor, helping to draft policies and platforms during the campaign. 

“I’m truly grateful to have such a diverse and knowledgeable team to help me and my administration to fulfill Nashville’s promise as a warm and welcoming city for all of Nashville,” said Barry. “They will be key players in turning the challenges we face into opportunities to improve upon the way we’ve done things in the past, and help us to keep Nashville moving forward for everyone.”
Erik Cole and Anne Havard have already begun working in the administration, while Ashford Hughes will join on Nov. 12 and Adriane Harris will begin on Nov. 9.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Using Reconciliation to Dismantle the President’s Health Care Law & Protect Human Life

Phil Roe
by U. S. Representative Phil Roe, 1st District of Tennessee - Earlier this year, for the first time in more than a decade, both the House and Senate agreed on a budget that balances over 10 years. By agreeing to a budget, Congress now has the opportunity to use a powerful tool called reconciliation, and used it this week when the House brought the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act up for a vote. This legislation will dismantle ObamaCare and protect taxpayers’ longstanding respect of human life by taking tax dollars from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and reinvesting those dollars in community health centers.

What is reconciliation and why is it important? Reconciliation allows the House to make changes to existing law so the law is consistent with provisions included in the budget agreement. Most importantly, this process gives Republicans in the Senate the ability to waive the 60 vote requirement in Senate rules and pass budget-related provisions by a simple majority vote. You may recall that Democrats in Congress used reconciliation in 2010 to push pieces of the president’s health care bill, which is now law, through Congress.
Three House Committees – including the House Education and Workforce Committee, on which I serve – were tasked with finding savings in the federal budget. The committees’ proposals were then combined into one package by the Budget Committee.
I support this bill for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the bill repeals the individual and employer mandates, making it impossible for the government to force individuals, families and employers to purchase certain insurance policies. Repealing the mandates will bring choice back to our health care system and protect those struggling under ObamaCare.
The bill also repeals the auto-enrollment mandate, which will force many employers to automatically enroll new full-time employees in insurance plans they may not need or want. This will excuse many workers and employers from the confusing maze of mandates and penalties triggered by the president’s health care law, saving them time and money.
I am proud the bill also includes a repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The IPAB will consist of fifteen unelected bureaucrats tasked with finding savings in Medicare. IPAB proposals will be considered using fast-track procedures and, absent a three-fifths vote of the Senate, Congress can only modify the type of cuts, not the amount. I have consistently pushed for repeal of the IPAB and introduced bipartisan legislation earlier this year to repeal the board. Lastly, the package includes repeals of the medical device and “Cadillac” taxes, as well as a costly ObamaCare slush fund, the Prevention and Public Health fund.
Together, these significant repeals will save taxpayers $78.9 billion, all while protecting them from the most harmful parts of the president’s health care law and taking a strong stand for human life. The National Right to Life is supporting this reconciliation bill and I’m proud to do the same.
I’ve heard some question why we can’t just pass a full repeal. Well, first of all, the House has already done that – it’s a bill I’ve proudly supported every Congress since ObamaCare was passed. By targeting major pieces of the law, we will preclude Democrats in the Senate from filibustering this bill, ensuring we can get a proposal through Congress and to the president’s desk.  It will be the first time the president has been forced to engage with Congress on his health care law in a serious way since he signed the bill into law.
I strongly believe this bill is the first step towards true, patient-centered health care reform. Make no mistake, our work to repeal ObamaCare is just beginning, but I am confident the committees worked to move strong and strategic repeal efforts. I thank Chairmen Price, Ryan, Upton and Kline for their hard work and leadership on these important provisions.

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Tennessee Federation of Republican Women Pass Resolution in Support of School Vouchers

Resolution Passes with Unanimous Support at Statewide Convention

Press release, MURFREESBORO, TN - The Biennial Convention of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women (TFRW) approved a resolution Saturday supporting school voucher legislation currently before the general assembly.
“We’re excited to have the resolution unanimously adopted by our members. It underlined the long-held Republican principle of freedom of choice for parents and taxpayers. With the excellent leadership of our TFRW President, Linda D. Buckles, we look forward to working with our elected Representatives to uphold the Republican platform and make school choice a reality in Tennessee,” said Susan Shipley, President of the Greater Kingsport Republican Women.
At least one bill is advancing in the Tennessee General Assembly to provide opportunity scholarships or “school vouchers,” pending a vote in a key House Finance Committee.  School choice—and specifically school vouchers—is an issue that has achieved uniform support across the Republican Presidential candidate field and the Republican National Committee’s Platform on Consumer Choice in Education.
In a video greeting to the Convention Friday evening, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) repeated his campaign message to “repeal common core and champion school choice, the civil rights issue of our generation.” Senator Cruz is one of many candidates standing up for the Republican party’s position on school choice, with other leading candidates Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal and Ben Carson, all having voiced support for school choice.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey expected the resolution to pass: “The TFRW has for decades stood for strong conservative values and principles. Republican women are the heart and soul of our party. It is thus no surprise that they have made this strong statement in favor of school choice. No parent should have to wake up every morning knowing they have no choice but to send their child to a failing school. Republican women recognize this more than anyone."
State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Shelby County), a vocal proponent of vouchers, was also encouraged by the support: “The Tennessee Republican women recognize that school choice is a conservative value. Hopefully, our Republican legislature will, too.”
Organizations opposing Tennessee’s school choice legislation include the Tennessee affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA) and the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS). The NEA recently experienced internal strife after their supporters of Bernie Sanders objected to the NEA’s early endorsement of Hillary Clinton, while TOSS is represented by attorney Chuck Cagle, a recently controversial figure in Tennessee political circles.
The Tennessee Federation of Republican Women has not been shy about standing up for conservative principles in the past. Last year the Tennessee Municipal League and several other taxpayer-funded organizations opposed a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) that would have banned annexation without voter consent. After receiving the endorsement of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women at their 2013 convention in Kingsport, the legislation passed the House of Representatives in 2014 with near unanimous GOP support.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Time to Repeal the Hall Tax!

Brian Kelsey
By Senator Brian Kelsey - Last week I filed legislation which would repeal the Hall tax next year. As you probably know, the Hall tax is a 6% tax on interest and dividends. This past session I proposed legislation that would have phased out the tax over three years. Better to abolish the tax next year. 

The Hall tax especially hurts our seniors and those who have saved for their retirement, as almost half of those who pay the tax are 65 or older. Not only that, nearly 9 of 10 individuals who pay the tax have less than $34,000 per year in investment income.

Now is the time to repeal the Hall tax forever. Opponents of repealing the tax have prevailed in past sessions by claiming there was not enough state revenue to off-set repeal. That objection is off the table this year.

Tennessee has a $600 million surplus in over-collections, and the Hall tax brings in only $167 million in state revenue each year. Economists project that at least half of this year's budget surplus will be available in future years to "pay" for the repeal without any cuts necessary.

For example, University of Memphis economist Dr. John Gnuschke recently stated, "While substantial budget fluctuations occur, the natural growth of state tax collections should exceed $300 million. Over collections could exceed $300 million as long as state spending is held in check."

I, for one, intend to hold state spending in check. All lawmakers who believe in limited government should commit to giving this money back to the taxpayers before spending it on pet projects. Many such projects have already been proposed, but Republican supermajorities should reject them in favor of tax cuts.

We can no longer rest on our laurels from 2012. That year, the legislature repealed the gift tax, reduced the sales tax on groceries, and phased out the inheritance tax over four years. That phase out will be complete January 1, 2016. The logical next step in Tennessee tax relief is to repeal the Hall tax effective January 1, 2017.

A final objection to repealing the Hall tax comes from local government. An additional $90 million in Hall tax revenue is shared with the city in which the taxpayer resides or the county if the area is unincorporated. As you might expect, some cities receive far more of this revenue than others. Cities and counties should decide among themselves how to distribute their share of the revenue, and the state should send that money back to local government. Tennessee can afford repeal of the Hall Tax next year without cutting one dime from state or local government.

This legislation won't be voted on until the General Assembly reconvenes in January, but I hope you will let your state legislators know now how you feel about this tax.

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1st Tuesday guest Zach Wamp representing Sen. Maro Rubio

From Tim Skow: 

1ST TUESDAY members and friends

The pace of politics is revving up over the next week !

On Monday...OCT 26th... 
Lt. Gov Ron Ramsey joins our friends at TN Republican Minority Coalition and Latinos for TN for what will certainly be an informative look at what is coming in the 2016 Legislative session.
[ see invite below ] 

On Wednesday...OCT 28th...
The REPUBLICAN DEBATE WATCH Party is at the Four Points by Sheraton. Free tasty eats till 6:30pm....and an extended Happy Hour.
Especially those interested in being a Convention Delegate will want to be there! - 760 Old Hickory Blvd - 2 blocks of I-65S - the Brentwood exit

THEN... MONDAY... Nov 2nd... 1ST TUESDAY welcomes Congressman Zach Wamp representing Sen. Marco Rubion...and TN Commissioner of ECD representing Gov. Jeb Bush for what will surely be a VERY lively presidential primary exchange !!
[reserve seating at ]     

PASS the word !!  
Look forward to seeing you soon.

Tim Skow

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Building a rock quarry within 200 feet of Old HIckory Dam seems like a stupid idea and should be stopped.

I am not an engineer or an attorney and I  don't have all the facts, but the project underway by Industrial Land Developers to build a rock quarry next to Old Hickory Dam seems like a really stupid idea.  When I served in the Council, the district I represented did not have a rock quarry but I sat next to a member of the Council who did represent a district with a quarry and he told me he got constant complaints about people's homes being damaged from blasting at the quarry. Many of these people lived blocks away.   I know that blasting for construction or road building can cause damages blocks away from where the blasting occurs.

No one wants a rock quarry in their neighborhood.  A rock quarry is as about as welcome as a landfill or a prison. Not only must people risk having their foundations damaged from blasting, but noise, dust, and oversize trucks constantly running up and down the roads makes for an unpleasant situation. Opposition to the proposed Old Hickory rock quarry however is more than just a case of not-in-my-backyard.  If blasting at the rock quarry should cause the 60 year old Old Hickory Dam to fail, downtown Nashville could flood and lives could be lost.

Land clearing has already started on the project and apparently, without proper approval. Here is an excerpt from, and link to, a News Channel 5 story:

OLD HICKORY, Tenn. - Despite efforts by residents and city officials in the Old Hickory area, work on the proposed rock quarry seemed to have moved forward, but was it legal?
Those who oppose the quarry claimed the work being done was not authorized. Work crews were working on the site Thursday afternoon to clear the land. State officials were also on the property doing their own investigation.(link)
Congressman Jim Cooper writing in The Tennessean says the situation is dangerous but the Federal options for stopping it are few and the State has not adopted laws to stop the project and even if they were do so now, the quarry would be vested and it is unlikely new State laws could stop the construction. (link)

I did not see the bills as significant when reading the last agenda of the Council and did not know they were aimed at a current problem, but the Council has two bills under consideration that may slow or stop the construction but it is unclear they would accomplish that objective. If the Council does pass them, there will most likely be a legal challenge by the developer. (link)

The Council bills that would address this issue were before the Metro Planning Commission on October 22, 2015. To view the discussion skip to time stamp 30:00 in the video below. Councilman Larry Hagar, Representative Bill Beck and Councilman Bret Withers and several residence address the Commission in favor of the bills. Attorney Tom White, a long time lobbyist who often represents developers, speaks in favor of the bills. He argues the owners have a "vested right" to develop the quarry. Councilman Hagar, who is also an attorney, refutes the "vested rights" argument. The staff attorney for the Planning Commission says a court would likely find the developer has "vested right" as regards to the bill that would prohibit mineral extraction.  The bills are recommended by the Planning Commission.

To stay abreast of developments surrounding this issue you may want to "like" the Stop The Old Hickory Lake Quarry Facebook page.

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1st Tuesday to feature Bush vs Rubio, Nov. 2nd

From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY members and friends:


Breaking NEWS.... BUSH vs RUBIO .........on Monday ... Nov 2nd 
CRUZ vs TRUMP ........on Tuesday... Dec 1st
 AND.... JAN may bring us the biggest surprise of ALL !!!

In just 4 months, Tennessee voters will determine whose presidential candidacy dreams get a boost.... and whose dreams likely have died. 1ST TUESDAY is bringing in leaders of the campaigns you will want to hear from most before the "SEC Primary" is March 1st.

Got your questions ready ? ..... [especially for the candidates you've got concerns about ????]  

Coming MONDAY... [yes... this Monday] ... Nov 2nd, TN Congressman Zach Wamp will represent Sen. Marco Rubio. Bill Hagerty, TN Commissioner of ECD and National Fundraising Chairman for Mitt Romney's campaign, will represent Gov. Jeb Bush. 

TN is "a Mission Critical State".

Rubio's campaign has 1 of the 3 premiere organizations in TN. Bush's campaign is backed by much of the TN political power structure. Multiple candidates have MUCH at stake and are pouring resources into TN. In short, TN is going to be a focal point for several campaigns that are pouring resources in for the "SEC PRIMARY"

Make plans to join us for what will be a fascinating and important 1ST TUESDAY event ! 

 As usual, we will meet at WALLER Law - 511 Union St. 27th floor. Doors open at 11AM for Coffee and Social time. Lunch, at 11:30, is $20 for 2015 Members and $25 for Guests with our program starting at NOON sharp. Secure seating at and click on "Join Us". Remember: parking is just $5 under the building !!


See you on MONDAY, November 2nd ! 

Tim Skow

PS - remember - 2016 annual dues are due. Priority seating goes to 2016 Members when events are certain to SELL-OUT For those who wish to contribute $50 or more to the TNNG Toy Fund Drive that our Nashville Republican Women help sponsor each year, please send your checks to my attention at Box 1233 Brentwood, TN. For supporting the TNNG, 2016 dues are waived and new 2016 name tags will be ready Monday, Nov. 2nd !!

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Former aide Saltsman vindicated by Tennessee Court of Appeals

by Andy Sher, Times Free Press, Oct. 25, 2015, NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Court of Appeals last week upheld the dismissal of a nearly 5-year-old defamation lawsuit filed by former state GOP Executive Director Mark Winslow against U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., and his 2010 campaign manager, John "Chip" Saltsman.

The suit grew out of the 3rd Congressional District's bitter 2010 GOP primary, a multicandidate slugfest in which Winslow managed the campaign of former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Robin Smith.

Fleischmann eked out a victory over Smith. In January 2011, Winslow filed suit against Saltsman and the state Republican Party. He charged he had been defamed in Fleischmann campaign ads and by Saltsman's public comments.

Winslow also charged the state Republican Party violated confidential agreements on a buyout. Fleischmann was added later to the lawsuit. The state GOP settled out of court in 2013.

In dismissing the case, Appellate Judge David Dinkins wrote that "because Mr. Fleischman and Mr. Saltsman demonstrated that the undisputed facts negate the element of actual malice which is essential to the defamation and false light claims, we affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment."

....The judges also noted a July 19, 2010, radio interview on Chattanooga station WGOW when Saltsman stated Winslow "was paid out of the Republican Party funds for three months while he was working for Robin Smith"s campaign. So, in fact, he was getting party funds to work on her congressional campaign.". (link)

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cruz Announces 57 Additions to Tennessee Leadership Team, Totaling 84 Conservative Leaders

Ted Cruz 2016 Press Release, HOUSTON, Texas - Presidential candidate Ted Cruz today announced the expansion of his Tennessee Leadership Team, with new endorsements from nine state legislators and 48 pastors, grassroots leaders, and elected officials. These new additions join 27 leaders previously announced, bringing the campaign’s state leadership team to a total of 84 members.
“Our Tennessee team continues to grow and demonstrate the commitment to fighting for conservative principles,” said Cruz. “I’m encouraged by the new members of the team who have passionately defended liberty and will help us compete and win the state of Tennessee.”
New endorsements include former House Speaker Pro-Tempore Judd Matheny, former talk radio host Steve Gill, and the president of the Tennessee Pastors Network Dale Walker.
New State Leadership Team members:

Rep. Judd Matheny, 47th District, former House Speaker Pro-Tempore and Coffee County Republican Party Chairman

Rep. Sheila Butt, 64th District, House Majority Floor Leader

Rep. Kelly Keisling, 38th District, House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee Chairman

Rep. Mike Sparks, 49th District, Vice Chair of the House Local Government Committee

Rep. Courtney Rogers, 45th District, House Transportation Committee Vice Chair, Retired Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force, and Nuclear Advisor

Rep. Micah Van Huss, 6th District, House Criminal Justice Committee Vice Chair, Retired Marine Sniper

Rep. Jerry Sexton, 35th District, House Majority Assistant Floor Leader, Pastor

Rep. Jay Reedy, 74th District, U.S. Army Veteran

Rep. Jason Zachary, 14th District, Americomm Principal and Executive Vice President

Steve Gill, former Host of The Steve Gill Show

Dana Gill, Williamson County

Tina Benkiser, Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committeewoman, former Republican Party of Texas Chairman, former Senior Advisor to Gov. Rick Perry

Lynne Davis, Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committeewoman

Scott Smith, Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committeeman

Chris Thompson, former Mayor of Byrdstown, former Pickett County Republican Party Chairman

John Uitendaal, Dyer County Legislative Body Chairman

Rob Mathis, Cocke County Trustee

Reggie Howard, Fayette County Commissioner

Richard Daniel, Pickett County Executive

Josh Stites, former Nashville Metro Councilman

Ben Graham, Tennessee Pastors Network Vice Presdient, Pastor of Music City Baptist Church

David Baker, Pastor of the Family Baptist Church

Dale Walker, President of the Tennessee Pastors Network, Pastor of Union Hill Wesleyan Church

Kevin Burden, Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church

Rob Bremer, retired Pastor, past Chairman of the Sevier County Tea Party

Phil Hauser, Assistant Pastor, Fellowship Community Church

Roger Burks, Treasurer/Secretary of the Tennessee Pastors Network

Paul Grant, Ruling Elder, Faith Presbyterian Church

Sharon Strange, past President of Republican Women of Williamson County

Dr. Aaron Margulies, President of the Republican Jewish Coalition of Knoxville

David Baldovin, former Chairman, Moore County Republican Party

Lynn Moss, Co-Founder and Board Member, Mid-South Tea Party

Janice Johnson, former Legislative Director of the Tennessee Christian Coalition

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, President of Proclaiming Justice To the Nations, and Special Envoy to the UN for the World Council of Independent Christian Churches

Richard Archie, West Tennessee Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, Chairman of the 8th District Tea Party Coalition

Lana Smith, past President of the Sullivan County Republican Women

Edward Phillips, former Campaign Manager for Rep. Mark Pody and Rep. Joe Carr

Kevin Baigert, Sumner County

Laura Baigert, Sumner County

Lucy Overstreet, Leader of the Madison County Tea Party

Claire Crouch, past President of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women

Ed Smith, former Davidson County District 34 Republican Chairman, Bronze Star recipient

Craig Reasor, former Field Director for Rep. Jason Zachary

Judson Phillips, Founder of Tea Party Nation and Columnist for the Washington Times

Bob Miles, Executive Board Member of the Cross County Patriots Tea Party

Greg Johnson, former Vice President and Treasurer of the 912 Project Tennessee

Aaron Snodderly, former State Chairman of Tennessee Young Republican Federation and Chairman of the Cumberland County Republican Party

Mel Canterbury, Chairman of the Sevier County Tea Party

Michaele Ann Swiderski, Polk County

William Swiderski, Polk County

Bryan Baskin, former Middle Tennessee Volunteer Coordinator for Santorum for President

Theresa West, Chair of the Knoxville Tea Party

Debbie Deaver, Board Member, Republican Women of Williamson County

Walter Lounsbery, past President of the Anderson County Tea Party Patriots

Penny Chastain, Humphreys County

Andrew Anderson, former Campaign Manager for Rep. Bryan Terry and Rep. Joe Carr

Matthew Studd, Chapter Leader of the Tennessee Firearms Association

Previously announced leadership team members:
Kevin Kookogey, State Chair
Stephen Siao, State Director
Joe Carr, former State Representative
Ben Cunningham, President of the Nashville Tea Party
Myra Simons, Board President of the Yes on 1 Campaign
Julie West, President of Parents for Truth in Education
Lyndon Allen, Pastor of Woodmont Bible Church
Mark West, President of the Chattanooga Tea Party
Tommy Vallejos, Montgomery County Commissioner, Pastor
James Amundsen, Williamson County
Charlie Cato, former Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committeeman
Bob Crigger, Maury County
Kim Dahlgren, past President of the Washington County Republican Women
Dr. Lee Douglas, Founder of 912 Project Tennessee
Karen Entz, former Vice Treasurer for the Williamson County Republican Party
Hope Foulds, Knox County
Michelle Garcia, Rutherford County
Frank Gorgie, Political Science Professor
Grant Hubbard, Vice President for National Promotion at Capitol CMG
Katherine Hudgins, former Vice President of the 912 Project Tennessee
Kyle Mallory, former Chairman of the Stewart County Republican Party
John Miles, Chairman of the Union City Planning Commission and Chairman of the Obion County Tea Party
Steve Osborn, past Chairman of the Sevier County Tea Party
Rob Thacker, Pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church
Jim Vesper, former Newt Gingrich County Coordinator
Mick Wright, former President of the Northeast Shelby Republican Club
Michael Zinser, President of the Zinser Law Firm, P.C.

Comment: The names in bold red type face were emphasized by me to call attention to local conservative activist of note. 

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TSU gunfire in a gun-free zone kills one, wounds several.

Metro Government Press Release - Surveillance video from Tennessee State University cameras made available to the MNPD Friday night shows at least two persons fired shots in the outside courtyard of the Floyd-Payne Campus Center Thursday.
MNPD technical experts were able to access and analyze the surveillance video after physically removing cameras from the TSU campus Friday night and bringing them to police headquarters where the recorded data was removed.
One video clip, linked below in normal speed and slow motion, shows two gunmen firing at a third individual.  Detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the two shooters in the video clip.  Anyone who knows their identities is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.  Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward of $6,000 ($5,000 of which is being made available by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms). 
At this point in the investigation, it has not been determined whether Cameron Selmon, who was fatally wounded, was responsible for any gunfire.
Surveillance video shows that at least half a dozen individuals made cellphone still pictures or video recordings of a fight that immediately preceded the gunfire.  Anyone who has those photos or recordings is asked to contact Detective Melody Saxon at 615-862-7805.

My Comment: I thought all State College campuses were gun-free zones.

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Maybe the Social Studies standards that make an Islamic textbook necessary is the real problem.

I recently posted about the uproar by parents in White County about what has been called "Islamic indoctrination" of their children (link). I said in that post that I did not know the truth about what was being reported and had not read the textbook in question but I doubted school board members and educators in White County had an agenda to indoctrinate kids in Islamic theology and I said I suspected the truth of what was going on was somewhere between an excess of naive liberal political correctness and bigotry. 

I still have not read the textbook in question and still think the charge that kids are being indoctrinated may be a bit strong.  However, the textbook in question may be inappropriate. It can be inappropriate without being part of plot to turn little Johnny into an Islamic terrorist. Not only may the textbook be inappropriate but the standards that make such a textbook necessary may to be a bigger problem.

Michael Patrick Leahy in a piece in Britbart News  quotes a teacher by the name of Kyle Mallory who has many years experience teaching social studies and who sits on the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission. Mr. Mallory opposed the adoption of the current Social Studies standards. “These [new Social Studies] standards are not appropriate for seventh grade," he says. "We need to revert back to the old standards. They were very comprehensive and at grade level."

Here is an excerpt from The Britbart News article:

In contrast to the current seventh grade standards, which deal with World History and Geography exclusively during the period 400 AD to the 1500s, (an approach more often associated with high school or college curriculum), the previous standards provided a very broad overview of cultural, economic, geographic, governance and civics, and historical issues that have shaped our current world.

All major religions – Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam – were briefly summarized in the old standards. Students were introduced to the complexity of the various cultures in the world at an “age appropriate” level of detail.

In contrast, only Islam is given detailed attention in the new standards. In fact, as Breitbart News reported previously, 13 percent of the learning objectives of the current standards (10 out of 75) are devoted to instructing students on both the tenets and history of Islam.
That in itself is a concern. Why should only Islam be given detailed attention.  Even if the textbook is not biased, if an inappropriate amount of time is given to the study of Islam, then other areas of study are being ignored.

Mallory says there is a serious problem in counties that have not yet purchased the textbook in question.  In those counties, teachers are going to the internet and printing off material to use in their class that support the standards. Some of that material may be material that originates with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  Mallory also points out that, “Many teachers teaching seventh grade are sixth to eighth grade certified, not content teachers.”

I share that general criticism of education, beyond just this topic. Many teacher are not scholars in their topic of study and they have been taught how to teach but may not know any more about the topic they are charged with teaching than the parents of their students or the average man on the street. The teachers may not be able to select objective material or judge biased material or know very little about the topic they are teaching. If teachers are just downloading material from the internet and using it in their classroom, I can see how that could be a real problem.

I stand by my opinion that bigotry may be partly responsible for the charge that children are being indoctrinated in Islam.  A few years ago we saw  bigotry at play when people in Murfressboro fought to stop local Muslims from building a mosque simply because it was a mosque and we also saw it in play when Governor Haslam was accused of trying to impose Sharia law on Tennessean simply because the Department of Commerce hired a well-qualified Tennessean who happened to be a Muslim.

While bigotry and prejudice may be at play in getting people riled up, that does not mean that the textbook in question may not also be biased or inappropriate, and perhaps more importantly, that the social study standards are inappropriate.

While Mr. Mallory has made a good case that the Social Studies standards are inappropriate, I still do not know what is in the text book in question that is objectionable. If anyone has examined it, I would like to see examples of what concerns them and what bias they found.

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Mayor Barry and Will Pinkston on State Bd of Ed approves two MNPS rejected Charter Schools.

In today's Tennesseen stories of the State Board of Education approving two of the four public schools denied a charter by Metro, what happens next is explained. The local school board must now decide if they will charter the schools or if the State Board will become the authorizer. Either way the two schools will open.  The law provides that following the State approval there will be a 30-day reconciliation period.

Will Pinkston says the law permitting the State to charter schools will be legally challenged. He says if the Metro School Board will not challenge the law, "I know a group of parents and educators interested in a lawsuit."

It should be noted that Metro rejected four charter applications and the State only approved two of the four that were rejected and both of those were KIPP schools.  The State is not just automatically approving ever denied charter application.  This action by the state was the first time the board has acted to approved a charter application denied by the local school board since the law was adopted.

In response to the  actions of the State in approving the charter school applications, Mayor Barry said that while she prefers more local control over education she respects the decision by the
State Board to approve the charters.

To read the stories in The Tennessean, if you can climb their paywall, follow these link:
Barry 'respects' state board's approval of KIPP charters
KIPP Nashville wins appeal, can open 2 new schools

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Friday, October 23, 2015

House of Representatives votes to undo the damage of Obamacare

Marsha Blackburn
by U. S. Congressman Marsha Blackburn - House Republicans made good on their promise to repeal Obamacare by 240-189. Today was a victory for all Americans as the House passed legislation that will undo the damage done under Obamacare and repeal key parts of the law. The Administration recently cut in half the projections for how many people will be enrolled in Obamacare next year. They obviously know that enrollment will be much less than they promised in the past and they are in damage control mode as the death spiral begins.

Nine of 23 Obamacare co-ops, including Tennessee’s, have now failed, at a cost of nearly $1 billion for taxpayers. States have spent $5.5 billion federal taxpayer dollars to build state exchanges with little to no oversight. Now, with the failures of those state exchanges, what are the plans for those “loans” to be repaid? All of these recent findings are making the disastrous HealthCare.Gov roll out look like a speed bump.

H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act guts the law with the most infamous misnomer – the Affordable Care Act. This bill repeals the individual mandate, the employer mandate, the Cadillac tax, the medical device tax, ends auto-enrollment, and ends the public health slush fund. H.R. 3762 is a net tax cut, net spending cut, and reduces the deficit. This is a win-win-win solution to gut Obamacare so we can replace it with patient-focused reforms that provide access to affordable health care for all Americans

Additionally, H.R. 3762 places a one year moratorium on the funding of Planned Parenthood while Congress completes its investigation of the practices of the abortion industrial complex. I am pleased to be leading the new Select Investigative Panel at the Committee on Energy and Commerce to review medical procedures and abortions business practices. No issue is more deserving of our undivided attention than protecting the dignity of human life.

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Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Rep. Fleischmann In Mark Winslow Lawsuit

Mark Winslow
Mark Winslow, the member of the Tennessee Republican Executive Committee who actively works to elect Democrats while sitting on the Executive Committee of the State Republican party and Davidson County Republican Party and gets to vote on whether or not to fund Republican candidates and who has access to Republican strategies, has lost his lawsuit against against Congressman Chuck Fleischmann. In a ruling today, the Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against Congressman Chuck Fleischmann by Mark Winslow who was a former GOP chief of Staff. (link)

The controversy stems from a 2010 incident in which Fleischmann criticized his opponent Robin Smith in the Republican primary for the nomination for the 3rd Congressional District seat, for paying lavish bonuses to Winslow and other staff member when she had served as Chair of the Tennessee Republican Party. Winslow sued claiming the ad contained false and defamatory statements.

The Court ruled that the statements were not false or capable of defamatory meaning or published with actual malice, and that they took no action to induce a breach of contract or otherwise interfere with the relationship between Mr. Winslow and the Tennessee Republican Party. Winslow appealed that ruling and today, the Court of Appeals upheld that ruling.

It is a mystery to me, why the State Republican Party continues to allow Winslow a seat on the State Republican Party Executive Committee. As long as Winslow holds his position on the State Executive Committee, I am withholding contributions from the State Party. Winslow's holds a seat on the Davidson County Party by virtue of his seat on the State Executive Committee, and the County Party cannot remove him. For more on Mark Winslow and his role in helping to elect Democrats while serving on the Executive Committee of the Republican Party, follow this link.

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Tennessee State Board of Education grants charter to two schools on appeal from MNPS

Today the Tennessee State Board of Education voted unanimously to approve two charter school applications from KIPP Nashville.  This historic vote represents the first instance in which the State Board of Education has granted a charter appeal since the General Assembly empowered the body with the final authority to overturn denied applications from districts with Priority Schools in 2014.   

KIPP had previously appealed the applications to the State Board after being denied by a narrow vote of the Metro Nashville Public School Board in August.  In their decision, members of the State Board determined that the MNPS Board had not acted in the best interests of the district's students in denying the applications.  The State Board also found that the addition of KIPP's charter schools would not, contrary to the claim of  some MNPS Board members, impose any significant negative fiscal impact on the district.

This is great news!  Opponents of education reform can not stop charter schools! Those satisfied with mediocre schools and low student exceptions are on the losing end of this battle to improve education.

Upon hearing news of the vote, StudentsFirst Tennessee State Director Brent Easley remarked, "Today's historic vote by the Tennessee State Board of Education signals the beginning of a new chapter of accountability for districts in their charter authorizing decisions.  With their votes, State Board members have also affirmed that improving student access to quality seats remains a fundamental public imperative for school districts across the state.  Thanks to crucial legislation adopted by the General Assembly in 2014, the Board may now provide a fair and impartial second look at charter applications and render an honest verdict that best serves the interests of students, not frivolous local political agendas."

The decision comes on the heels of a recent poll from Vanderbilt University which found that 63% of Nashville residents, including 71% of parents, said they favored opening more charter schools.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dr. Ming Wang to receive Peace Award

Dr. Ming Wang
Dr. Ming Wang, Harvard &. MIT (MD, magna cum laude); PhD (laser physics), will be awarded the Peace Award, on Thur 10/22 5:30pm, at City Club, by Atlantic Institute - TN, a non-profit organization and the largest organization representing Turkish-Americans in the State of Tennessee. This award is given to Dr. Wang for his service to the community.

My Comment: Congratulation!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What did the Council do on Oct. 20,2015: Council leadership positions elected. Karen Johnson elected Pro Tem.

This is a relatively short meeting at 53 minutes long. For a link to the agenda, the Council staff analysis and my commentary, follow this link. 

The first order of business following the prayer and pledge of allegiance are a couple of a non-controversial memorializing resolutions. These were not listed on the agenda. What is going on? There was no explanation. While this occurrence of consideration of memorializing resolutions not listed on the agenda was not a problem, memorializing resolutions are often very political. Consideration of resolutions not on the agenda is a dangerous practice. 

The next order of business was Elections and Confirmations. Karen Johnson was elected in an uncontested election to the position of Speaker Pro Tem. She will be the council member who conducts meetings in the absence of the Vice Mayor. Karen Johnson is one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet and I think that was a good choice. If I were in the Council, I would have supported her. 

In a contested elections between Steve Glover and Burkley Allen, Allen was elected to the position of Chair of the Planing, Zoning and Historical Committee of the Council which also gives her a seat on the Planning Commission. She has worked hard to advance bills such as Nashville's DADU ordinance, in-home recording studios, authorization of temporary vacation rentals and others. These type bills are complex and controversial and require a lot of work on the part of the Council member. I really like Steve Glover and admire the stand he has taken on some controversial issues but I think this was a good choice for this position.

Jason Potts was selected in an uncontested election to head the Traffic and Parking Committee of the Council which also gives him a seat on the Traffic and Parking Commission. Council members John Cooper and Bob Mendes were elected unopposed to seats on the Audit Committee.

 Several people were nominated to fill seats on the Industrial Development Board. I lost count but it looks like eight or nine people were nominated to fill four vacancies. The election from among the nominees to fill the positions will occur at the November 3, 2015 council meeting. Members of this board control a lot of money.  Ms.Talia Lomax-O’dnea was confirmed as Finance Director.

All resolutions and bills on First and Second reading pass.  Michael F. Jameson's employment  as Special Counsel and Director of the Metro Council Office is approved. There were no controversies or much discussion of any of the legislation. I would like to have seen some opposition to RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-25 which simply forgave and overpayment of a pension to an employee but it didn't happen. I think overpayments should be repaid but on very generous terms.

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Citizen's riled in White County over Islamic indoctrination.

SPARTA, Tenn. -- About 350 concerned citizens gathered at a church in White County upset about a textbook. They want the school board to get rid of a 7th grade history book that they believe promotes Islamic indoctrination.
 "It is our time, it is our place to stop it here," said Steve Gill, a speaker at the event. (link)

I don't know what the truth is about reported Islamic indoctrination in White County but people are certainly riled up.  I have not read the textbook in question, but I doubt many of those at the church in Sparta have either.  Tennessee Eagle Forum has devoted the last couple days of its newsletter to the issue. To view the newsletter and learn Eagle Forum's take on the controversy, follow this link

I support public and parental involvement in public education and think education is too important to be left up to educators. We know the majority of educators are liberal as evidenced by the role of the National Education Association in Democrat Party politics. Even liberals however, I do not think, have an agenda to indoctrinate kids in Islamic theology.

I do think however the agenda of promoting people being non-judgmental and politically correct may distort what and how educators teach. They may be so devoted to a why-can't-we-all-just-get-along attitude, a belief that all views are equally valid, possess an Obama-like attitude of apology for America's role in the world, and believe that if we would just be more respectful and understanding of other people that they would not do bad things, that promoting that belief system amounts to bending over backwards to present Islam in a favorable light and ignoring Islamic fanaticism. I doubt educators are indoctrinating kids in Islamic theology, but I don't doubt that they are indoctrinating them in a liberal world view and that may be almost as bad.

On the other hand, there are ignorant people who don't want their children to be exposed to other cultures and faiths and other points of view. There are people who think all of Islam is represented by Al Qaeda and ISIS's and they don't want anyone pointing out that most of the world's Muslims are not terrorist. There are people who think their view of Islam is more accurate than that of Islamic scholars. 

In World War II there were many who thought rounding up and imprisoning Americans of Japanese descent was a good idea.  That way of thinking has not disappeared.  If  today it was proposed that all Muslim be put in concentration camps, I fear there would be many Americans who would support that proposal. There are people who support Freedom of Religion as long as it is their religion but think Muslims should not be allowed to build mosques in America.  Is is easy to fill a room by preaching xenophobia and Islamophobia and bigotry. I don't know what the truth is.  I suspect it is somewhere between an excess of naive liberal political correctness and bigotry. 

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    Update: More GOP Presidential Debate Watch Parties

    A RNC sanctioned debate will be held at the Coors Events Center at the University of Colorado Boulder and broadcast live on CNBC. There are several local debate watch parties around town. I think I am attending the one at the Sheraton Four Points in Bentwood.  I am not leaning toward Trump at this time, but it looks like this is the event most of my friends are attending. I am sure we uncommitted Republicans would be welcome at any of the events. Please follow the links and RSVP if that is requested.

    (1) Hosted by The Tennessee Republican Party. This invitation appears to be an open invitation:

    (2) Hosted by Rutherford County Conservatives, Latinos of Tennessee and promoted by the Ted Cruz team. If you want to be in the company of other Ted Cruz supporters to watch the debate, you may want to attend the Rutherford County Conservatives GOP debate watch party at Legends of Smyrna,  Wednesday, October 28 at 7:00pm. More info.  The website does not identify this debate watch party as a Ted Cruz event but an email from the Cruz campaign identifies it as such. Update: This is also the event for Latinos for Tennessee.

    (3) Hosted by Middle Tennessee for Donald Trump and promoted by Tim Skow of First Tuesday. This is the event I am attending. If you are a Donald Trump supporter and want to watch the debate with other Trumppies, then you may want to attend the Middle TN for Donald Trump  debate watch event at Four Points by Sheraton Nashville - Brentwood in Brentwood. Update: This event is also being promoted by Tim Skow. I am convinced that it is not a Trump-only event and everyone will be welcome.

    (4) Rand Paul watch party. Palinistas may want to attend the  Tennessee for Rand Paul event at  Dan McGuinness Nashville.

    If anyone knows of other debate watch parties, please send me the notice and I will add them to this list. 

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    Tuesday, October 20, 2015

    The New York Times' recent take on our local successes and challenges .

     Nashville's Skyline Being Rebuilt By Building Boom

    The New York Times, NASHVILLE — A powerful surge in construction is reshaping the physical character and economy of this 236-year-old river city, and fueling a deepening public conversation about essential civic values that many residents worry could be lost.

    More than 100 new projects, together valued at more than $2 billion, are underway in Nashville or planned to start next year, according to city figures. Most of the big projects —....(link)

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    Tenn. Gov. Haslam raises questions about 'religious doctrine' bill

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam is raising questions about a legislative proposal to ban Tennessee schools from teaching about "religious doctrine" before the 10th grade, saying it could have unexpected consequences.

    For instance, the Republican governor said the proposal could prevent younger students from learning why the Pilgrims decided to leave Europe.

    "I don't know how you talk about the founding of America, and what became of the United States, without talking about religious doctrine," Haslam told reporters last week. "Now, that's very different than indoctrinating, or teaching that doctrine as truth." (link)

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