Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Crockett Institute Buzz for 6-24-14

Haslam: Lack of details of Asia trip not a big deal

Gov. Bill Haslam said he’s unsure what the big deal was last week when his office declined to give details of his trip to Asia.
Haslam spent two days last week in Tokyo, Japan and two days in Seoul, Korea meeting with company leaders in face-to-face meetings with CEOs about bringing their businesses to Tennessee.
“I’m not sure, quite frankly, how it turned into such a big secret. Like I said, in terms of sharing who we were meeting with, I don’t think we were ever going to do that because we don’t for obvious reasons. But I don’t know that the rest of it was a big secret,” he said. Click Here For More

Kingsport businessman Michael K. Locke killed in hit-and-run incident
Former TN State Representative and Kingsport businessman Michael K. Locke, 61, was killed about 8 p.m. Monday when he was struck by a vehicle while standing on the shoulder of the Fort Henry Drive bridge in Colonial Heights. The driver of the vehicle, James
D. Hamm Jr., of Kingsport, then fled the scene and was arrested a short time later.
Locke, chairman of the Bud Hulsey campaign for the Second U.S. House seat that he formerly held, was in process of placing a campaign sign when he was struck by a northbound 2003 GMC Yukon XL driven by Hamm, which veered from the traffic lane. The impact knocked Locke off of the bridge and into a ravine approximately 20 feet below, according to investigating Kingsport police. Click Here For More

Haslam Would Support Mandatory 12-Hour 'Cooling Off' Period for DV Suspects

It's not often you get a direct answer from Gov. Bill Haslam on...anything. Deciding where to go to dinner with the guy must be something: "Well, some people in the car are saying we should get Italian, but at the same time you have others saying, hey, why not Mexican? Both are valid arguments."
But we digress. When it comes to a proposal from House Speaker Beth Harwell and Rep. William Lamberth that would make the now-much-discussed 12-hour "cooling off period" mandatory for domestic violence suspects, Haslam says he "would definitely sign" such a bill.
Currently, the requirement for such suspects to be held in jail for 12 hours can be waived by a judge, as it was in the case of David Chase, who allegedly assaulted a woman for the second time in 24 hours following his early release. Our own Andrea Zelinski was there for an press avail today with Haslam where the topic came up.
"I think that makes sense," he said. "Again, I'm far from an expert on that, but from what I understand, it just feels like that's a common sense law." Click Here For More

2 emerge as leaders for Democratic Senate primary

For a political party that's sometimes struggled to field just one credible candidate for statewide election, Tennessee Democrats may have an embarrassment of riches in the 2014 U.S. Senate race.
Not just one but two candidates viewed as major players -- Terry Adams and Gordon Ball -- are running for the Democratic nomination in the Aug. 7 primary.
There are similarities: Adams, 43, and Ball, 65, are both attorneys, call Knoxville home and tout their respective hardscrabble starts in life, with Adams noting his father worked at a gas station.
Ball says his father once was a "guest" of the federal government as a convicted moonshiner.
And both claim to be best-suited to tackle incumbent U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander or another Republican, should state Rep. Joe Carr, of Lascassas, or Memphis physician and businessman George Flinn unseat Alexander in the GOP primary.
Both Democrats charge that Alexander has turned sharply right to placate conservative critics. They say he's not done enough for the middle class or veterans, favors abolishing the minimum wage, doesn't support equal pay for women. Click Here For More

Supreme Court Opponents Refuse To Identify Source Of Funds

A new group that's trying to help Republicans take control of Tennessee's Supreme Court says it's none of your business where they're getting their money.
That group may be the first hint of so-called "dark money" in the battle for the state's high court.
The group, Tennesseans for Judicial Accountability, professes to be a non-partisan, non-profit organization, but NewsChannel 5 Investigatesdiscovered serious questions about some of their claims.
"Right now, Phil, the Tennessee judiciary is not a democracy -- it's a hypocrisy," said TNJA President Grant Everett Starrett.
Starrett and J. Ammon Smart are two Republican lawyers who make up Tennesseans for Judicial Accountability. They are part of the organized opposition to three Democratic appointees to the Tennessee Supreme Court who face a vote in August over whether they should be retained.
Retired investment banker Mark Gill also helped form the group, and Gill has been working with Republicans on plans for a Senate hearing this week that, lawmakers say, will also focus on the same issue of  "judicial accountability." Click Here For More

The case for crossover voting

Knox County Democrats have a history of voting in Republican primaries. Many times (e.g. last month’s county primary races) Democrats field very few candidates, leaving races to be decided in the GOP primary, so it’s not particularly surprising that conscientious Democrats who want a say in who governs them sometimes check the box marked R.
Two years ago, in his first term as 7th District state senator, Stacey Campfield, who has a history of narrow primary victories over multiple opponents followed by smashing general-election wins, filed a bill to “close” primary elections by requiring voters to swear a loyalty oath before being allowed to pull the lever.
Meanwhile, Richard Briggs, with his solid-gold physician/military hero/ county commissioner/happily married guy resume, was already talking about running against him in 2014. It’s not hard to connect the dots.
Although Campfield told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press that he wanted to keep those bent on causing “havoc” out of GOP primaries, it’s a pretty safe bet the havoc he feared was going to be wreaked by Democrats voting in the Republican primary for the purpose of sending Stacey Campfield home.
That was before Cheri Siler, who also has her own solid-gold resume – mathematics teacher with two legit college degrees, happily married mother of six accomplished children who is not only “from here” but grew up helping her parents in their family-owned chain of family restaurants – announced as a candidate and gave Democrats a reason to hope.
But not a reason to stay home in the primary.
They shouldn’t give up the notion of crossing over and voting in the GOP primary since Siler is unopposed and will do just fine. What they need to do is get over there and vote for Campfield.
The district strongly favors Republicans, and Siler will have a tough battle in the November election. But her path will be easier against Campfield than against Dr. Col. Commissioner Briggs. Really, this should be a no-brainer. Meanwhile, Briggs must walk a careful line, attracting as many Republicans as possible while taking care not to offend others who may want to visit, just for Election Day. Click Here For More

The Cantor Effect: If the House Majority Leader Can Lose, it Gives Hope to Other Challengers

State Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, made the rounds in Washington last week and was a guest on Laura Ingraham’s radio show. He had interviews with Sean Hannity, Politico, and The Hill.
Washington is a place where Carr would like to raise some money in his primary race against U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander. Ingraham’s radio show is where a guy named Dave Brat raised his profile by being a frequent guest these past several months. Brat’s upset victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has given hope to challengers across the country and sent shivers down the spine of incumbents.
If it can happen to the House Majority Leader it can happen to anybody.
Some potential donors may be waiting for Tuesday’s runoff election where U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, who trailed in the primary, is widely believed to be in serious trouble. Click Here For More

Don’t Expect Same-Sex Benefits For Tennessee Workers Anytime Soon

In the last week, President Obama extended marriage benefits to federal employees in same-sex relationships. The Metro Council decided city employees can cover a domestic partner. But what about state workers in Tennessee?
Governor Bill Haslam says don’t expect action any time soon.

“To me that doesn’t feel like something that’s imminent. I just don’t think the legislature is there at all, and it’s not something we as an administration will be pushing either.”
Asked whether he personally supports extending benefits to same-sex couples, Haslam avoided saying “no.” He said, “that’s not something as an administration we’ve said we’re going to push.” Click Here For More

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