State paid $46K for logo while paying $293K for graphic designers
Tennessee’s most powerful politician
In a press event Wednesday, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Mancini and fellow Democrats again asked Haslam to call a special legislative session for Insure Tennessee, the governor's proposal to provide federally funded health insurance to hundreds of thousands of low-income Tennesseans.
"This Republican legislature has abdicated its responsibility to the people of the state by refusing to pass Insure Tennessee," Mancini said during a press conference.
State Senate committees rejected the plan during a special legislative session in February and during the regular legislative session. After the second defeat, Haslam said it would be "way preliminary" to talk about calling another special session.
"We have to show that something's changed. And by that either it means that we've changed some legislators' minds or there's a different part of the proposal that either wasn't understood or we didn't clarify, and then we can do that," Haslam told The Tennessean in April. LINK
Tennessee’s most powerful politician
Ramsey uses ‘system’ to reshape state’s political landscape
Political foes say Ramsey’s unwillingness to back Insure Tennessee is just one example of how he puts too much emphasis on party politics.
“He’s just forgotten where he came from. It’s just party, party, party. If you’re not a Republican, you’re nothing. He forgot about the people,” says John McKamey, a Democrat who ran against Ramsey for state Senate in 2004 and sought the party’s gubernatorial nomination in 2014.
The retired educator and former Sullivan County mayor says he’s known Ramsey all his life.
“He was always a very likable person. After he got elected, he seemed to change. He was just a common man and cared about common people, was born in the middle class, and it just seems like now he cares more about party than he does people,” McKamey adds.
Thousands of people in Sullivan County and the rest of Senate District 4 would benefit from Insure Tennessee, McKamey says, adding the injection of more than $2 billion into the state economy from the federal government would bolster hospitals and local governments, enabling them to reap more sales tax revenue and avoid raising property taxes.
“He brags about turning Tennessee. And, of course, he did have a lot to do with it. They had a lot of money from some of these super-rich people in the state, and not only in the state but out of state,” McKamey adds.
“They had the money to do it. They went out and recruited people to run for the Senate and the House, and they paid the bill.”
Bruce Dotson, chairman of the Sullivan County Democratic Party, is no fan of Ramsey, either. Though he’s had little contact with the lieutenant governor, Dotson says people think Ramsey is “arrogant” and has let his position “go to his head.”
“He seems to be more focused on the money that is in the campaigns, the money that can be accumulated through the political structure than he is on helping the people, particularly poor people and the working poor in particular,” Dotson notes.
Dotson contends Ramsey opposed improvements to worker’s compensation laws and increases to the minimum wage, in addition to Insure Tennessee, which would help more than 8,000 people in Sullivan County alone. LINK
State paid $46K for logo while paying $293K for graphic designersTennessee officials paid a private firm $46,000 to create a new state logo despite having eight graphic artists and designers on the state payroll at an annual cost of $293,000, according to Tennessee Watchdog.
According to a state employee salary search available online, three graphic designers and one graphic artist work for the state’s Department of General Services. Another graphic designer works for the Tennessee State Museum, two more work for the Department of Environment and Conservation and another works for the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Their salaries range from $2,486 to $4,127 a month. LINK
Julián Castro to be Featured Speaker at Honors DinnerThe Davidson County Democratic Party will honor Nashville’s premier advocates for inclusion and immigration reform at the Honors Dinner on July 10, 2015. The Honorable Julián Castro – the former mayor of San Antonio and a leader of the national Democratic Party – will be the event’s featured speaker.
“Julián Castro is a champion of equality for all Americans who has shown what Democrats can do to promote justice for our neighbors and make the American Dream attainable,” said Davidson County Democratic Party Chairman Gary Bynum. “We are thrilled to have him help us honor those who are doing this important work here in Nashville.”
According to Daniel Horwitz – this year’s Honors Dinner chairperson – several Nashvillians will receive awards for their work on behalf of immigrants and comprehensive immigration reform. “Nashville is blessed to have an abundance of local advocates who deserve to be recognized for their extraordinary advocacy on behalf of new Americans,” said Horwitz. “We look forward to honoring those individuals who have demonstrated exemplary service in making Nashville a city for all of us.” LINK
Will Democrats keep hammering the Kochs?
But the 2014 cycle revealed just how difficult it is to convince voters that candidates are unfit for office simply because they've benefited from donations from the Kochs.
Part of the problem is that the Kochs never became household names. Even as Democrats ratcheted up their attacks on the two men, half of Americans didn't recognize the names Charles and David Koch, according to a WSJ/NBC poll in April 2014. Despite the expensive campaign to demonize the businessmen, just 21% of the public had negative feelings toward the Kochs, the poll found.
In West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District, Democrats unleashed a torrent of ads slamming GOP candidate Evan Jenkins and the financial backing he received from the Kochs. Democrats lost their battle there -- Jenkins, a former state senator, defeated longtime Rep. Nick Rahall, 55% to 45%.
Andy Sere, a Republican strategist who advised Jenkins, said the slew of anti-Koch ads in the district ultimately did little to paint Jenkins in a negative light.
"Instead of using our guy's record to prosecute a case against him, they put all their eggs in a flimsy guilt-by-association attack that failed miserably, even in this strongly populist district," Sere said. "There were some ads where they spent 26 seconds talking about the Kochs and four seconds on Jenkins, which was fine by me."
Democrats acknowledge that the Koch strategy proved to be more potent in some races than others. A major takeaway from 2014 was that attacks against the Kochs resonate more deeply if they accuse the brothers and their business of directly hurting local constituents.
"If you talk about the Koch brothers as an amorphous, D.C. big money and politics, it's not a very effective message because people don't see how it affects them in their daily lives," said Eddie Vale, vice president of American Bridge, a Democratic super PAC. "But when you can connect it to people's lives, then it makes a lot more sense." LINK
Crockett Policy Institute