Category Archives: Victor Ashe

Victor Ashe’s posts

A dearth of Democrats

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

City Council member and former mayor Daniel Brown turns 71 on Christmas Day. Brown, the first black mayor of Knoxville, might run for state representative against Rick Staples in 2018 in the Democratic primary. Staples was chosen as the Democratic nominee by 14 people without a primary and prevailed Nov. 8 over former state Rep. Pete Drew, who ran as an independent.

Staples needs to win a seriously competitive race to consolidate his political standing.

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UT set to escalate administrative salaries

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Beverly Davenport, likely to be approved as UT Knoxville chancellor by the UT Board of Trustees in a week, certainly knows how to cut herself a great salary deal at $585,000 a year plus $20,000 in annual housing allowance plus $20,000 in expenses plus $87,775 in annual bonus (likely to be approved, too) for a total package of $712,775 a year if it all comes together.

Some suggest she is taking a pay cut as it is less than the $615,000 she is making as interim president of the University of Cincinnati, but that is a different position from the Knoxville job, and while UT did not reveal what she made as provost, a quick check on Google shows that her salary was $200,000 less than her salary as interim president at UC. In other words, she really got a huge pay raise by coming to UTK.

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Hutchison may be enforcer for Trump

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

As the incoming Trump administration gets ready to take office Jan. 20, there will be a changeover in the U.S. attorneys and U.S. marshals across the country. Former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison is widely mentioned as becoming U.S. marshal. The position, along with the U.S. attorney, must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, which by tradition means Sens. Corker and Alexander will have to sign off on it to become effective.

Whoever it is, there must be vetting, an actual presidential nomination plus a vote by the Senate. It will be June 2017 before a new marshal and U.S. attorney actually take office, assuming there are no delaying issues.

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Looking toward 2019

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Donald Trump’s election guarantees the next city mayor’s election will be the fall of 2019. The county mayoral election will be in 2018 with the GOP primary in May, which may determine who actually wins in August, especially if the Democrats do not field any candidate.

Tim Burchett is term limited but is already mentioned as a possible candidate for Congress in 2018. But will recently re-elected U.S. Rep. John Duncan seek another term that year, too? Recently, Burchett’s name has surfaced as a candidate for governor as well.

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Funding, finally, for First Creek greenway

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

City Council has approved after five years of waiting $1.2 million for the First Creek greenway construction. This was a greenway promised by Mayor Rogero in her first budget message in 2011 and then quickly forgotten.

The past greenway coordinator had few achievements in her five years in Knoxville. Fortunately, she has left the city and moved to a related position in Chattanooga.

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Expect GOP pushback on Freeman

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

NOTE: Since this column was written prior to the Nov. 8 general election, it is not possible to comment on what happened. That will come in future columns.

Gov. Bill Haslam has announced 45 important appointments to the boards of six universities across the state. One name is triggering lots of talk among conservative GOP lawmakers.

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State GOP chief to hang it up

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Ryan Haynes will resign his post as state GOP chair a few weeks after the Nov. 8 election. Haynes, a former state legislator who represented Farragut and West Knox County, has been unhappy with the position. He is a more policy-oriented person and does not like the internal GOP politics on the state executive committee. He was also blindsided by Gov. Bill Haslam’s rejection of Donald Trump, which fell on him to explain.

When Gov. Haslam repudiated Trump, the party headquarters was swamped with irate Republican calls and Haynes was attacked, too. He received only six hours’ notice on the Haslam move to prepare when it hit the media.

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Alvin Nance seeks old job

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Alvin Nance, former executive director of KCDC who left to work for Lawler Wood Housing Partners, has applied for his old job back at Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation as Art Cate is retiring as director. Nance will have to compete with at least 38 other applicants, and the process will likely go into 2017. If he prevails, this will be the first time the same person has served twice as KCDC chief.

Nance was highly regarded at KCDC and would be a safe and respected choice for another tour. He would not need on-the-job training. He also would not be running for mayor in a special election in 2017 or the regular election in 2019.

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Kudos to David Butler

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

David Butler, 61, is the longest-serving director of the Knoxville Museum of Art which has been in its current headquarters for 26 years. He recently completed a decade of service with significant achievements.

Butler came to Knoxville in 2006 from Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University in Kansas. He feels his greatest achievement has been getting the current Museum home renovated, correcting several serious deferred-maintenance issues. Over $6 million was raised including funding for the Cycle of Life by Richard Jolley, given by Steve and Ann Bailey.

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Megan Barry’s ‘strategy for Democrats’

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Nashville’s Democratic Mayor Megan Barry continues to garner national attention in her first year as mayor.

The Economist magazine had an extensive article last month suggesting her approach may be “a strategy for Democrats elsewhere.” While she is more liberal than many Tennesseans, she has struck a chord among Davidson County residents and she may be heard from statewide in the next several years.

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