Another name being mentioned for the TVA board of directors is state Sen. Ken Yager from neighboring Roane County, who chairs the legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee. He is a former county mayor and would be an interesting choice given the massive TVA spill several years ago in Roane County. However, if nominated and confirmed he would have to resign his state Senate seat to serve. He cannot do both at the same time.
At present, there is no one from East Tennessee serving on the TVA board for the first time in recent memory.
State Sen. Doug Overbey, who is looking at a 2018 race for governor, says he “has strong reservations” on philosophical grounds over indexing the proposed gas tax increase without legislative action as recommended by Gov. Bill Haslam.
Indexing gas to the Consumer Price Index would place a gas tax increase on automatic pilot. This appears contrary to what most principled conservative lawmakers would favor in terms of voting each time a tax increases. It appears this provision will be dropped if the gas tax has a chance to pass.
State Republicans were relieved this month when Rep. Eddie Smith won re-election in state House District 13 by narrowly defeating Democrat Gloria Johnson.
It was a close race and Johnson was right not to concede on election night with so many provisional (paper) ballots pending. However, Johnson was wrong to seek a court order to try to obtain the names and addresses of provisional voters.
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.
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.
The District 13 race for state representative between Eddie Smith and Gloria Johnson has brought out an array of luminaries. We heard that the governor’s dad, Big Jim Haslam, talked at length about the importance of the race at an exclusive fundraiser for somebody else.
Gov. Bill Haslam is all over cable TV saying, “Come on, Knoxville. I need your help (for Smith).”
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.
In the days after the release of the “hot mic” video of Donald Trump bragging that he gropes women with impunity because he’s a star, Gov. Bill Haslam joined a couple dozen other Republican elected officials who declared their disgust and renounced their support of the GOP nominee. The reaction from the nominee’s committed supporters was predictable and harsh, causing some of the Trump critics (mostly members of Congress facing re-election contests) to renounce their renunciations.
Trump carried Tennessee handily in the GOP primary, and his supporters, who are numerous and loud, are furious at Haslam, whom they accuse of never liking Trump much anyhow (he supported Marco Rubio in the primary). Haslam hasn’t come back to Trump, but there’s not much Trump’s fans can do to the governor, who is term-limited and won’t have to face their wrath at the ballot box any time soon.