Roane lawmaker could become lone ET voice on TVA board

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

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.

It appears TVA has caved on the citizens’ lawsuit over the program for tree-cutting under power lines. This lawsuit has been twice to the federal court of appeals under attorney Don Vowell’s direction, where his arguments have prevailed. TVA attorneys are finally acknowledging they have not complied with all aspects of the law.

■  The death of former state Sen. Doug Henry marks the end of an era. He was a true Southern Democrat from the old school. He served 40 years in the state Senate.

He truly believed that the two U.S. senators from each state were ambassadors to the U.S. Capitol as we are a union of 50 sovereign states. He chaired the Senate Finance Committee for many years. He and the late speaker John Wilder were close allies. When the Senate Democrats dropped Wilder, Henry joined the Republicans to keep Wilder in office.

When the Democrats dropped Bill Snodgrass as comptroller for Floyd Kephart in 1972, Henry and a few other Democrats sided with the Republicans to keep Snodgrass in office.

Henry’s integrity was unquestioned. His devotion to Tennessee history was remarkable.

■  Former vice mayor Joe Bailey, 59, says several people have urged him to look at running for Knoxville mayor in 2019, and he plans on doing just that. Interestingly, one other person seriously eyeing the mayor’s office lives almost directly across the street from Bailey on Kingston Pike. This is Eddie Mannis, 58, former deputy to Mayor Madeline Rogero. Bailey served eight years on council.

The two other potential candidates now are council members Marshall Stair, 39, and George Wallace, 59. Three of the four live in West Knoxville. Stair lives in North Knoxville on Armstrong Avenue. Two of the four are Republicans (Wallace and Bailey). Three of the four are within one year of each other in age. Stair is the youngest by 19 years.

■  State Rep. Eddie Smith, who chairs the Knox delegation, turns 38 on April 11, while Doris Sharp, wife of longtime former vice mayor of Knoxville Jack Sharp, turns 80 the same day. As second lady of Knoxville for 14 years, she was a vital part of her husband’s success.

■  The Polish Ambassador to the U.S., Piotr Wilczek, will speak next Wednesday afternoon, April 12, at the Howard Baker Center. The public is invited.

■  Former Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and his wife, Allison, have moved to Jefferson County to live on the lake in Dandridge, which is the county seat. They sold their home in Farragut.

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