Monthly Archives: July 2017

TN politician comments on Congressman Duncan’s retirement

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett (via News Sentinel)

“I am grateful for Congressman Duncan’s friendship, and I appreciate the years of service he and his family have dedicated to our community… He has been a consistent, conservative voice for the 2nd District, and he’s represented us well. Few families have made a bigger impact in East Tennessee than the Duncan family, and I have no doubt they will continue to make a difference.

In an interview after Duncan’s announcement, Burchett declined to say whether he intends to run for Duncan’s seat. “I’ll still be making my announcement on Saturday,” he said. “I think it’s time we reflected on Congressman Duncan and his family’s service to our community.”

State Rep. Jimmy Matlock

“We just learned of the announcement by Congressman Jimmy Duncan not to seek another term of office. I can think of no one who has conducted himself in a more statesmanlike, humble manner. In over 30 years of working with him, I’ve never been around an individual who woke up every day with such zeal to serve his constituents. He has set the bar so high that we will have a difficult task of trying to meet that level of devotion and character in our district and in our nation. I wish to give a heartfelt thank you to Congressman Duncan from myself and my family for his years of service.”

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Duncan won’t seek reelection to Congress

Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., the longest-serving Tennessean in Congress, will not seek re-election next year to the 2nd Congressional District seat he has held since 1988, reports the News Sentinel.

“It has been a very special privilege to represent the people of the Second District in the U.S. House of Representatives,” the Knoxville Republican said. “However, I will not be running for re-election in 2018.”

Duncan, who turned 70 on July 21, said he had considered retiring even before his last election in 2016.

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Mayor’s daughter and her husband face murder charges in toddler son’s death

The parents of a 2-year-old boy who died after being left in a vehicle overnight at the Gatlinburg home of a Middle Tennessee mayor were arraigned Monday on felony murder charges, reports the News Sentinel.

Jade Elizabeth Phillips, 24, and her husband, Anthony Dyllan Phillips, 26… are accused of causing the death of their son, Kipp, by leaving the toddler inside a car overnight and into the afternoon of July 14 while temperatures soared into the 90s. The child’s official cause of death has not been made public.

Division lines between husband and wife are already being formed in what could become a defense blame game – typical when two people are charged in the same crime.

Jade Phillips, daughter of Westmoreland Mayor Jerry Kirkman, has posted her $250,000 bond and has hired veteran Knoxville defense attorney Tasha Blakney. She appeared in court Monday dressed in a black dress and gray sweater, her father seated beside her in the courtroom before Ogle took the bench.

Her husband was dressed in a black-and-white striped jail jumpsuit, unable to post bond. There was no one there on his behalf. Amber Haas, a veteran with the 4th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, was appointed to represent him. Anthony Phillips cast a glance at his wife as she was leaving the courtroom. She did not look in his direction.

New Rural TN PAC holds first event, gives Beavers an edge over Lee in gubernatorial straw poll

State Sen. Mae Beavers edged Williamson County businessman Bill Lee in a Republican gubernatorial election straw poll held Saturday night by Rural Tennessee Speaks, a group recently established with state Rep. Jay Reedy, R-Erin, as president.

Beavers and Lee were the only two candidates to address the gathering in Dover, attended by about 200 people, according to media reports. Reedy tells Tennessee Star the straw poll results were 66 for Beavers, 62 for Lee, 10 for U.S. Rep. Diane Black (who hasn’t announced as a candidate), seven for House Speaker Beth Harwell and two for Randy Boyd.

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Burchett schedules political announcement — likely that he’ll run for 2nd Congressional District seat

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, a former state senator, is widely expected to announce his candidacy for the 2nd congressional District seat now held by U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. next weekend. He’s scheduled an event in Knoxville Saturday to declare his future political plans, reports the News Sentinel.

“From my family’s military service, to my parents’ careers as public educators, I was raised around public service, and it’s something I enjoy,” Burchett said in a news release Monday. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work in the state Legislature and as Knox County mayor, and I am excited about what lies ahead for me and my family as we launch this campaign.”

Duncan, who has held the seat since 1988, has not yet announced whether he will seek another term.

Alexander, Corker, Blackburn and DesJarlais lose 18 staffers (combined) to Trump administration

Eighteen congressional staff employees who were working for members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation have moved to positions working for President Donald Trump administration since January, reports Michael Collins.

Sen. Lamar Alexander has lost 10 staffers from the Senate office committee he chairs and his own office. Sen. Bob Corker has similarly seen six staffers depart to join Trump. Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Scott DesJarlais each have lost one staffer to Trump’s team.

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Nashville Mayor Barry’s son dies of apparent drug overdose

News release from Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s office

Max Barry, son of Mayor Megan Barry and Bruce Barry, died from an apparent overdose in Denver, Colorado on the evening of Saturday, July 29. Mayor Megan Barry and Bruce Barry have released a statement on this tragic news:

“Early this morning, we received news that no parents should ever have to hear. Our son Max suffered from an overdose and passed away. We cannot begin to describe the pain and heartbreak that comes with losing our only child. Our son was a kind soul full of life and love for his family and friends.

Our family would greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and would respectfully ask for privacy as we mourn the loss of our child and begin to understand a world without his laughter and love in our lives.”

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On Mae Beavers tweets, blocked Democrats, ‘hateful trolls’ and reactionary busy-bodies

The chairman of the Davidson County Democratic Party says in a press release that state Sen. Mae Beavers may be violating federal law by blocking “almost everyone who isn’t a reactionary busy-body” from her Twitter account. Beavers, a Republican candidate for governor, responded with her own press release declaring she was only “blocking hateful trolls who tweet profanity and obscene images.”

Here are the press releases:

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On the 2018 governor’s race in West Tennessee

The 2018 gubernatorial race could involve $50 million in campaign spending with about half flowing into the Memphis media market, according to a Commercial Appeal article devoted to discussion of West Tennessee’s importance in electing the state’s next chief executive. The estimate comes from Democratic strategist Matt Kuhn, a founder of Memphis-based New Blue Strategies.

“I think the average voter in West Tennessee is going to be bombarded by candidates advertising next year,” Kuhn said.

Home to the largest blocs of Republican and Democratic votes, West Tennessee is now “ground zero” for an election sure to be flooded with money from self-financed millionaire candidates and their supporting super political action committees (PACs), said political consultant Steven Reid of Sutton Reid Advertising in Memphis.

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Sheriff, already under indictment, faces new flap over helping bail-bondsman wife in multi-state manhunt

Start of a Times Free Press report on Sunday:

In one epic April weekend, Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson threatened a group of inmates for talking trash about his bail-bondsman wife; embroiled more than a dozen law officers in a multistate manhunt for one of her bail skips; and pulled a gun on a motorist in Georgia, where he has no authority — all with his wife and another bondsman riding along in his official sheriff’s vehicle.

The episode lends weight to complaints from the Bradley County bail bonding community of a thumb on the scales in favor of the sheriff’s wife, Tenille Watson. It also echoes allegations of wrongdoing by Sheriff Watson forwarded last year to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

That TBI investigation resulted in Watson being indicted on six felony counts of using forged or altered vehicle titles in connection with his sideline business as a used-car dealer. Watson was booked July 21. No court date had been set in that case as of Friday. TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland said Thursday the investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, local attorneys asked to review documents and videos related to Watson’s Easter weekend activities say he could have opened himself up to liability ranging from civil rights violations to kidnapping and aggravated assault.

The Times Free Press sent Watson a detailed list of questions Thursday morning about his activities that weekend and asked for his comment. He did not respond.