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Harold Ford Jr. fired from Wall Street job after sexual harassment allegation

Harold Ford Jr., the former Tennessee Democratic congressman who traded politics for Wall Street, has been fired by Morgan Stanley after a human resources investigation found he engaged in conduct “inconsistent with our values and in violation of our polices,” the company said Thursday.

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UT to accept ACT test scores despite administrative foul-up

Press release from Lt. Gov. Randy McNally

Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) today announced the University of Tennessee has agreed to accept scores from the October 17 mis-administered ACT tests at Bearden High School and Alvin C. York Institute in Jamestown. The University’s decision was delivered to Lt. Governor McNally by University of Tennessee Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick.  Continue reading

DeVos in TN speech: ‘I’m just getting started!’

Speaking in Nashville at the National Summit on Education Reform, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rallied education leaders to expand “school choice,” took swipes at teachers unions and Democrats, and put in a good word for her boss’s campaign to overhaul the nation’s tax structure.

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Suggested TN political junkie reading: From a hallelujah for Haslam to John Wilder’s ghost

A listing of some recent writing on Tennessee politics and state government matters (delving into state history in a couple of cases; a ghost in another) that didn’t get mentioned in daily blogging but are well worth reading – at least in the opinion of one Tennessee political junkie.

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Katie Ashley appointed top Haslam administration lobbyist

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Katie Ashley will serve as director of legislation, the governor’s chief advisor and strategist for legislative matters.

The Crockett County native is one of the longest serving Haslam staffers, starting out on his campaign in 2009 before becoming a legislative liaison in 2011 and handling one of the governor’s top priorities: education in Tennessee.

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Haslam, Rolfe will travel to Asia

News release from the Department of Economic and Community Development

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe will travel to Asia from Oct. 9 to Oct. 13 for an economic development trip designed to strengthen ties with Asian businesses and increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in Tennessee.

During the weeklong trip, Haslam and Rolfe will pitch Tennessee’s advantages to a number of Asian businesses interested in establishing operations in the Southeast U.S. The trip will include stops in both Japan and South Korea.

“We’ve worked hard to bring more foreign direct investment to Tennessee, and it’s helped create both high quality jobs and a thriving economy,” Haslam said. “I am looking forward to sharing Tennessee’s story with more Asian businesses and strengthening ties with existing companies who already know that our business-friendly environment and ready-to-work workforce make Tennessee a great choice to locate operations.” Continue reading

Latest ECD incentives: $28M to Finnish tire maker, $22M to South Korean appliance firm

The state of Tennessee is providing a $28.42 million grant to a Finnish tire manufacturer and grant of $22.3 million to a South Korean appliance manufacturer to support the companies opening of new facilities within the state, reports the Times Free Press.

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Hagerty takes oath as U.S. ambassador to Japan

Nashville businessman Bill Hagerty, a former Tennessee commissioner of economic development, Thursday took the oath of office as U.S. ambassador to Japan in a ceremony at Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House, reports Michael Collins.

His wife Chrissy and their four children were by his side… Vice President Mike Pence introduced Hagerty, who was greeted by the crowd with loud cheers and a double thumbs-up. Pence then administered the oath.

“I look forward to the challenge before us,” Hagerty said in brief remarks afterward.

… Pence said Hagerty has spent a lifetime working to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Japan, including a stint living in Japan on a three-year assignment as a consultant.

President Donald Trump’s choice of Hagerty as ambassador demonstrates the ties between the two countries remains strong, Pence said.

… To Hagerty, Pence said: “Bill, given your integrity, your very good leadership and your distinguished history, the president and I are confident you will excel in this new role to help make the extraordinary friendship and alliance between the United States of America and Japan even stronger.”

 

BlueCross BlueShield, Cigna seek big TN Obamacare insurance premium increases for 2018

News release from Department of Commerce and Insurance

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) releases the insurance rates requested by carriers offering coverage on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) ahead of Open Enrollment for 2018. The deadline for rate requests was July 1 and three carriers filed rates with the Department. TDCI is also making available a map of the state showing where carriers have filed forms and rates and providing examples of average premium prices for 35- and 55-year old individual purchasers.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Cigna, and Oscar Health have all notified the Department they intend to offer coverage on the FFM in 2018. The following rates have been requested:

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee:  Average 21.4 percent increase (range: 4.6% – 44.5%)

Cigna: Average 42.1 percent increase (range: 12.2% – 182.2%)

Oscar Health: Initial rate request

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Politico notes Harold Ford Jr’s 47th birthdaay

It’s former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr.’s 47th birthday and Politico takes note of the occasion. He moved to New York after losing to Bob Corker in the 2006 U.S. Senate race and, among other things, is now a regular commentator on the national TV talk political talk show circuit. Excerpt:

“I got my start watching my dad hold Saturday afternoon office time as a 1st and 2nd term congressman in grocery stores and gymnasiums in Memphis. I was 4, 5 and 6 years old and would go with him every Saturday. He taught me what the core of public service really is — trying to use power and influence to solve the problems of the least and unmighty. To me, that’s what politics is.”

Just guessing, but Corker probably didn’t send a card.