Bill Dunn

Dunn thinks election results help school voucher cause in state House

State Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, tells The Tennessean he’s optimistic that school voucher legislation can pass the state House in 2017 after repeated failures because of changes in the membership because of the 2016 elections.

“Some of the opponents were defeated in this last election so that increases the number,” he said, adding that he knows of one lawmaker who previously didn’t support the bill changing his mind after visiting schools. “He came back and changed his mind and said there’s got to be options,” Dunn said, declining to identify the lawmaker in question.

…Dunn said he thought the potential of approving the legislation during last year’s session came down to just one or two votes.

“It was right there and there were a couple of people who were undecided,” he said.

This year there will be 10 new lawmakers — eight Republicans and two Democrats — in the House, which could help the bill’s chances of passing.

Two Republicans — Reps. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, and Paul Sherrell, R-Sparta — received donations of $4,000 and $5,000, respectively, in October from the political action committee for the Tennessee Federation for Children.

Note: Curcio and Sherrell replace Democrats – respectively the retired Rep. David Shepard of Dickson and the defeated Rep. Kevin Dunlap of Sparta, both voucher critics. TFC’s PAC also spent more than $100,000 in attack ads that may have played a role in the August primary defeat of Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, also a voucher skeptic, by Mark Lovell, who took money from the pro-voucher PAC.

On the other hand,  pro-voucher Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, was defeated in the primary by Sam Whitson, who the Tennessean says is undecided on vouchers. Also, pro-voucher Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, was elected to the Senate and his House successor, John Crawford, R-Kingsport, and is also reportedly undecided.

And Democrat Dwayne Thompson defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Steve McManus, R-Cordova, with opposition to vouchers as one of his main campaign issues.

The voucher views of other freshman House members have apparently not been reported by media.

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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