diane black

Black campaigns with Ramsey, talks drug addiction at ETSU

While campaigning for governor in the Tri-Cities area Monday, U.S. Rep. Diane Black stopped by East Tennessee State University’s Bill Gatton of College of Pharmacy to participate in a roundtable discussion on drug addiction treatment and prevention research, reports the Johnson City Press.

Accompanied by former Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who now serves as her campaign co-chair, Black listened attentively and asked many questions, even interjecting at times to ask for clarification or provide her own feedback.

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TN Tech research used in lobbying ‘eviscerated’ by some professors

“Growing faculty outrage” prompted a Tennessee Technological University internal investigation into the validity of the school research that was financed by a Tennessee company, then used by U.S. Rep. Diane Black in supporting the company’s viewpoint on federal air pollution regulations, reports The Tennessean. Tech’s president suggests the internal review may “exonerate the innocent.”

Professors have eviscerated the results of a $39,000 study commissioned by Fitzgerald Glider Kits, a Byrdstown-based trucking company that makes rebuilt diesel engines. The findings suggested those engines do not emit more harmful emissions than new engines.

The study, summarized in a June 2017 letter to U.S. Rep. Diane Black that was signed by university President Phil Oldham, was used to lobby to keep a measure that allows rebuilt diesel engines used in glider kits to be exempt from modern federal emissions rules.

The problem, as reported Thursday in The New York Times, is that the Tennessee Tech research is contradicted by an Environmental Protection Agency analysis that found emissions from glider kits are much more dangerous than emissions from new engines. (Note: The Times report also says Black got $225,000 in gubernatorial campaign contributions from donor tied to Fitzgerald. Previous post HERE.)

“This one has been called into some question, and so we’re following university policy to look into it based on concerns that have been expressed,” he said during a Thursday interview at the Cookeville campus. “Nothing has come to my attention at this point that concerns me but the fact that other people have raised concerns warrants us to take a look at it.”

But many professors, including members of the faculty senate, have demanded a more aggressive effort to distance the university from what they say is embarrassing research.

…In a letter to the head of the faculty senate, (interim College of Engineering Dean Darrell) Hoy recalled “urging (almost begging) that the Administration immediately suspend support for the project” during a Jan. 23 meeting.

“I realize this memo and the facts that I have brought to light may be a ‘professional suicide’ with regard to my position as Interim Dean,” Hoy wrote. “However, if that is what it takes to help force a more active response from the University and stop the damage to the College, I do it willingly and without hesitation.”

…Questions about conflicts of interest are compounded by the fact that Tennessee Tech and Fitzgerald announced a partnership in August that would allow the university to house a program in a company building on Fitzgerald’s property.

Fitzgerald did not respond to messages seeking a comment on the Tennessee Tech research or partnership.

Oldham said the partnership was not connected with the research project. He repeatedly defended the study and the protocol it followed during the Thursday interview.

He said the internal investigation could be an opportunity to “exonerate the innocent,” but he left open the possibility it might lead to changes.

GOP gov’s poll shows tight race among top 3

Bill Lee speaks to supporters at his headquarters launch in Franklin on Feb. 12, 2018. (Erik Schelzig/Tennessee Journal)

Bill Lee speaks to supporters at his headquarters launch in Franklin on Feb. 12, 2018. (Erik Schelzig/Tennessee Journal)

Rival gubernatorial campaigns scoffed this week when Republican Bill Lee declared “we can win” in a speech to supporters at his headquarters launch. A new Lee poll obtained by The Tennessee Journal appears to lend that statement at least some credence.

The poll shows the Franklin businessman in a “strong third place” behind Randy Boyd and Diane Black, with Beth Harwell lagging far behind.

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Black, husband criticized for lobbying against medical marijuana bill

Medical marijuana legislation sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Faison is hitting a hurdle with gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Diane Black opposing it and her husband trying to kill the measure, according to the Tennessee Ledger. Her husband says his actions are in the public interest and not for any financial gain by his company.

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Black campaign collects $225K from donors linked to company benefiting from “pollution loophole” she promoted

Donors linked to a Crossville, Tenn., truck dealership known as Fitzgerald Glider provided 12 percent of contributions to the gubernatorial campaign of U.S. Rep. Diane Black, reports the New York Times under the headline, “How $225,000 Can Help Secure a Pollution Loophole at Trump’s E.P.A.” Black is reported to have played a pivotal role in promoting a “loophole” in federal law that helps the company.

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Boyd supporter behind group running toilet flushing ads against Black

Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black prepares to pick up her petition to file as a candidate for Tennessee governor in Gallatin on Feb. 5, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black prepares to pick up her petition to file as a candidate for Tennessee governor in Gallatin on Feb. 5, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The AP’s Jonathan Mattise has confirmed that the group running those toilet flushing radio ads attacking U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s gubernatorial aspirations is funded by a supporter of fellow GOP candidate Randy Boyd.

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Black, campaigning on day of skipped House budget vote: ‘God is God, life is life and truth is truth’

U.S. Rep. Diane Black was campaigning for governor in Dyer County on Friday morning, according to the Dyersburg State Gazette. Earlier that morning, Black had otherwise gained some media attention by skipping the House floor vote on a $400 billion budget deal.

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Black skips vote on budget deal; rest of TN delegation split

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, former House Budget Committee chair who is now running for governor, skipped voting on the $400 billion budget that stopped a brief federal government shutdown on Friday. The Tennessee congressional delegation was otherwise split in the voting.

In the Senate’s 72-28 vote, Sen. Lamar Alexander voted yes; Sen. Bob Corker no.

In the House’s 240-186 vote,  Republican Rep. Jimmy Duncan of Knoxville voted no along with Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville. The state’s other Republican congressmen – Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, Scott DesJarlais of South Pittsburg, Chuck Fleischmann of Ooltewah and David Kustoff of Memphis – voted yes and were joined by Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis.

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Of six gubernatorial candidates, only Harwell supports removing governor from UT board

House Speaker Beth Harwell supports Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to reduce the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees from 26 to 11 members – including elimination of the governor as a board member, according to a Victor Ashe column. But  five other major candidates for governor want to have a seat on the board if elected.

Randy Boyd, Craig Fitzhugh, Bill Lee and Diane Black all said they thought the governor should be a board member and they would actively attend meetings as governor. Karl Dean said he would actively attend meetings but did not respond to the question of whether the law should be amended to remove the governor.

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Black picks up candidate petition for governor’s race

Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black prepares to pick up her petition to file as a candidate for Tennessee governor in Gallatin on Feb. 5, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black prepares to pick up her petition to file as a candidate for Tennessee governor in Gallatin on Feb. 5, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black picked up her petition to run for Tennessee governor in Gallatin on Monday. Here are some of her comments made to reporters afterward:

Q: Where does the campaign stand, and what’s on the horizon?

Black: We still have what, five-and-a-half months until early voting starts? So we’ve got a lot of Tennessee still to cover.

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