legislators

Norris confirmed for federal judgeship in Memphis

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R- Collierville) and Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) attend a hearing on open records exemptions in Nashville on Jan. 30, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm the long-delayed judicial nomination of state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris. The Collierville Republican now heads to the federal court bench in Memphis. The confirmation vote was 51-44. The chamber also confirmed former federal prosecutor and FBI agent Eli Richardson to a federal judgeship in Nashville.

Here is some reaction to Norris’ confirmation:

I recommended Senator Norris to the president, and I strongly supported Mark’s nomination. He is respected by his peers around the country, having been elected chairman of the Council of State Governments, and has been an advocate and a champion for federalism and for the separation of powers. He is a citizen, a lawyer and a legislator. I have known him for many years — since I was the governor of Tennessee — and I am glad the Senate voted to confirm him today. — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville).

 

“Mark Norris has long been a devoted public servant in Tennessee, and I am pleased he will continue to serve our state as a federal district court judge,” said Corker. “I am confident Mark will faithfully uphold the Constitution and serve West Tennesseans with integrity as he has throughout his terms in the state legislature. — U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Chattanooga).

 

As our Senate Majority Leader, Mark has been an indispensable asset not just to the Senate but to state government as a whole. While we will all miss his keen mind, sound judgment and strong leadership in state government, we can take comfort in the fact our federal courts have gained an outstanding judge. — State Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge).

 

Congratulations to Mark Norris for being confirmed as a West Tennessee federal judge.  Mark’s many years of service have made him highly respected throughout the entire state of Tennessee, and I believe he will make an excellent addition to this court. — U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Memphis).

Ketron resigns from Senate ahead of becoming mayor

State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) speaks on the Senate floor on Feb. 26, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

From a release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) today resigned as senator for the 13th District in Tennessee effective August 31, two months before his term of office is set to expire.  Ketron will take office as Rutherford County Mayor on September 1 and state law prohibits holding certain public offices at the same time.  

Ketron, who was elected to the Senate in 2002, currently serves as Senate Republican Caucus Chairman, a position he has held since 2010.  He also served in several other key leadership roles during his legislative tenure including Joint Fiscal Review Committee Chairman from 2010-2016 and Senate State and Local Government Committee Chairman from 2007-2010. 

Continue reading

Democrat Tate gets endorsement from GOP’s Matheny

As state Sen. Reginald Tate fights to hold on to his Memphis seat in a tight Democratic primary, an endorsement from the likes of state Rep. Judd Matheny, a Republican congressional candidate, might not exactly be high on his wish list.But that’s what Tate got from the Tullahoma Republican, who called him “a fine man that understands the plight of African Americans.” Mantheny, who once questioned whether a mop sink in a Capitol restroom was a Muslim foot bath, also mentions that he and Tate toured Europe to “study Islam.”

Tate has been trying to fend off criticism in his heavily-Democratic district that he has been took keen to work with Republicans in the legislature. He faces Katrina Robinson, a business owner and nurse in the Aug. 2 primary.

Memphis Sen. Reginald Tate: ‘I am the message’

State Sen. Reginald Tate, who is locked in a competitive Democratic primary in Memphis, opened his campaign headquarters over the weekend, touting his independence as a lawmakers.

“I’ve never sided with anybody. I don’t side. I was taught better,” the Memphis Daily News quoted Tate as saying. “I don’t approve the message. I am the message.”

Tate faces Katrina Robinson, a business owner and nurse in the Aug. 2 primary. A hot mic incident in which Tate vented to a Republican colleague about his frustration with Democrats questioning his party loyalty has been a major flashpoint of the campaign.

Continue reading

Rep. Ron Lollar passes away at 69

State Rep. Ron Lollar, a Republican from Bartlett, has passed away. He was 69.

Lollar died from a heart attack, said fellow Republican Rep. Jim Coley (R-Bartlett). “It’s going to be hard without him,” said Coley. “If he was on your side, he was your most loyal friend.”

Continue reading

McCormick buys Nashville home, still found qualified to run as state rep in Chattanooga

Gerald McCormick, who is a former House majority leader and eyeing a run for House speaker next year, bought a home in Nashville last year but still has been declared qualified to run for re-election as a state representative in Chattanooga, reports the Times Free Press.

Continue reading

Sen. Reginald Tate’s primary opponent endorsed by Democratic colleagues, citing his siding with GOP in legislative voting

Two of state Sen. Reginald Tate’s Democratic colleagues from Memphis – Sens. Lee Harris and Sara Kyle – have endorsed his primary opponent as he seeks reelection, reports the Commercial Appeal, adding that’s a break with tradition and “a consequence of siding with Republicans on hot-button issues like defunding Planned Parenthood.”

Continue reading

With an eye on becoming House speaker, Casada budgets $200K to help elect favored Republican reps

House Majority Leader Glen Casada has budgeted more than $200,000 in spending by his political action committee as part of an “aggressive strategy” to elect Republican representatives this year and —  perhaps not so coincidentally – help him get elected as the House speaker by those winning the races, reports Andy Sher.

Casada is one of at least four current Republican legislators eyeing a run to succeed current House Speaker Beth Harwell, who is not seeking reelection to the House this year and instead running for governor. The other three are Rep. Gerald McCormick, a former majority leader; House Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson and Rep. David Hawk, currently assistant majority leader.

Continue reading

Haslam backs state legislator for mayor over educator opponent

Gov. Bill Haslam has endorsed the election of state Rep. Kevin Brooks as mayor of Cleveland, joining outgoing mayor Tom Rowland and other area officials at a campaign rally Friday, reports the Cleveland Daily Banner.

Rowland announced in January he would retire as mayor and support Brooks (R-Cleveland) as his successor and Brooks announced at the same time he would not seek reelection to the legislature. The situation has “raised eyebrows of some in the community,” says the Banner – especially those of Duane Schriver, a former teacher and school principal who is opposing Brooks.

Continue reading

Former legislator loses current job after accessing confidential records for political smear

Former state Rep. Chad Faulkner (R-Luttrell) as resigned his position with the Loudon County Sheriff’s office after being confronted with evidence he accessed confidential records used as part of a political smear campaign against Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett’s congressional campaign, reports the News Sentinel.

Continue reading