lobbyists

Lobbying trio sets up new firm

Veteran lobbyists Courtney Atnip, J.A. Bucy and Dustin Goforth launched their own company, Capitol & 5th Public Strategies, reports Nashville Post Politics.

The new lobbying firm will serve corporate, government and non-profit organizations in areas like technology, finance, tourism, food and beverage and health care.  

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Memphis council hiring lobbyists, maybe at over $100K budget

The Memphis City Council plans to hire The Ingram Group, a high-powered Nashville-based strategy firm, to serve as its envoy to state and national lawmakers, reports the Commercial Appeal.

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Lee calls for more school choice, says ‘receptions that entertain legislators’ should be stopped

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee is calling for more school choice in Tennessee and an end to lobbyist-sponsored receptions for state legislators, reports the Associated Press.

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Megan Lyons Lane launches new TN lobbying firm

News release from Lane Government Operations

NASHVILLE — An established lobbyist has decided to leave a prominent government relations firm to launch a new venture. Megan Lyons Lane announced today the launch of Lane Government Relations, a boutique firm focused on lobbying, policy guidance and association management.

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Mark Green launches group to promote Christians in politics; won’t run for any new office himself

State Sen. Mark Green, who had talked about running for Congress after withdrawing as President Trump’s nominee to become U.S. Army secretary, says he is instead launching a new political advocacy organization that help other Christian conservatives run for office.

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TN Planned Parenthood leader stepping down after 17 years

Jeff Teague, long-time president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, has announced he is leaving the group Friday to “explore other opportunities,” reports the Times Free Press.

The group provides reproductive health services, including abortion, and has been at the center of any number of political and court battles in Tennessee over the years. It operates centers in Nashville and Knoxville.

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Trump’s latest choice for U.S. Army secretary: Lobbyist who once worked for Bill Frist and Fred Thompson

President Donald Trump’s third proposed nominee as U.S. Army Secretary, is Mark Esper, Raytheon Inc.’s vice president of government relations and previously employed by two of Tennessee’s former U.S. senators, reports Politico.

A Gulf War veteran, Esper is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and a 1986 graduate of West Point. He has worked for Raytheon, one of the “big five” defense contractors, since 2010… Esper is a veteran of both Capitol Hill and the Pentagon. He has been the policy director for the House Armed Services Committee as well as director of national security affairs for then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

He was also a deputy assistant secretary of Defense during the George W. Bush administration and was the national policy director for the late Sen. Fred Thompson’s 2008 presidential bid.

… Trump’s first pick for the Army post, billionaire New York financier Vincent Viola, withdrew in February amid difficulty untangling his complex finances. The second pick, Tennessee Republican state Sen. Mark Green, withdrew amid mounting opposition over controversial statements he’d made about LGBT rights and Muslims.

After IMPROVE, Haslam promotes benefits while AFP trashes ‘massive $2 billion tax hike’

While Gov. Bill Haslam is touting the benefits of his IMPROVE Act tax package, Americans for Prosperity is doing just the opposite in its own statewide campaign, according to reports in the Knoxville News Sentinel and in the Kingsport Times News.

The governor, speaking at an IMPROVE Act promotional event in Elizabethton last week, said the road projects funded by the package’s fuel tax increase will have a “huge economic impact” benefiting the state.

“We’re also putting money back in citizens’ hands. They will have more money to grocery shop … the other thing is the cut on manufacturers. Somebody like Eastman obviously produces a lot of jobs. Eastman will now have more incentive to keep those jobs in Tennessee because the tax they pay as a manufacturer will be more in line with our neighboring states.”

AFP Tennessee, meanwhile, is going around the state holding rallies to thank legislators who voted against the Haslam-sponsored measure and cites an American Legislative Exchange (ALEC) statement saying the overall package means Tennesseans will pay a net of $2 billion in additional taxes over the next ten years – despite the grocery tax cuts and corporate tax cuts.

“We knew the Improve Act was a tax increase for most Tennesseans,” AFP-TN State Director Andy Ogles said. “It is a shame only 43 lawmakers opposed this massive two-billion-dollar tax hike even as Tennessee had over a billion-dollar surplus, but those that did stand up for taxpayers deserve our thanks.”

(Note: The ALEC comment is included in a June “State of the States” roundup on gubernatorial doings nationwide. The whole thing, including the Tennessee portion, is HERE. The AFP press release is HERE. A Haslam news release on his promotional efforts is HERE.)

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AMA poll: Most Tennesseans don’t want cuts to Medicaid

The American Medical Association, which opposes both the House-approved version of legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare and the latest proposed version from Senate Republicans, has commissioned a poll that basically says most Tennesseans agree with that position.

The first sentence of a Times Free Press report says that 60 percent of surveyed Tennesseans oppose cuts to TennCare/Medicaid funding, which both versions would do, and otherwise summarizes the findings. An excerpt:

The June 15-19 poll of 500 registered Tennessee voters was among surveys conducted in seven states by the Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

…In another finding, 56 percent don’t want senators to pass the House bill as is, with 30 percent wanting “major” changes made and 26 percent saying they didn’t want senators to pass any part of the House bill.

Only 9 percent of voters said they wanted the Senate to pass the House legislation just as it is, while 24 percent wanted to see senators make minor changes before passing it.

Forty-nine percent of the Tennesseans surveyed said they viewed TennCare positively. Another 19 percent were neutral. Only 15 percent held unfavorable views of TennCare.

Voters were evenly divided — 39 percent either way — over whether to keep Medicaid funding at its present level or to increase it. Only 9 percent want to decrease Medicaid funding.

…The poll’s accompanying memo from pollsters said “it is important to note” that a majority of those surveyed — 57 percent — are themselves enrolled or have a family member enrolled in Medicaid, or know someone with Medicaid coverage.

Note: The AMA poll press release is HERE. The affiliated Tennessee Medical Association recently issued a press release opposing the proposed Senate bill, HERE.

Former Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey becoming a lobbyist

Former Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has announced he will become a lobbyist in the 2018 legislative session, reports the Kingsport Times News.

The retired lawmaker told a Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) legislative luncheon on Thursday that he’ll be lobbying for Realtors and others. Ramsey, a Blountville Republican who served as lieutenant governor and speaker of the Tennessee Senate for 10 years, noted a ban on him lobbying state lawmakers expires in November.

…Ramsey, a Realtor and auctioneer, said he’s been hired as a member of the Nashville-based Farrar and Bates law firm headed up by his old friend, Tennessee Association of Realtors lobbyist Russ Farrar.

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

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

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