mayors

Autopsy finds several drugs involved in death of Nashville mayor’s son

A Colorado autopsy report released Wednesday says Max Barry, son of Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, died from a combination of several drugs, including opioids, reports The Tennessean.

Drugs found in Max Barry following his death were Xanax, marijuana and two opioids — liquid methodone and hydromorphone. The autopsy also showed that he had recently used cocaine.

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Burchett officially kicks off campaign for Congress

Hundreds of people came out Saturday to hear Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett deliver a speech declaring himself a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., reports the News Sentinel.

“The House was created before the Senate. It was created to represent the people…the farmers, the laborers and the small business owners, people we call our blue collar workers,” he said. “People, who in 2017, go to work every day with their names on their shirts.

“There’s a reason House seats are on the ballot every dad-gum two years, it’s because these seats belong to the people, not to any one candidate or elected official,” he continued.

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State Rep. David Alexander won’t seek reelection; will run for Franklin County mayor instead

State Rep. David Alexander has announced he won’t seek reelection to the House District 39 seat next year and instead will run for Franklin County mayor.

Alexander, R-Winchester, made the announcement in an interview on WCDT radio. A video of the interview is posted on Alexander’s Facebook page, HERE.

“I believe strongly in term limits and, since the state of Tennessee does not have term limits, I’m going to impose my own limits,” says Alexander.

Alexander, who was elected to the post in 2010, said he believes his experience as a legislator will help him as a county mayor. Alexander noted he had served on the House Finance Committee, starting in his freshman term, and “the learning curve I had wasn’t a curve – it was more like a rocket ship, straight up.”

House District 39, one of the more oddly shaped districts in the state, covers the northern portions of Franklin County and Marion counties and all of Moore County.

Mayor’s daughter and her husband face murder charges in toddler son’s death

The parents of a 2-year-old boy who died after being left in a vehicle overnight at the Gatlinburg home of a Middle Tennessee mayor were arraigned Monday on felony murder charges, reports the News Sentinel.

Jade Elizabeth Phillips, 24, and her husband, Anthony Dyllan Phillips, 26… are accused of causing the death of their son, Kipp, by leaving the toddler inside a car overnight and into the afternoon of July 14 while temperatures soared into the 90s. The child’s official cause of death has not been made public.

Division lines between husband and wife are already being formed in what could become a defense blame game – typical when two people are charged in the same crime.

Jade Phillips, daughter of Westmoreland Mayor Jerry Kirkman, has posted her $250,000 bond and has hired veteran Knoxville defense attorney Tasha Blakney. She appeared in court Monday dressed in a black dress and gray sweater, her father seated beside her in the courtroom before Ogle took the bench.

Her husband was dressed in a black-and-white striped jail jumpsuit, unable to post bond. There was no one there on his behalf. Amber Haas, a veteran with the 4th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, was appointed to represent him. Anthony Phillips cast a glance at his wife as she was leaving the courtroom. She did not look in his direction.

Nashville Mayor Barry’s son dies of apparent drug overdose

News release from Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s office

Max Barry, son of Mayor Megan Barry and Bruce Barry, died from an apparent overdose in Denver, Colorado on the evening of Saturday, July 29. Mayor Megan Barry and Bruce Barry have released a statement on this tragic news:

“Early this morning, we received news that no parents should ever have to hear. Our son Max suffered from an overdose and passed away. We cannot begin to describe the pain and heartbreak that comes with losing our only child. Our son was a kind soul full of life and love for his family and friends.

Our family would greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and would respectfully ask for privacy as we mourn the loss of our child and begin to understand a world without his laughter and love in our lives.”

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Mayors clash over Bible-quoting plaque at Knoxville police headquarters

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero are at odds over a city decision to take down a plaque quoting a Bible verse that now hangs inside a Knoxville police department building.

From the News Sentinel report:

Burchett, a Republican, made the comments in a rare public critique of Rogero, a Democrat, Thursday morning, a day after she announced the city would remove the plaque hanging in the department’s Safety Building.

The plaque quotes Romans 8:31 and includes, “If God be for us, then who can be against us?”

The city is planning to take down the plaque during a Friday morning ceremony and move it to a Hall of Inspiration inside the building that will be a place where multiple quotes and sayings will be displayed.

The East Tennessee chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint about the plaque and threatened a lawsuit if the city did not remove it.

Burchett said the Constitution protects his Christian views, adding the city should allow the group to take them to court.

“Mayor Rogero is my friend, but I would fight this one. I wouldn’t yield to extortionists,” he said. “Ultimately, I have to answer to God not some outfit from out of town who make their living just suing people … “What I don’t understand is with atheists if they don’t believe in God, what do they care? It just doesn’t make much sense to me,” he said.

“At some point folks that follow my belief systems are just going to be legislated out of existence and to me it is discrimination against me and my beliefs,” he said.

… Rogero issued a statement in response to Burchett’s comments Thursday afternoon.

“I’m happy to clear up some misunderstanding and overreaction to this issue. My friend Mayor Burchett will be glad to know the plaque is not being removed, it is merely being moved from one side of the doorway to the other, where it will share a room with other inspirational quotes,” Rogero said in the statement.

Note: Burchett, a former state senator, is considering a run for the 2nd District Congressional seat now held by Rep. John J. ‘Jimmy’ Duncan Jr.

Shelby County Mayor Luttrell backs Boyd for governor

From the Commercial Appeal:

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell on Wednesday endorsed Randy Boyd in the Tennessee gubernatorial Republican primary election.

Standing next to Boyd at Evolve Bank & Trust on Poplar in East Memphis, Luttrell emphasized Boyd’s business background, emphasis on education and heritage in West Tennessee. Boyd, who formerly headed up state economic development efforts under Gov. Bill Haslam, was born in Knoxville but has family on this side of the state.

Luttrell said he and Boyd became friends as they worked together on development and education initiatives for Shelby County. Boyd, who resigned as commissioner of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to run for governor earlier this year, managed Haslam’s “Drive to 55” and Tennessee Promise education initiatives as an un-paid adviser.

“Randy Boyd is an entrepreneur who has a passion for education,” Luttrell said before quipping that they were probably the only two people in the room who knew the location of Fruitvale, a small town northwest of Jackson.

From the Boyd campaign

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A Beavers-Burchett alliance in 2018 GOP primary?

State Sen. Mae Beavers, campaigning for the 2018 Republican gubernatorial nomination, and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, a former state senator who says he’ll run either for the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate next year, got together at a Knoxville restaurant last week and said nice things about each other afterwards.

Excerpt from the Tennessee Star report, which says that the meeting “sparked discussions about a potential alliance in the August 2018 Republican primary between the two well respected independent minded conservatives.”

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Rep. Jimmy Eldridge eyes run for Jackson mayor

Republican state Rep. Jimmy Eldridge says he is “leaning toward” running to become mayor of Jackson in 2019, according to the Jackson Sun.

“I have the experience, I have the energy, I have the health,” Eldridge said in a phone interview. “I have desire to want to continue to serve. It’s not even in my thinking process to ever retire from political life as long as my health is good and my friends, family and community are encouraging me.”

Current Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist’s term runs through 2019 and he has not announced his future plans. Gist has served as mayor since 2007.  (Note: Gist defeated former state Sen. Lowe Finney in 2015, winning with just over 51 percent of the vote.)

Before being elected state representative in 2003, Eldridge, a Jackson native, served on the Madison County Court and Madison County Commission. In addition to his duties as state representative, Eldridge is the chairman of the House Consumer and Human Resources committee.

“I worked through the ranks,” he said. “I didn’t stop and wake up one day, serve on the county commission, and said, ‘Hey, I want to run for mayor.’ I’ve worked through the channels and I think that’s the proper way to do it.”

Eldridge has one more year in his term before his reelection campaign in 2018, one year before a potential mayoral run.  Eldridge said locally it is important the next mayor has a “strong” relationship with the General Assembly.

Columnist Victor Ashe: Pro wrestler a serious contender in Knox County mayor’s race

Glen Jacobs, perhaps better known as the masked professional wrestler “Kane,” is one of at least three Republicans running for the nomination as Knox County mayor and former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe writes in his weekly column – after an interview — that he’s a serious contender.

The GOP primary will be May 1, 2018. Besides Jacobs, Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones and County Commissioner Bob Thomas are running, says Ashe in the Shopper News column (which now also runs in the News Sentinel). County Commissioner Brad Anders is a possible candidate.

Jacobs has lived in Knox County in Halls for four years with his wife, Crystal, and two daughters, Arista and Devan, who are nurses… He owns an insurance and real estate company on Maynardville Pike. His wife runs the realty company.

…Jacobs compliments Mayor Tim Burchett (who can’t seek another term) for not raising property taxes and pledges “to hold the line on taxes” if he is elected mayor. He calls county Finance Director Chris Caldwell “a very smart guy.” He is conservative in his political views.

He said he has been looking for more than a year at running for mayor. He said “lots of people are tired of the status quo” and upset “that their voice does not matter.” He has been active in the WWE, which is the largest wrestling organization. He has been in active wrestling for 22 of his 50 years and won three world championships.

Bryan Hair is his campaign manager. He attends Gospel Baptist Church in South Knoxville. He feels he needs to raise $150,000 to $200,000 to run an effective campaign.

(Three waitresses asked for Jacobs’ autograph after he and Ashe talked in a restaurant, then four other people came up and did the same)… Jacobs has star quality his competitors can only dream about. Jacobs is a contender to be taken seriously.

ABOUT THIS BLOG

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

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