Political news


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black has named two prominent former politicians from either end of Tennessee as co-chairman for her gubernatorial bid.

Black says former state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher will hold the leadership positions in her campaign.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Tennessee environmental groups are deeply concerned about President Trump’s appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Pruitt sued the EPA a dozen times over environmental regulations in his previous post as Oklahoma’s Attorney General.

The New York Times notes that during his first four months in office, Pruitt has delayed, rolled back, or postponed more than 30 federal environmental rules.

Republicans target each other in Tennessee governor's race

Aug 8, 2017

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) — The gloves are starting to come off in the race for Tennessee's Republican gubernatorial nomination.

In her first candidate forum since formally joining the race last week, U.S. Rep. Diane Black on Sunday took aim at what she described as "weak-kneed" Republicans in Congress — and inside the state Capitol, where rival candidate Beth Harwell is speaker of the House.

"We can find ... Republicans who are too weak or too meek right here in Nashville," said Black. "Folks, the people of Tennessee did not give us the majority to be meek."


FANCY FARM, Ky. (AP) — A week after an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he'd consider a bipartisan effort to continue payments to insurers to avert a costly rattling of health insurance markets.

McConnell told reporters Saturday there is "still a chance" the Senate could revive the measure to repeal and replace "Obamacare," but he acknowledged the window for that is rapidly closing.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Democrat Craig Fitzhugh is joining the race for Tennessee governor.

The banker and attorney from Ripley tells The Tennessean that he will draw on his 23 years of experience as a state lawmaker, most recently as House minority leader and previously as chairman of the powerful House Finance Committee.

Fitzhugh joins former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean in the race for the Democratic nomination. While Dean has already raised $1.2 million and has his own personal wealth to draw on, Fitzhugh has a closer relationship with labor and teachers unions.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that efforts to repeal and replace former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature health care law "ain't over by a long shot."

Pence said in a speech at the Tennessee Republicans Party's annual fundraiser that President Donald Trump plans to achieve the repeal and enact sweeping tax cuts this year.

"We were not elected to save Obamacare; we were elected to repeal and replace it," Pence said.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Bob Corker says he's not ready to say when he will decide about seeking a third term representing Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.

The former Chattanooga mayor told reporters before the state Republican Party's annual fundraiser on Thursday that he's been "busy working."

When pressed by reporters about when he would make up his mind, Corker says: "At some point — we'll see."

Adds Corker: "I'm not elusive, I'm just doing my job, you know?"

CINCINNATI (AP) — Federal appeals judges are questioning previous court rulings on a successful 2014 constitutional amendment allowing tougher abortion restrictions in Tennessee.

The Tennessean reports that judges with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals expressed concern Wednesday about a Tennessee court's ruling backing the method state officials used to count the votes.

But the judges also questioned a recount ordered by a U.S. District judge. The recount is on hold pending the appeal.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. John Duncan of Tennessee says he won't run for re-election next year because he wants to spend more time with his family.

Duncan said in a statement Monday that he had thought of retiring before the 2016 election, but decided to run again in Tennessee's 2nd District at the urging of his supporters.

The 70-year-old Duncan was first elected to Congress in a 1988 special election to replace his father, John Duncan Sr., who had cancer and died in June of that year.


SPARTA, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee judge's plan to encourage birth control among prisoners once they are released has sputtered, only two months into the program.

General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield was offering sentence reductions for men who got free vasectomies and women who agreed to receive free Nexplanon implants, which prevent pregnancy for up to four years.


NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie McPeak about what the collapse of the Better Care Reconciliation Act means for Tennessee.


What does the failure of Congress to pass a health care bill likely mean for people's health insurance? Well, for a reality check, we're going to turn to one state, Tennessee, and to that state's insurance commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak. Thanks for joining us today.

JULIE MIX MCPEAK: Thank you for having me.

Tenn. transgender reaction to Trump military ban

Jul 28, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  “Outraged" is the word the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition uses to describe their reaction to President Trump ban on transgender individuals in the military.

The Coalition says it has roughly 2,000 members statewide, including a number of current and former members of the armed forces.

Marisa Richmond is a former TTPC president

“This has nothing to do with ability, or loyalty, or patriotism. This has to do simply with a label and it’s blatant discrimination.”


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union want to join a lawsuit challenging a Tennessee law that requires counseling and a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions.

Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region and the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee filed a motion Wednesday to join the Nashville federal lawsuit.

The ACLU will represent the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health.



WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has rejected a plan to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to shift $2 billion from other programs to cover a sudden budget shortfall in its Choice program of private-sector care following opposition from veterans' groups.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The 87,000 retired federal employees living in Tennessee are not happy with the federal budgets proposed by the Trump Administration , or the one proposed by Congress.

The federal government reached its debt limit back in March, and ever since it’s been borrowing money from the retirement accounts of federal employees to pay its bills.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A Tennessee hospital industry leader says no one seems to know where Republicans are headed next in the health care debate, and that continuing uncertainty is a serious problem.

GOP Senators met again Wednesday night in an effort to hammer out a health care deal after President Trump called them to the White House  and berated them for failing to keep campaign promises to repeal Obamacare. There was no indication Thursday morning the Senators had any success.


WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican budget blueprint that would begin to clear a path for a GOP effort to overhaul the tax code this fall is headed to an uncertain fate after winning a key committee vote Wednesday night.

The Budget Committee plan faces opposition from both hard-core conservatives and more moderate Republicans even as it advanced through the GOP-controlled panel on a party-line 22-14 vote. It remains short of the votes required to pass through the House and advance to the Senate, where further complications await.


WASHINGTON, DC  (WMOT)  --  Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is applauding a bill advanced by colleagues in the House that would revive the mothballed nuclear waste storage site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

Alexander has long been an ardent supporter of Nuclear Energy and has championed the Nevada facility as the best solution for the problem of where to store the nation’s nuclear waste.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican state Sen. Mae Beavers has raised short of $37,000 in her bid for Tennessee governor.

The Mt. Juliet lawmaker filed her campaign finance report Monday. It also includes $20,000 transferred from her Senate campaign account. Beavers has about $55,400 cash on hand through June. She joined the race last month.

The senator known for pushing socially conservative policies came well short of other candidates' fundraising totals.


WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a 10-year budget blueprint that would dramatically increase military spending while putting the GOP on record favoring Medicare cuts opposed by President Donald Trump.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Randy Boyd's campaign said he has brought in $2.3 million and added $2 million of his own money in his bid for governor, the biggest fundraising haul so far in the open 2018 race.

The former state economic development chief finished June with $3.5 million in cash left, his campaign said Monday. More than 1,500 donations have come in from all 95 counties, the campaign added.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell says she is running for Tennessee governor.

Harwell told The Tennessean that she has "a proven, practical results record" with nearly 30 years of legislative experience including six years in leadership. Harwell cited her work on issues ranging from taxes to education during an interview at her Nashville home.

When Harwell was elected House speaker in 2011, she because the first woman to serve in the post and she is among the longest-serving current members in the House.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee chapter of the NAACP is urging officials to remove a statue of a Confederate general from in front of a county courthouse, echoing similar efforts throughout the South.

Elenora Woods, president of the NAACP's Chattanooga chapter, said Wednesday that the group will write letters to local leaders asking for the statue of Alexander P. Stewart to be moved from the Hamilton County Courthouse lawn, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — President Donald Trump has nominated Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and three others to federal district court judgeships.

On Thursday, Trump nominated Norris for judge in western Tennessee.

The Collierville Republican was first elected to the Senate in 2000 and has been majority leader since 2007. He works in the Memphis office of Adams and Reese LLP.

Trump also nominated Thomas Lee Robinson Parker in western Tennessee. He's a shareholder in the Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz P.C.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  An upcoming race for Rutherford County’s state Senate seat is highlighting the continuing struggle within the Republican Party between the conservative and moderate wings of the GOP.

State Senator Bill Ketron recently announced that he plans to run for Rutherford County Mayor next year. That prompted the current county mayor, Ernest Burgess, to announce his candidacy for the seat Ketron is vacating in the Senate. State Rep. Dawn White then quickly jumped in to challenge Burgess.