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We’re about 6 weeks out from the election, and campaigns across the state are picking up speed as voters are starting to take a hard look at the choices on the ballot, and on the Republican side, they’ve got a few doozies to sort through.
John Stevens – Senate District 24
Out in West Tennessee we’ve got John Stevens, a Republican vying to take Sen. Roy Herron’s old seat. It turns out Stevens isn’t such a fan of upholding the laws he has sworn to protect. A couple of years ago an elderly woman, Ruth Karas, declared in her last will and testament that she wished to donate her estate to two local charities, Youth Town and St Jude’s Children Hospital. Well, Stevens found some clients who weren’t fans of that arrangement, and while Ms. Karas lie dying and unconscious in her hospital room, Stevens came to her bedside, tore up her will, and tried to replace it with one that cut out these two children’s charities from her estate.
Now voters will have to choose between a candidate like Stevens who thinks lining his pockets is more important than protecting kids, or a candidate like Brad Thompson who has spent most of his adult life serving the people of West Tennessee by growing the economy and creating jobs for the middle class.
Read more at JohnStevensFacts.org.
Charles Williamson – House District 50
When Republicans redrew the lines this year, they went out of their way to create a more Republican- friendly State House district in Nashville. The result, House District 50, stretches from Bellevue in the west to Goodlettsville in the east. Unfortunately for Charles Williamson, it didn’t include his million dollar mansion in Old Hickory…but it did include a barn he owned in the district. So what did he do? He changed his voter registration to the barn and claimed to live there. Just one problem, the city – sticklers for public safety that they are – said it’s not habitable and isn’t zoned for a residential property, and all the evidence indicates that Williamson still actually lived in his mansion outside the district.
In short, Williamson lied when he filed to be a candidate, and as such should be removed from the ballot. TNDP Chairman Chip Forrester is calling on the state elections office to do their job and remove this candidate – one who clearly misrepresented himself on his petition – from the ballot. After all, the GOP has claimed they are trying to protect the integrity of the ballot; well, here is a perfect opportunity for them to actually do it.
John Ragan – House District 33
Republicans and Democrats disagree on a lot of issues, and that’s ok, it’s good for a democracy to have choices and differences of opinions. But there are some issues – such as protecting the safety of children – that should be no-brainers on which we call can agree. That is what makes John Ragan’s vote against a bill to protect the victims of abuse so disturbing. While 96 of his colleagues saw this bill as good and necessary, Rep. Ragan decided to take his stand and vote against legislation that would prevent abusers from contacting their victims without their permission. He claims he voted against this protection because it was ‘redundant,’ but it’s difficult for voters to see protecting victims of abuse as a redundancy. Read more>>
Thankfully, voters in District 33 have a real choice this November, and we are confident they will vote to bring Jim Hackworth back to the State House where he will be an advocate for protecting children, not an opponent of it.
Other news from around the state
Education – Tennessee Democrats stood up and spoke out against the decision by Gov. Haslam to strip nearly $3.5 million from Nashville’s schools because the school board wouldn’t buckle to their demands and approve a charter that didn’t think met the diversity goals of the city. This is part of a larger pattern by Republicans in this state to overrule local elected leaders whenever they don’t like the decisions they make.
SD22 – The public interest group Tennessee Citizen Action is calling out Republican Mark Green for trying to skirt campaign finance limits by creating a PAC designed to allow friends to donate more than the $1,400 limit on individual donations. Read about it here >>
Pres Race – Paul Ryan swung into Knoxville to pick up some checks for Mitt Romney’s flailing presidential campaign. On hand to welcome him was State Rep. Joe Armstrong who wanted a simple question answered – who is this 47% of America that Mitt Romney doesn’t care about and doesn’t think is worth his time? Is it the veteran who has protected and served his nation? Is it the grandparents who rely on Medicare to survive? Is it the college student who wants to work hard, get a degree, and grow our economy? Unfortunately, we are still waiting on his answer…
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