Starrett raises $750K for DesJarlais challenge

It's more than a year until the primary, but Grant Starrett says he's already raised $750,000 for his effort to beat Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

Jul 6, 2015 7:02 AM

AFP on president's visit (and Haslam and the gas tax)


President Obama will visit Nashville on Wednesday to pressure state lawmakers to accept Obamacare and expand Medicaid after the legislature voted twice to reject expansion.

"President Obama was out of touch with America when he jammed Obamacare through Congress and he is out of touch with Tennesseans as they have said repeatedly they do not want his big government interventions in our state," said Andrew Ogles, state director of Americans for Prosperity Tennesee. "We urge Tennessee lawmakers to continue protecting taxpayers by rejecting Medicaid expansion."

Americans for Prosperity Tennessee led the grassroots movement to stop the expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee despite support from Gov. Haslam.

"Like President Obama, Gov. Haslam is unwilling to recognize the enormous cost to Tennesseans that will come with Medicaid expansion, which is why he is traveling around to sell a gas tax. We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem and Gov. Haslam doesn't get it."

Jul 1, 2015 12:10 PM

Wamp to chair Rubio's Tennessee effort

Hey. Remember Zach Wamp?

Following a Twitter announcement by presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio earlier on Monday morning, former Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp confirmed that he will be the chairman of the Rubio campaign in Tennessee.

In his address to the Pachyderm Club, Mr. Wamp said that he is in full support of Senator Rubio as a viable candidate who is capable of capitalizing on changing voter demographics in the nation for the good of both the Republican Party and the nation over all.

Jun 30, 2015 6:53 AM

Obama will talk health care in Madison

The president will speak at Taylor Stratton Elementary in Madison Wednesday (as The Tennessean notes, FDR was the last president to visit Madison and he too visited Stratton Elementary, though at a different location). Obama will talk health care, of course:

The politics of the law, also known as "Obamacare," might not be popular throughout Tennessee. But the Democratic stronghold of Nashville — combined with the health insurance and hospital giants that call Middle Tennessee home — offers a prominent stage for any presidential address on health care, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said.

"Nashville is the health care management capital of the United States. This is where there are more health care management companies, there's great health care facilities like Saint Thomas. It's a natural place for this discussion to take place," Dean said Monday after an event at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital.

"People look to Nashville to find solutions about health care, so I think that's probably why he chose to come here."

The TNGOP is on message:

"Instead of another campaign speech, we need a President that is willing to work with Congress to fix what the Supreme Court called a law that 'does not reflect the type of care and deliberation one might expect,' and the American people will make that clear when we send a Republican to the White House in 2016. And that is why Hillary Clinton is so dangerous. She'll just continue these harmful policies without offering solutions to combat the problems of higher premiums, more expensive care, and longer wait times caused by ObamaCare."

Jun 30, 2015 6:50 AM

President returning to Nashville area Wednesday

President Obama will be coming back to the Nashville area Wednesday to talk about the ACA. It's unclear whether he will visit Nashville proper or a locale within the Home Counties.

Jun 29, 2015 7:06 AM

SCOTUS rules same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional [will be updated]

The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision to rule bans on same-sex marriage nationwide.


Davidson County Clerk Brenda Wynn tells Post Politics the state is reviewing the decision and her office is awaiting some guidance, particularly related to some practical matters, on license issuance, but that her office is ready when they get the go-ahead.

AG Herb Slattery says he'll have remarks at 2 PM.

From the governor: "The people of Tennessee have recently voted clearly on this issue.  The Supreme Court has overturned that vote.  We will comply with the decision and will ensure that our departments are able to do so as quickly as possible."

Other statements after the jump in the order in which they are received.

From Megan Barry:

Words cannot express the joy I have for so many of my gay and lesbian friends and family who now have the freedom to marry whomever they love,” said Megan Barry. “I am confident that Obergefell v. Hodges will stand the test of time as a Supreme Court decision which fundamentally strengthened the United States of America – bringing us ever closer to the dream of all men and women being created equal under the eyes of the law. I want to thank Abby Rubenfeld and Bill Harbison for fighting on behalf of marriage equality and helping to make marriage equality a reality in Tennessee.”

The Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges has effectively overturned laws across the country designed to block same-sex couples from enjoying the freedom to marry. Barry is committed to seeing Davidson County implement the court’s decision as quickly as possible, and has already agreed to officiate the ceremony of same-sex couples wishing to exercise their rights.

“We have worked hard to make Nashville a warm and welcoming place to all who enter – no matter where you were born, no matter how you got here, and certainly no matter whom you love,” said Bar “Now that marriage equality is the law of the land, I hope that the State of Tennessee will fully join the City of Nashville in embracing equality by removing any last vestiges of discrimination that still exist in our laws.”

From Rep. Diane Black:

“With the drop of a gavel, five Supreme Court justices have silenced the voices of thousands of Tennesseans,” said Congressman Diane Black. “I have always believed that marriage is a sacred promise between man, woman, and God. I respect that others may disagree and I believe that we should encourage a thoughtful, open dialogue about this issue in the individual states – not attempt to cut off debate by imposing a sweeping, fixed interpretation of marriage nationwide. Sadly, that is exactly what the court has done.”

Congressman Black added, “Tennesseans are a compassionate people, and we should be able to make laws that match our values on issues of marriage and family, while respecting the dignity of those with whom we may disagree. As we look ahead to implementation of this ruling, we must now ensure that religious freedom is not further eroded and that the conscience rights of our clergy and faith-based wedding officiants are protected.”

From TNGOP chair Ryan Haynes:

“Tennesseans overwhelmingly voted to define marriage as between one man and one woman. If a change was to be made, it should have been allowed to play out through the democratic process but, unfortunately, today’s judicial activism short-circuits that ability. While this has long been pushed by the Democrats' agenda, the issue is far from settled."

From Lt. Gov. Ramsey:

The Supreme Court today issued an unfortunate and fundamentally wrong opinion. In 2006, not even a decade ago, over 80% of Tennessee voters issued a strong mandate in favor of traditional marriage. Today, the Supreme Court declared that mandate null and void.

While the Supreme Court did not stand up for traditional marriage, this decision does not end the institution. The federal government may have the ability to force Tennessee to recognize same-sex unions but it cannot and will not change the hearts and minds of conservatives and traditionalists in Tennessee and elsewhere.

In the communities and churches across this state, the true definition of marriage, a union of one man and one woman, still lives and breathes. It is an eternal truth that no law or government can truly alter.

From Rep. Jim Cooper:

“Love and equality win,” Cooper said. “I’m glad the Supreme Court ruled on the right side of history.”

From Mayor Karl Dean:

“I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is now legal in Tennessee. I joined Mayors for the Freedom to Marry last year because I believe all people should be treated fairly and equally and that everyone’s individual dignity should be respected. Welcoming and supporting people of all backgrounds and beliefs make our city stronger.”

From the RNC:

“The Supreme Court failed to recognize the states’ constitutional role in setting marriage policy, instead finding a federal role where there is none.  In doing so, they have taken power away from the states and from the people to settle the relevant issues for themselves.

“Even though the Supreme Court has spoken with finality, there remains a diversity of opinions about marriage policy—from those celebrating today’s ruling to those concerned about the constitutional balance of power.

“As a Party, we believe in the importance of traditional marriage between a man and a woman and remain committed to finding common ground to champion the family’s role in society. Marriage is critically important to strengthening our country and our communities. Likewise, we will remain champions of religious liberty. Today’s ruling cannot and must not be used to coerce a church or religious institution into performing marriages that their faith does not recognize. We should respect the sincerely held religious views of our fellow citizens, just as we respect those on the winning side of this case.”

Jun 26, 2015 9:15 AM

Reactions to SCOTUS upholding ACA in King v. Burwell [likely to be updated]

Here's a running list of statements we've received on the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act today, after the jump.

From TNGOP Chair Ryan Haynes:

“ObamaCare was created, passed, and implemented on a party-line basis. Democrats essentially shoved this down the throats of Americans and it is disheartening to see the Court develop another avenue to keep this hurtful law alive. Individuals and businesses are struggling under this law. Republicans are going to continue offering solutions to actually drive health care costs down and make quality health care accessible once again—which is the exact opposite of what Americans have gotten under this flawed law.”

From Rep. Diane Black:

“Today’s irresponsible Supreme Court decision does not change the fact that Obamacare is a fundamentally broken law that has failed to deliver on its most basic promises,” said Congressman Diane Black. “I am deeply disappointed that the court shirked its duty as a coequal branch of government by not acting to hold this President accountable for following his own laws, but my resolve to erase Obamacare remains stronger than ever. After today, one thing is certain: if this disastrous law is to be stopped, it will require strong leadership from Congress. We as conservatives must redouble our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. That is what Americans voted for at the ballot box last November and that is what they expect from us today.”

And a sunnier tone, from Rep. Jim Cooper:

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) today praised the Supreme Court for preserving federal subsidies that help an estimated 6.4 million Americans – including nearly 200,000 Tennesseans – pay for health insurance.

Cooper celebrated the ruling’s implications not only for those with federal subsidies, but also the insurance market and the preservation of benefits in the Affordable Care Act. For instance, health care insurers can no longer deny people for pre-existing conditions, and young adults can stay on a parent’s insurance plan until they turn 26.

Cooper also noted that the ruling removes a stated obstacle for passing Insure Tennessee.

“Tennessee legislators said they were waiting for the ruling,” Cooper said. “We now have it. They should finish the job and provide protection for all Tennesseans by passing Insure Tennessee.”

On Monday, Cooper will join a coalition of state and community leaders for a press conference on what’s next after today’s positive ruling.

From the RNC:

“Today’s ruling makes it clear that if we want to fix our broken healthcare system, then we will need to elect a Republican president with proven ideas and real solutions that will help American families," said Chairman Priebus. "Hillary Clinton supports big government mandates and expanding the government’s reach into our healthcare system, maneuvers that have made our healthcare system worse off. What you will not hear from Democrats today is any information on how to make healthcare more affordable at a time when premiums are getting more expensive.”

From Americans for Prosperity:

"We will not let politics be a distraction in the discussion on healthcare; our focus should be on people" said Andrew Ogles, state director of Americans for Prosperity Tennessee. "Today's decision only adds to the anxiety of Tennesseans who have already been harmed by Obamacare's burdensome mandates and out-of-control costs. Our efforts to encourage Congress to bring state-based and patient-focused reforms to healthcare will not stop."

From TNDP Chair Mary Mancini:

 “We are relieved for the nearly 200,000 Tennesseans who will continue to have access to affordable health care. It’s clear that the Supreme Court justices did the right thing in looking at the intent of the law rather than siding with a twisted interpretation of individual phrases.

The Affordable Care Act has saved lives and will continue help build a healthier America. The TNDP will continue to work to ensure every Tennessean has access to affordable health care, especially those in the “insurance gap” left by the Republican failure to pass Insure TN. For Democrats, the fight for strong families and effective government is not over, even with this ruling.” 

From Bill Freeman:

"Today we learned that the United States Supreme Court has affirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. It is time now for our legislature to call a special session immediately and pass Insure Tennessee so families that need health care the most can see a doctor. Let's act now. We shouldn't wait. Lives depend on it."

From the House Republican Leadership:

"The Supreme Court's decision is both surprising and disappointing. However, there will be no interruption for Tennesseans who have insurance through the federal exchange and no major disruption to the state's insurance marketplace. The Supreme Court's ruling shows the Affordable Care Act is a federal program, and this gives the U.S. Congress the opportunity to address the significant problems with the law. With Tennessee's TennCare waiver up for renewal next year, I hope HHS will be in a different posture to consider additional flexibility for our state Medicaid program and will consider block grants." — Speaker Beth Harwell (R–Nashville)

"Obviously, I am disappointed with today's Supreme Court ruling. ObamaCare has been a failed law from the start, and it is unfortunate that it has survived another legal challenge. I am hopeful that our elected officials in Washington will take action to repeal this law and replace it with something that will be beneficial for all citizens." — Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R–Chattanooga)

"As the Speaker stated, this decision from the Supreme Court is both surprising and disappointing. Now, more than ever, it is time for us to stand firm and tell Congress that it needs to clean up its own mess. ObamaCare is Washington’s problem and it needs to be repealed by Washington. Here in Tennessee, we will continue our fight against federal government mandates in our personal lives as we look for additional ways to protect our state from this flawed law." — Caucus Chairman Glen Casada (R–Thompson Station)

Jun 25, 2015 9:43 AM

Alexander agrees with Corker on Confederate flag

Lamar Alexander has joined the call to take down the Confederate flag at the South Carolina State Capitol.

Jun 22, 2015 1:58 PM

Corker 'see(s) no reason' to keep flying the Confederate flag

Tennessee's junior senator was born in South Carolina and he thinks the flag oughta come down. Meanwhile, a vexillologist makes a pretty big reach to suggest that Tennessee's flag calls to mind the Confederate flag.


Note: The original headline on this post read "American flag," which was obviously an error.

Jun 22, 2015 9:00 AM