Gary Odom wants to bring back the sales-tax rebate program from flood victims:
The General Assembly allocated $20 million last summer for those affected by the natural disaster to receive sales tax rebates for replacing appliances or buying building materials to rebuild their homes. But the legislature gave flood victims only until Sept. 30 to apply for the program and only 2,583 applications were filed before the deadline. Just $3.7 million of the funds have been requested. State Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville, has filed legislation that would extend the program into 2011 and allow flood victims to pursue their full rebates.
Dec 23, 2010 7:00 AM
JB notes the geographic tilt of the Democratic GA leadership:
This is the region which provided the Democrats their leaders (John Wilder of Somerville as Senate Speaker; Jimmy Naifeh of Covington as House Speaker) during their most recent decades of domination, now gone. On Wednesday, a reduced party caucus, meeting in Nashville, elected Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley, 50-odd miles north of Memphis, to lead the Democrats in the state House (succeeding Gary Odom of Nashville). They also named two Memphis representatives — Joe Towns and Lois DeBerry, as assistant party leader and floor leader, respectively. Yet a third Memphian, Rep. John DeBerry, had been a contestant for the position of minority leader. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, named three West Tennesseans as their principal officers. Jim Kyle of Memphis returns as Democratic Senate leader, Lowe Finney of Jackson was elected caucus chairman, and Beverly Marrero of Memphis was named secretary/treasurer. The Democrats’ vice chair is Andy Berke of Chattanooga.
Dec 16, 2010 11:16 AM
Newscoma on what Fitzhugh's gotta do:
It means that leadership in the House and the Senate are going to be a huge line of defense from really scary bills this year. It means that they both have challenges of not only informing Tennesseans about what is REALLY going on but they are going to have to suit up and show up regarding bills being tossed around right now from more of the fringe element in the GOP. An example of what we are facing in this state. Bill Ketron and Joe Carr want an Arizona-type illegal immigration law on the books. Arizona has lost millions in tourism. What is one thing that Tennessee makes a ton of money from? You do the math. Think about it just a moment from the perspective of economic development and industrial growth as well. As the Metropulse story quoted, does this law apply to Volkswagon (Germany) or Nissan (Japan) or just to people south of us? And don’t even get me started on SJR 127. We aren’t in the majority, so I for one wish the new leadership well. And I hope they can hold the line of fire, because if you thought we had some whacked out bills in the past, we haven’t seen anything yet.The TN Report with more on what it all means:
In a year when lawmakers from both sides of the isle say voters want change, the makeup of both parties’ House leadership now is substantially different than a year ago. The lower chamber now will be managed by Republicans, who last month nominated Rep. Beth Harwell to replace Kent Williams, an independent, as House speaker. Republicans have already named Rep. Gerald McCormick as the new majority leader. He replaces former Republican Caucus Leader Jason Mumpower, who didn’t seek reelection to the Legislature, and was recently hired to join Comptroller Justin Wilson’s staff. Now that Odom is out of the leadership picture, Fitzhugh’s election puts a new face on the Democratic Caucus, which now has 34 members to the Republicans’ 64. But despite being heavily outnumbered, Fitzhugh says Democrats will make their voices heard. “Don’t count us irrelevant because I believe we represent millions of Tennesseans who believe the same thing. No matter what the numbers are, as I said, we’re going to try to have a seat at the table,” he said.
Dec 16, 2010 9:08 AM
Woods with it:
Fitzhugh, who was chairman of the powerful Finance Committee in the last legislature, defeated Odom on the second ballot. The third candidate, Rep. John DeBerry of Memphis, won the fewest votes on the first ballot, setting up the Fitzhugh-Odom runoff. The election was conducted by secret ballot. “After this last election, I just knew we found ourselves in a completely unacceptable position,” said Fitzhugh, 60, who is from Ripley in rural West Tennessee. “We cannot let this stand. We have a message. We don’t need to change our message. We just need to articulate it better. We need to focus on people, I believe. We need to focus on working men and women. We need to focus on healthy, learning children, senior citizens, veterans and those who are in need. “I’ve got a fire in my belly, as they say, to try to help us get that message back,” he told the Democratic caucus.
Dec 15, 2010 12:58 PM
Also: Feds aim to seize ebony from Gibson Guitar, and local investment bank sues client [From our print edition featured in Monday's City Paper]
Aug 14, 2010 7:35 PM
Race to become state's next Speaker of the House heating up
Jun 30, 2010 8:49 PM
[caption id="attachment_95996" align="alignright" width="159" caption="Jim Harwell"][/caption] The brother-in-law of state Rep. Beth Harwell tells Post Politics that there is "absolutely no way" he would ever run against his sister-in-law despite pulling the necessary papers to do so. The AP reported yesterday that Jim Harwell had pulled a petition to run in the District 56 GOP primary and quoted Rep. Harwell as saying her brother-in law was just "exploring the process." Jim Harwell confirmed to Post Politics that that was indeed the case. In fact, he said he was actually not sure which state House district he lived in which is why he pulled petitions for both District 56 and District 55, House Minority Leader Gary Odom's district. Jim Harwell said he later determined that he lives in Odom's district. He said he lives right on the border of the two districts and has lived in one or the other for most of his adult life. He indicated the reason he pulled both petitions was to hedge against any unforeseen circumstances. Many political observers believe that were state Sen. Doug Henry not on the ballot in state Senate District 21 that both Rep. Odom and Rep. Harwell would be interested in running for that seat, setting off a scramble among potential candidates for their House seats. Henry is currently being opposed by attorney Jeff Yarbro in the Democratic primary. When asked if the reason he had pulled petitions in both districts was just in case Henry, a Democrat, either decided not to or was unable to run, Jim Harwell said, "Yes. Something like that." While Jim Harwell said he is "99 percent sure" he will not run for either seat this cycle, he did admit to wanting to be "well-positioned" for a future race if situations changed. "Like I said, I would never run against [my sister-in-law], but were the situation to change, I would be interested in running for either seat," he said. Rep. Harwell, when contacted by Post Politics, offered no additional comment.
Mar 27, 2010 4:23 PM
The latest handwringing by Republicans over comments made by state House Caucus chair Mike Turner that opposition to health care reform (and President Obama in general) is racially motivated has sparked a biting retort from a fellow Democrat who has not always been an ally. Minority Leader Gary Odom, who has often been on the outs with the Caucus Chair, stood up for him in a big way. Not only does Odom stand behind Turner's comments, he offers a rebuttal listing the somewhat unsavory recent history of the TNGOP and race:
I believe that Chairman Turner’s comments were intentionally taken out of context for the purpose of political grandstanding. Chairman Turner stated his personal belief that there are some who oppose our President because of his race. I find it remarkable that House Republicans would condemn the use of racial overtones in political debate, when you consider recent Republican activities in our state and our country. The following examples of Republican political activities in our state should never be forgotten: 1. Putting a picture of former Rep. Nathan Vaughn and President Obama in a Republican-funded mail piece, which depicted them as blackbirds in the 2008 House of Representatives election in District 2. 2. Former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chip Saltsman sending out Christmas music entitled “Barack the Magic Negro.” 3. Former state Republican Press Secretary Bill Hobbs inferring President Obama is a Muslim by depicting him in traditional African attire and calling his supporters anti-Semites. 4. House Republicans, including the House Republican Caucus Chair, openly signing on as plaintiffs in a frivolous lawsuit questioning whether the president is a citizen of the United States of America. 5. A Republican Senate staff person that sent out a photo composite that pictured all of the U.S. presidents but depicted President Obama in a black background with only two white eyes. She was not terminated for this action. 6. Recent activities in our nation’s Capital where African-American members of Congress were spat on and subjected to the “N-word.” Following a House Republican Press conference, Mr. Chris Devaney, Chair of the Tennessee Republican Party said in a letter to Chairman Forrester: “I think that … comments about race have no place in a healthy political debate.” House Democrats agree.PREVIOUSLY: Turner's original comments with video. SEE ALSO: Tiny Cat Pants Speak To Power
Mar 23, 2010 3:36 PM
We present to you our annual awards and an irreverent look back at the year in local and state politics
Oct 23, 2009 12:25 PM
Premature press release by controversial state representative almost kills expansion bill
Jun 18, 2009 11:52 AM