Press Releases

Ball Announces Own List of ‘Diverse’ Supporters in U.S. Senate Campaign

Press release from the Gordon Ball for U.S. Senate Campaign; August 25, 2014:

The Gordon Ball for Senate Campaign announced today the first round of “Tennesseans For Ball” endorsement which includes a diverse list of Democrats, Republicans and Independents from across the state.

“We have been talking to elected leaders, the business community and concerned Tennesseans who are standing with us in our challenge to take on career politician Sen. Lamar Alexander,” Gordon Ball said “I want to work with all Tennesseans from diverse and various backgrounds to take back our state from corporate interests. We need to help working Tennesseans. Lamar Alexander, if you look at his voting record, has worked against them.”

The list is split across the state and includes former University of Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl, Congressman Jim Cooper, businessman Mark Hazlewood and former Democratic Senate primary opponent, Terry Adams.

  • Terry Adams, Former U.S. Senate Candidate and Knoxville Attorney
  • Joe Armstrong, State Representative
  • Brady Banks, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Megan Barry, Metro/Nashville Councilwoman
  • Murry Bartow, Former East Tennessee State University Head Basketball Coach
  • Rodney Beard, Pastor Living Word Community Church
  • Fabian Bedne, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Bill Blankenship, Architect
  • Melvin Bond, Haywood County Sheriff
  • Ed Brantley, Knox County Commissioner
  • Gary Brewer, Attorney
  • Joe Brown, Memphis City Councilman
  • Frank Cagle, Talk Show Host, Metropulse columnist and retired political analyst
  • Angela Callis, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeewoman-Elect
  • Karen Camper, State Representative
  • Charles Carpenter, Memphis Attorney
  • Bryan Carson, Shelby County Democratic Party Chair
  • Gale Jones Carson, Tennessee Democratic Party Secretary and Member of the DNC
  • Sidney Chism, Shelby County Commissioner
  • Bob Clement, Former U.S. Congressman
  • Barbara Cooper, State Representative
  • Jim Cooper, U.S. Congressman
  • Larry Crim, CEO of Christian Counseling Centers of America
  • Anthony Davis, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Lincoln Davis, Former U.S. Congressman
  • Paige Dennis, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeewoman
  • Dick Eskind, Nashville Businessman
  • Joann Favors, State Representative
  • Billy Fields, Former Davidson County Democratic Party Chair
  • Craig Fitzhugh, State Representative and Democratic House Minority Leader
  • Justin Ford, Shelby County Commissioner
  • Chip Forrester, Former Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman
  • Renard Francois, Nashville Businessman
  • Bill Freeman, Nashville Businessman
  • Janis Fullilove, Memphis City Councilwoman
  • Brenda Gilmore, State Representative
  • Wanda Halbert, Memphis City Councilwoman
  • Lee Harris, Memphis City Councilman and Democratic Nominee State Senate District 29
  • Mark Hazlewood, Former President of Pilot Flying J
  • Roy Herron, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman
  • Walter Hunt, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Tom Jesse, Johnson City Attorney
  • Martavius Jones, Former Memphis School Board Member
  • Sherry Jones, State Representative
  • Myron Lowery, Vice Chairman Memphis City Council
  • Bill Lusk, Mayor of Signal Mountain
  • Sandy Lusk, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeewoman
  • John R. Marek, Memphis Attorney
  • Beverly Marrero, Former State Senator
  • Lonnell Matthews, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Jerry Maynard, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Kim McMillan, Mayor of Clarksville
  • Harold Middlebrook, Pastor Canaan Baptist Church
  • Reginald Milton, Shelby County Commissioner-elect
  • Bo Mitchell, State Representative
  • Larry Miller, State Representative
  • Colonel Charles L. and Ellen Moore, U.S. Army Ret.
  • Gary Moore, President of AFL-CIO
  • Sandra Moore, Metro/Nashville Councilwoman
  • Steve Mulroy, Shelby County Commissioner
  • Wade Munday, Tennessee Democratic Party Treasurer
  • Diane Neighbors, Metro/Nashville Vice-Mayor
  • Bill Owen, Former State Senator and Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeeman
  • Adrienne Pakis-Gillon, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeewoman
  • Bruce Pearl, Former University of Tennessee Head Men’s Basketball Coach and Current Auburn Head Men’s Basketball Coach
  • Jason Powell, State Representative
  • Jeannie Richardson, Former State Representative
  • Karl and Gail Schledwitz, Memphis Businessman
  • Michael Scoggins, Business Manager Iron Workers Local 167
  • Jim Sellers, U.S. Air Force Ret. and Department of Veterans Affairs Ret.
  • Paul Shaffer, Business Manager IBEW Local 474
  • Johnny Shaw, State Representative
  • Paul Smith, Former Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair
  • Robert Sproles, Business Manager Steamfitters Local 614 and Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeeman
  • A.J. Starling, Treasurer of AFL-CIO
  • Steve Steffens, Memphis Democratic Blogger and Activist
  • Mike Stewart, State Representative
  • Jim Strickland, Chairman Memphis City Council
  • Jerry Summers, Attorney
  • Dwayne Thompson, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeeman and Democratic Nominee State Representative District 96
  • Joe Towns, State Representative
  • Johnnie Turner, State Representative
  • Van Turner, Former Shelby County Democratic Party Chair and Shelby County Commissioner-elect
  • Joyce Washington, Democratic Nominee State Representative District 76
  • Gay Webb, Dead Pigeon River Council
  • Kenneth Whalum, Pastor New Olivet Baptist Church
  • Ruby Wharton, Memphis Attorney
  • Jason D. Williams, Entertainer of Jason and the Scorchers
  • Norro Wilson, Grammy Award Winner
  • Tim Woodward
  • Jeff Yarbro, Democratic Nominee State Senate District 21
  • Zach Young, Goodlettsville City Commissioner

The Ball campaign is chaired by former U.S. Congressman Lincoln Davis. Serving as co-chairs in the Eastern Division is Rep. Joe T. Armstrong and Democratic Senate Primary opponent Terry Adams. The Middle Division is being represented by co-chairs Bill Freeman and Metro/Nashville Councilman-At-Large Jerry Maynard. TNDP treasurer Gale Jones Carson and Rep. Craig Fitzhugh have committed to representing Ball in the Western Division.

Press Releases

Carr: Alexander’s Record ‘More Liberal’ Than Cooper’s

Press release from the Joe Carr Campaign for U.S. Senate; August 26, 2013:

Murfreesboro, TN—Rep. Joe Carr criticized Senator Lamar Alexander’s liberal voting record today. Alexander, responding to a question from Knoxville’s WBIR, said “I hope Tennesseans will look at me and the score card…”

“I hope Tennesseans take Senator Alexander up on that offer and examine his scorecard,” Carr responded. “They won’t like what they find. The scorecard reflects what we’ve been saying: Alexander is ranked the third most liberal of Tennessee’s eleven member delegation, with an unacceptable 41% conservative voting record.”

“Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper scored higher than Alexander. That’s very troubling to conservatives, and they realize it’s time to make a change in leadership. You also have to consider that the average Senate Republican has a 67% conservative voting record. I don’t think Tennesseans are going to let Senator Alexander get away with calling himself a conservative when he is that far below average,” predicted Carr.

According to Heritage Action for America, Alexander earned a dismal 41% conservative score based on his voting record, falling below Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper from the 5th Congressional District.

Congressional scorecards from conservative organizations Club for Growth and Madison Project demonstrate a similar liberal voting pattern.

“Senator Alexander has missed several opportunities to lead as a conservative. Instead he’s sided with liberals time and time again. Whether failing to stand with Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee on defunding Obamacare, voting to give amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants or voting with President Obama 62% of the time—Lamar has lost touch,” Carr said.

Rep. Carr, a 1981 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, is a business consultant who helps companies become more energy efficient. Additionally, he and his wife Ginny own and operate Cedar Snag Farms in Lascassas.
He was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 2008 and currently serves as Chairman of the Local Government subcommittee. He is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, a member of the National Federation of Independent Business, Tennessee Right to Life, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce and the MTSU Blue Raider Athletic Association. He is also an accomplished private pilot and member of the Aircraft Owners & Pilot Association.

Rep. Carr and Ginny, married for 30 years, have three children: Erin, Joe Jr., and Maddie. Ginny and Joe also have a grandson, Colby. Carr has lived in Rutherford County since he was a young boy and his family roots go back five generations in Rutherford County. Joe, Ginny and Joe Jr. are members of Believers Chapel in Murfreesboro.

Press Releases

TNHDC Praise Cooper’s Proposal to Constitutionally Guarantee Voting Rights

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; May 2, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – House Democrats are applauding a proposal by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) to enshrine the people’s right to vote in the constitution. On Wednesday, Rep. Cooper announced that he would introduce a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that fully guarantees the people’s right to vote.

“The Republicans have worked hard over the past decade to find new and creative ways to get around the Voting Rights Act,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner. “The so-called ‘reforms’ they have introduced amount to little more than a poll tax designed to keep the poor from exercising their rights. This proposed amendment would halt the GOP assault on our rights and preserve our democracy for future generations.”

Earlier this year the Republican super-majority pushed through a proposal that would eliminate various forms of identification from being accepted at the ballot box. Additionally, an initial proposal to allow college students to use their state-issued ID was stripped in order to make it harder for young students to exercise their right to vote.

“We have seen an assault on voting rights like we haven’t witnessed since the 1950s,” said Rep. Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville). “By guaranteeing the right to vote in the constitution, we can once and for all say that no man or woman should be denied their God-given right to suffrage.”

Liberty and Justice NewsTracker

Harwell: Run for Congress ‘Not Something That’s High on My Agenda’

Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell immediately burst out laughing Thursday when asked point blank, “Do you want to run for Congress against Jim Cooper?”

“I don’t know how this got started,” said Harwell. “I think there is a survey that was sent out. I have not seen the results of that. But that’s not something I’m looking at right now, and I don’t know if someone will. I don’t know that answer.”

The subject surfaced in Nashville this week when Pat Nolan, who writes the Capitol View Commentary for, reported on a telephone poll being taken about a potential Harwell-Cooper race for the 5th District congressional seat. Nolan speculated that the source might be the Republican Party putting up trial balloons to see who might give Cooper a strong run.

Harwell, a Republican from Nashville, is in her first term as Tennessee’s speaker of the House, the first woman to hold that office. She was first elected to the General Assembly in 1988 and is a former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party.

Cooper is a moderate Democrat and one of only two Democratic congressmen in the state to hang onto his seat in the Republican onslaught of 2010.

Except for saying people have often talked to her about the potential of running for higher office, Harwell did not sound like a likely congressional candidate Thursday.

When another reporter asked, “So you’re ruling it out?” Harwell laughed again.

“What, you guys want the jump or something?” she asked. “I haven’t even thought about it. We’re so focused on what we’re doing here. I’ll give it some thought, but it’s not something that’s high on my agenda right now.”

Harwell attempted to draw attention back to the business at hand.

“I’m excited about state government, and I feel good about the state Legislature and where we’re going.

“I think the answer to our nation really is to return a lot of these programs back to the state level, because I think Congress has proven itself inept.”

Cooper, a moderate Democrat and member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, has served the 5th District since 2003. He previously served as Tennessee’s 4th District representative.

Cooper defeated Republican newcomer David Hall last November with 57 percent of the vote to Hall’s 42 percent. Hall ran a surprisingly strong race, collecting 71,843 votes, behind Cooper’s 97,834, in what has historically been a safe Democratic seat. Hall emerged from a crowded field in the Republican primary.

The 5th District seat, like other Democratic seats in the state at both the state and federal level, has been the subject of speculation over redistricting and how the district’s lines will be drawn.

Currently, three members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation are former state legislators. They are 6th District Rep. Diane Black, 7th District Rep. Marsha Blackburn and 9th District Rep. Steve Cohen. All three were state senators. Black and Blackburn are Republicans. Cohen is a Democrat.

Press Releases

Harwell Says Cooper, Durbin Are Trampling on States’ Rights

Statement from House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville; Sept. 13, 2011: 

(NASHVILLE, September 13, 2011) – Speaker Beth Harwell on Tuesday reiterated the importance of the new law passed by the Tennessee General Assembly that requires photo identification to vote, after Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin joined with Congressman Jim Cooper to criticize the law.

“The Tennessee legislature passed this law to ensure fair elections which are a cornerstone of democracy. Legitimate votes are cancelled out when fraud occurs, and it the state’s responsibility to prevent voter fraud. I commend the General Assembly for taking seriously the state’s responsibility of securing our ballot box. We could only hope that Congress would be this serious about securing our borders,” said Harwell.

“I would suggest to our federal officials that they get their own house in order first. In an era of rising deficits, ballooning debt, and bloated federal government in Washington Dick Durbin and Jim Cooper have chosen to ignore those problems and come to Tennessee to trample on states’ rights. No wonder Congress has an 82 percent disapproval rating. Congressman Cooper has assumed the Washington mentality of not respecting states’ rights.

“The Tennessee General Assembly has balanced a budget, kept taxes low, and protected our elections. We are doing just fine without Washington’s help,” Harwell concluded.

Business and Economy Featured NewsTracker Tax and Budget

Durbin Pushing for ‘National Standard’ on Internet Sales Tax Collections

As state government officials here wrestle with requiring to collect sales taxes from Tennessee consumers on their Internet purchases, one of the country’s top congressional Democrats told reporters in Nashville Monday he’s pushing for a national cure.

But he’s anything but certain how long it will take to pass his “Main Street Fairness Act.”

“(Congressman Jim Cooper) and I would be loath to suggest we do anything quickly in Washington,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and assistant majority leader in the Senate. “But I think it is within the realm of possibility if we get the right bill and vehicle moving.”

Gov. Bill Haslam is looking to Washington officials to settle the ongoing disputes between states and online retailers like Amazon to standardize the collection of sales taxes. A month prior to his inauguration, then Gov. Phil Bredesen cut a deal with Amazon allowing it to open up distribution centers around the state without having to collect the taxes.

Although Haslam agreed, he says his administration is in the process of negotiating a long-term solution that would honor the former governor’s agreement while still opening up the possibility that the state can eventually collect sales taxes from the Internet retail giant. So far, details of those talks have been kept secret.

“You won’t be surprised to know that most Americans don’t pay the state or local sales tax on their Internet purchases,” said Durbin, who held a press conference with Cooper at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. “If it looks like you’re somehow imposing a new tax, you can imagine what happens in Washington. There will be groups that are marching in the streets against it.”

He said his plan would create a national standard to require large Internet retailers to collect state and local sales taxes and exempt small Internet sellers. Durbin says Amazon supports his proposal.

“This is not a new tax,” said Cooper. “This is a collection of an existing tax and everybody should be for that.”