The Nissan Leaf has hit production, and notable Tennessee politicos are among the first to acquire the all-electric vehicle.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander got his today, and said that following his example “would be the single best way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.” See the Knoxville News Sentinel for more.
Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist posted a picture of the LEAF’s charging receptacle on Twitter and echoed Alexander’s remarks on foreign oil: “[N]o more gas for me! No more $$$ to Libya, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia….”
Sen. Bob Corker is known for driving his smart fortwo in and around Chattanooga. (Does anyone know if Corker’s is the electric drive, or the gasoline model?)
Because I clearly hate myself, I am going to try writing a weekly digest that highlights key moments in our elected officials’ public lives. If you have an idea for a catchy series title, provide it below.
In the state House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads) introduced a bill that would change the rules and prohibit last-minute floor amendments, even though when Democrats controlled the Legislature, Republicans—including Majority Leader Gerald McCormick—had a lot of fun introducing such surprises. Tom Humphrey explains.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Germantown) championed a new state law that prohibits the Memphis City Schools system from immediately dissolving if a referendum scheduled for March 8 passes. Fellow Shelby County Senators Beverly Marrero and Jim Kyle, both Democrats, argued against it. Kyle shrewdly (if unsuccessfully) used the typically Republican argument for more local control over local matters. Norris countered that the Memphis school system is “a special special school district” and that the state has an overriding responsibility to make sure adequate education is provided. From the Memphis Flyer:
The bill, a response to the ongoing controversy over school-system merger and/or special school districts in Shelby County would restructure public-school education in the county and allow a merger of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools in such a way [that might create] one or more special school districts.
Governor Bill Haslam created a little distance from some of his fellow Republicans in the General Assembly by suggesting that if immigration reform laws are too harsh, they might prevent international businesses from choosing Tennessee. Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) said that he will work with the governor to address some of these concerns.
U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann invoked Mark Winslow‘s favorite British prime minister during a floor speech on behalf of small businesses. Meanwhile, Fleischmann’s chief of staff, Chip Saltsman, was quoted in a Politico article on the backlash suffered by former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum after Santorum made some admittedly gauche remarks about potential 2012 rival and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “’One thing they don’t like in a Republican primary is attacking other Republicans,’ (Saltsman) said. ‘That’s not the best way to make a name for yourself.’” Is he perhaps citing a lesson learned?
Fleischmann also granted this blog an exclusive interview last week, the results of which are posted here.
U.S. Senator Bob Corker kept all of his committee assignments, which are Banking, Energy, Foreign Relations, and the Special Committee on Aging, of which he is the ranking Republican.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander will make another attempt for the party’s whip (my hair back and forth?) position in the Senate, following the announcement that Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) will retire. Side note: some Arizona Democrats are pushing for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to run for the open seat. Um, what? The courageous lady is amazingly recovering from being shot in the head. She ordered toast with breakfast. One step at a time, please.
U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) have introduced a bill that would introduce sweeping cuts to the federal budget over the next decade. From Sen. Corker’s website:
The Commitment to American Prosperity Act, the “CAP Act,” would:
(1) Put in place a 10-year glide path to cap all spending – discretionary and mandatory – to a declining percentage of the country’s gross domestic product, eventually bringing spending down from the current level, 24.7 percent of GDP, to the 40-year historical level of 20.6 percent, and
(2) If Congress fails to meet the annual cap, authorize the Office of Management and Budget to make evenly distributed, simultaneous cuts throughout the federal budget to bring spending down to the pre-determined level. Only a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress could override the binding cap, and
(3) For the first time, eliminate the deceptive “off-budget” distinction for Social Security – providing a complete and accurate assessment of all federal spending.
Tennessee’s senior U.S. Senator, Lamar Alexander, is a co-sponsor, as are both senators from Georgia; the rest of the initial co-sponsor list comprises Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mark Kirk of Illinois, and John McCain of Arizona.
The first decade of the twenty-first century is ending, and though there is no rule that says retrospectives must be timed to coincide neatly with flips of pages in man-made calendars, such is, in practice, when they are written. Following is a brief recap of Tennessee politics, from the perspective of one who, in late 2000, was just starting to pay attention. Continue reading