published Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Political Notebook: DesJarlais opposes Boehner's offer to avoid 'fiscal cliff'

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., was among Republicans prepared to vote against legislation crafted by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to avoid the nation's "fiscal cliff" to reduce the deficit.

"Unfortunately, today's legislation does not contain anywhere near the sufficient level of spending cuts the overwhelming majority of my Fourth District constituents demand," DesJarlais said in a statement.

"The only way to end our yearly trillion dollar deficits is to institute serious reforms and prioritize our spending," DesJarlais said.

His statement came out before Boehner, faced with rebelling GOP lawmakers, pulled the measure.

Boehner's legislation would have extended current tax rates for everyone except those whose incomes exceed $1 million.

Democrats look for leaders

Jane Hampton Bowen and others hoping to become the next Tennessee Democratic Party chairman made presentations to state House Democratic Caucus members Thursday.

The House and Senate caucus chairmen are on the party's 72-member governing panel. Legislative Democrats have a big stake in who's selected, especially since Republicans won supermajorities in fall elections in both chambers.

Bowen, a Democratic activist and vice president of the Chattanooga Area Labor Council, is a relatively late entry into the chairman's race. Also presenting to House Democrats were Dave Garrison, the party's treasurer, and Wade Munday, a former communications director for the party.

Armstrong to lead black caucus

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators will be headed by a Tennessee lawmaker, Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, who will serve as the group's president for the next two years.

Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis, remains Region IV chairwoman (Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia). Reps. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, and Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar, will serve as at-large Executive Committee members.

"I am honored to be chosen by my peers to serve as the president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators," Armstrong said. "I look forward to working with my colleagues to expand the caucus and find new and better ways to serve our African-American constituencies."

Ron Ramsey on GOPAC board

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the state's Republican Senate speaker, has joined the Legislative Leaders Advisory Board of GOPAC, a national Republican organization that provides training and financial support to state and local GOP candidates.

Ramsey, whose tenure begins next week, called it an honor to join GOPAC's "mission of cultivating conservative leaders in government. GOPAC was crucial to my early success in the legislature."

"We need more people in the public sphere who recognize that government doesn't create jobs; businesses and people do," Ramsey said.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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