published Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Political Notebook: Tennessee Right to Life endorses legislative hopefuls

The Tennessee Right to Life's political action committee has endorsed 75 candidates in state legislative contests on the Aug. 2 primary ballot, according to the group's website.

Among them is Republican Todd Gardenhire, who is running in the open 10th Senate District race in Hamilton and Bradley counties. He faces fellow Republican Greg Vital in the Aug. 2 GOP primary.

Other area endorsements include Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, who faces Basil Marceaux, of Soddy-Daisy, in the GOP primary. Tennessee Right to Life also endorsed House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, and Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, who have no primary opponents.

The Tennessee Right to Life PAC also is backing Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, in his GOP primary race with Dayton insurance agency owner Ron Travis as well as Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, in his primary contest with Jack Epperson, pastor of Fairview Worship Center.

The group gave a nod as well to Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, who faces opposition from David Kimbro.

According to the website of TRLFPAC, which opposes abortion, "every endorsed candidate must support the basic civil right to life of every human being, without exception, and regardless of age, handicap or social position."

Preferences are given to incumbents who have backed the group's positions "100 percent" on legislation opposing abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia and who submits a candidate survey backing all their positions.

In cases involving nonincumbents, endorsements are made on the basis of survey answers, interviews or "those candidates who we are absolutely convinced will not only vote pro-life, but also use their position to be a leader on our issues."

Ramsey pleased with TRA

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the Republican Senate speaker, is "pleased with the progress" he and other officials are making in filling positions at the recently overhauled Tennessee Regulatory Authority, a spokesman said.

"The lieutenant is working closely with the [Haslam] administration and the House speaker [Beth Harwell] to identify the highest qualified executive director and part-time directors candidates available," Ramsey spokesman Adam Kleinheider said in an email.

He said Ramsey "recognizes the importance of giving Tennessee the highest quality TRA and is pleased at the progress we are making towards that goal."

The Times Free Press reported earlier this week that the July 1 law restructuring the agency came and went with no appointments. The Tennessee Regulatory Authority oversees investor-owned utilities rate-increase requests and has three pending petitions to hike rates, including one from Tennessee American Water.

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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