published Monday, December 16th, 2013

Political notebook: State Rep. Mike Turner to keep his post

State House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner has reversed course on previously announced plans to quit his leadership post and will remain at the helm through the 2014 election.

"No, I'm not going to quit," Turner said last week. "I'm going to serve out my term."

In early November the Nashville lawmaker said he planned to step down, citing differences with Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron over political philosophy and campaign strategy.

Fellow Democrats, including Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, urged Turner to reconsider.

"I've talked to my members and unanimously they've said, 'What were you thinking?'" Turner said last week. "You know me. I tend to shoot from the hip sometimes."

Turner said he was "extremely frustrated at the time with what was going on. But since then I've talked to Roy and Roy's doing the best that he can. And he's going to do what he does, and I'm going to do what I do and we're moving on."

Noting he was elected to "lead us through this next election cycle," Turner said he will do just that. "It would be unfair to the candidates we're trying to recruit and to my caucus members. ... It'd be selfish on my part and unfair, so I'm going to serve out my term. I may not run again next time, but I'm going to serve my term."

Turner and Herron clashed over the party's role in upcoming elections as Democrats, weakened by Republican-controlled redistricting in 2012 and the unpopularity of Democratic President Barack Obama in Tennessee, seek to eke out meager gains in 2014.

Once-mighty Democrats have just 28 representatives in the 99-member House and seven senators in that 33-member chamber.

Young assumes duties at state Supreme Court

William E. "Bill" Young, the Tennessee attorney general's former solicitor general, has joined the state's Administrative Office of the Courts as its new administrative director.

Young was appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court in September to direct the office of about 75 people who provide administrative support to trial and appellate judges and courts across the state.

A former general counsel for Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Young said in a statement that "I appreciate the tremendous opportunity provided to me by the Supreme Court and look forward to serving in this capacity."

Young is replacing Libby Sykes, who is retiring.

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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