More than a dozen candidates in the May 6 primaries are expected to speak and meet the public at a candidate forum Thursday hosted by the Chattanooga Tea Party.
The event is set for 6:30 p.m. at The Century Club Banquet Hall, 3221 Harrison Pike, according to a news release. The hall is off Access Road, just south of the Highway 153-Amnicola Highway intersection, next to The Lighting Gallery.
A straw poll will be taken at the end of the meeting.
Attendees are asked to bring a nonperishable canned good for donation to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.
Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP at Chattanooga Tea Party's Facebook page (link at ChattanoogaTeaParty.com). Donations will be accepted to help defray costs.
Democrats: GOP broke promise
Tennessee Democrats slammed Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and GOP lawmakers for reneging on the promise of raises for teachers and state employees.
Haslam's initial budget would have included a 2 percent raise for teachers and a 1 percent bump for other state employees, as well as $29 million to fund the Complete College Act to enhance higher education.
Haslam deleted the raises when revenues fell as much as $300 million short.
However, Democrats noted in a news release the salary boosts would have come from a one-time use of $50 million in reserve funds from the state's Fast Track grant program, along with $31.8 million from the state's rainy day fund, now up to $491 million.
"It appears that my Republican colleagues value loyalty to their party more than loyalty to their constituents," House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh said in the release. "Republicans sent a message that keeping their promise to teachers isn't a priority. They'd rather hoard money in reserve funds than pay teachers for the hard work they do each day."
Blackburn could seek presidency
The Humphrey on the Hill blog in the Knoxville News Sentinel and CBS news both quote Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics as saying that U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee will consider running for president in 2016 if she sees an opportunity to do so.
The Conroy story said Blackburn was scheduled to speak at a Republican rally over the weekend in New Hampshire, hosted by conservative groups Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity.
The story noted that no Republican women now are known to be looking at a presidential bid in 2016.
"There is kind of a void to fill there," a Blackburn aide was quoted in the story. "Whenever there's been a need for leadership or someone to get out there and fight the fight, she's always been the first in line and she's not afraid of it. She's not afraid to go toe to toe with anybody."
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Judy Walton has worked 25 years at the Chattanooga Times and the Times Free Press as an editor and reporter focusing on government coverage and investigations. At various times she has been an assistant metro editor, region reporter and editor, county government reporter, government-beat team leader, features editor and page designer. Originally from California, Walton was brought up in a military family and attended a dozen schools across the country. She earned a journalism degree ...