published Friday, August 29th, 2014

Democrats picked for TVA board

President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated two more Tennessee Democrats to the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The White House is recommending for the TVA board Virginia Lodge, a Nashville consultant and former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services, and Ron Walter, general manager of a Memphis TV station. The nominees would replace two of the three board seats being vacated by East Tennessee representatives whose terms have expired. The new appointments, if approved by the Senate, also would mean the entire part-time board at TVA would be held by Democrats for the first time.

Oak Ridge attorney Neil McBride left the TVA board in January. The terms of retired MTSU economist Barbara Haskew, a Chattanooga Democrat, and former TVA Chairman Bill Sansom, a Knoxville Republican, expired in May. Haskew and Sansom won't leave the board until the Senate confirms their successors or the next Congress convenes.

Lodge, a longtime Democrat activist and wife of former Tennessee Democrat Party chairman Dick Lodge, served as one of the commissioners in the Cabinet of Gov. Phil Bredesen, D-Tenn., from 2003 to 2011. She is now chief executive for FSI Inc. in Nashville.

Walter, a former manager at Memphis Light Gas and Water who once served as an assistant to former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Sr., D-Tenn., is president and general manager of Memphis television station WREG.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis, one of only two Democrats in Tennessee's congressional delegation, said he has known Walter for 40 years "and know of no finer citizen in our community."

Since 2006, TVA has been governed by a 9-member, part-time board appointed by the White House and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

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