Bill Haslam says he's eyeing concerns about Brown

Bill Haslam says he's eyeing concerns about Brown

March 2nd, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam answers questions during a meeting with the Times Free Press editorial board.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam says he wants to get to the bottom of GOP senators' concerns jeopardizing his nomination of William "Chink" Brown to the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission.

"All that happened while I was out of town over the weekend," Haslam, a Republican, told reporters this week. "So we're in the middle of trying to understand what some of the concerns are in the Senate and try to find out more of the background."

Asked whether he can salvage Brown's nomination, Haslam said, "I need obviously to understand the concerns. Right now, I don't understand what all the concerns are."

An attorney and former Hamilton County judge, Brown was among 13 nominees who came up for confirmation votes in the GOP-controlled Senate on Feb. 21.

Freshman Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, bumped the resolution confirming Brown from the consent calendar, a package of noncontroversial measures.

The 12 other nominees were confirmed. The commission oversees the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which manages wildlife, hunting and fishing.

Formerly known as the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission, the panel was overhauled last year. Brown had been chairman the past two years. The nomination was for him to complete his term on the restructured body.

Gardenhire won't say why he doesn't want Brown on the panel, but he has said other senators also have concerns about the nomination and there aren't five votes to bring it out of committee.

Brown, appointed by Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, is a Democrat. Some legislative aides suspect that, along with fights at the old commission, may have hurt him.

Meanwhile, the House on Monday night confirmed all 13 nominees, including Brown.

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said he doesn't know Brown well, but moved his nomination Monday because "I just took the governor at his word, that he wanted him on board, so I was for him."