Contributed photo / Weston Wamp

Wamp named among top young conservatives

Weston Wamp, the founder of the Millennial Debt Foundation and host of the popular "Swamp Stories" podcast about Washington D.C. politics, was named Wednesday among the Future 40 conservative leaders in America by Mavericks INC, a national network of conservative young professionals.

Wamp is the son of former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tennessee who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in Tennessee's 3rd congressional district in both 2012 and 2014. Since then, Wamp worked as an early stage investor raising capital for the Dynamo Fund and later starting the MDF Debt Foundation to organize events and raise awareness of the problems with the rising U.S. federal debt. Mavericks INC. said the Millennial Debt Foundation has organized "some of the most important forums in recent years about the fiscal future of America."

In 2019, Wamp was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Regents. He and his wife Shelby have four children and live in Chattanooga.

"We are excited to see where this year's group of honorees will lead the conservative movement and to a greater extent, the country." Fritz Brogan, chair of Mavericks INC and Maverick PAC said in an announcement of the Future 40 members for 2021. "These distinguished individuals truly represent the future."


GM seeks partners to boost chip supplies

General Motors will look to form strategic partnerships, including joint ventures and long-term agreements, with semiconductor chip makers as it tweaks its strategy to secure more chips, CEO Mary Barra said Tuesday.

Barra said the global shortage of chips has forced GM to more closely study its supply chain beyond the "short-term" fix of just getting enough chips to keep plants running each week.

"We're also looking at what can we do in the midterm and long term of either having strategic partnerships, in some cases joint ventures like we do with our battery cells, or just having longer-term agreements," Barra said, referring to GM's joint venture with LG Chem called Ultium LLC. Ultium, which is building a $2.3 billion plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, is the battery system that will underpin the 30 new electric vehicles GM will launch by 2025.

Demand for the chips surged during the COVID-19 pandemic when more people were buying personal electronics, which also use the chips. GM and other automakers have had to either idle factories or build cars just shy of all the parts, park them and wait for the parts that contain chips to arrive to complete assembly on the cars.


States object to Purdue settlement

Objections to a historic settlement with Purdue Pharma are mounting in the form of appeals, with Rhode Island's attorney general saying Wednesday the plan doesn't hold the OxyContin maker or its owners accountable for its role in sparking the opioid crisis.

Rhode Island appealed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. Separate appeals have already been filed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Washington state, plus some Canadian local governments and other Canadian entities.

Any successful appeal could undo the deal, not just that state's piece of it.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha, a Democrat, said he doesn't accept that the resolution between Purdue Pharma and thousands of state and local governments is sufficient. The Sackler family has not been transparent about its wealth, he said, so it's difficult to calculate how much punishment any resolution will inflict.

Estimates have put the collective wealth of family members who own the company at over $10 billion. Neronha also said he dislikes that the settlement protects the Sacklers from lawsuits over opioids.


General Motors unveils new software platform

In its first big move to expand into a software company, General Motors is introducing a new software platform it created called Ultifi.

The automaker will begin putting Ultifi (all-tee-fy) on some internal combustion and electric vehicles starting with the 2023 model year with the hope that it helps boost consumer loyalty to GM cars and opens up new channels to revenue beyond car sales.

"Ultifi is a big, big step in our software strategy," Scott Miller, GM's vice president of software-defined vehicles said Wednesday. "Today, cars are enabled by software, with Ultifi, cars will be defined by it."

Last week, Alan Wexler, GM's senior vice president of innovation and growth, announced that GM has a new business model that extends beyond the hardware of building cars, to becoming a software platform innovator.

Wexler said GM's vehicles will merely be a platform to deliver GM-developed software to offer consumers services beyond driving. Those services can then be used in their homes and other areas of their lives. Wexler called GM's new business model, "a potential game-changer for delivering subscription services that create recurring revenue."

— Compiled by Dave Flessner