Oct. 9 deadline for voter registration
Anyone who wants to vote in Hamilton County's Nov. 6 state and federal general election must be registered by Oct. 9. Early voting starts Oct. 17.
To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old and living in Hamilton County. People who have been convicted of felony crimes may not vote unless they have had their rights restored by a judge.
If you change your name or move, you must update your voter registration at least 30 days before the election.
It's easy to register or change your information online at GoVoteTN (https://ovr.govote.tn.gov/) or at the Hamilton County Election Commission, 700 River Terminal Road. To learn more, call 423-493-5101, email Vote@hamiltontn.gov or visit the election commission website, http://elect.hamiltontn.gov.
Fleischmann backs trade agreement
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said Monday he supports the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement announced by President Donald Trump. In a news release, Fleischmann said the pact will "update and modernize NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement."
"I have long been an outspoken advocate for free trade and I believe that a multilateral trade deal will bring the most prosperity to our farmers, workers, and business owners. In my representation of a district that relies heavily on goods and services contingent on our trade relations with Canada and Mexico, I am pleased President Trump was able to bring all parties to the table. I look forward to carefully analyzing this agreement and speaking with East Tennesseans to discuss how the proposed changes will further incentivize the foreign investment that is so lucrative to our local economy."
Pair form new lobbying firm
Longtime political professional Jeff Sullivan and businessman John Kerns have partnered to create a new Chattanooga-based lobbying firm, Sullivan Kerns Public Strategies.
A news release says Sullivan has been involved in Tennessee politics for more than 30 years as a campaign manager, lobbyist, and legislative staffer. Much of his career has been Memphis-based, but he has operated from Chattanooga for the past three years.
John Kerns is a longtime activist, businessman, political operative, and one-time candidate. The release said they will seek Chattanooga-based clients who historically have been underrepresented in Nashville and Washington, D.C.
"Organizations throughout Tennessee, and particularly in Chattanooga, need partners that can effectively champion good legislation on Capitol Hill," Sullivan said.
Kerns said, "In my years in business in Chattanooga, I've seen the need for better interaction between firms and the various levels of government, and we can serve as a productive conduit for that."
The two also announced they will begin hosting a monthly public affairs breakfast featuring government officials from across the region and both sides of the political aisle.
The first breakfast will be Oct. 12 and feature remarks from Todd Womack, chief of staff to Sen. Bob Corker. The events are free by invitation. Request an invitation via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
District 30 hopefuls seek to meet voters
The Democratic and Republican candidates in the House District 30 race are meeting with voters ahead of the start of early voting.
Republican Esther Helton and Democrat Joda Thongnopnua are competing to fill the seat left open by Marc Gravitt, who was elected Hamilton County register of deeds.
Helton has a meet and greet set for 9 a.m. Friday at The Local Coffee of East Ridge, 5330 Ringgold Road.
Thongnopnua will attend a ticketed reception Thursday at the Davis & Hoss law offices in downtown Chattanooga. He also will meet with voters from 5:30-8 p.m. Monday at the East Ridge Community Center and from 6-7 p.m. Oct. 9 at 9320 Ancient Oaks Drive in Ooltewah.
District 30 includes Apison, Brainerd, parts of Collegedale, Concord, East Brainerd and East Ridge as well as East Lake, Eastside, Missionary Ridge and parts of Ooltewah and Westview.
Phillips says DesJarlais declined three debates
Mariah Phillips, Democratic candidate in Tennessee's 4th Congressional District, said her Republican opponent Scott DesJarlais has turned down three invitations to stand opposite her in public.
Those include a voter forum Monday night; a debate at MTSU hosted by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, and a joint appearance in DesJarlais' home county, hosted by the Marion County News.
"It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Congressman DesJarlais doesn't want to give the voters an opportunity to hear us discuss the issues. He clearly feels more comfortable in Washington, D.C., than he does here in Tennessee," Phillips, a teacher and mother of five, said in a news release.
"Back in 2016, Congressman DesJarlais had no problem coming to visit my classroom and taking questions from my students, so I don't really understand why we can't debate," she added.
"He has voted to throw millions of Americans off of their insurance, remove protections for pre-existing conditions and cut Social Security and Medicare. I'd like to ask him why he took those votes and he owes it to his constituents to explain it."