Rep. Mike Carter speaks during the Education Mini-Summit 2016 at the Volkswagen Conference Center on Sept. 20, 2016.

Activist seeks to 'draft' Carter to run for House Speaker

With state Rep. Gerald McCormick now out of the Tennessee House speaker's race and soon to be out of the General Assembly entirely, Alamo Mayor John Avery Emison, a property rights and anti-annexation activist, wants another Hamilton County representative to jump into the contest.

Emison said he's trying to start a "draft Mike Carter" campaign to replace Speaker Beth Harwell, who is running for governor.

In an interview, Emison cited the Ooltewah Republican's 2014 success in repealing decades-old municipal annexation laws. Under the law, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Bo Watson, municipalities lost authority to annex homes, businesses and other property by ordinance. Instead, they may annex only willing property owners or by winning a referendum vote.

Carter said "it's always nice to hear your name mentioned and that would be a great honor, but I just don't see that happening."

He said he doesn't believe "anyone can catch up" to House Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson and Majority Leader Glen Casada, both seeking the speaker position.

Casada came out ahead of Carter in the 2016 contest to replace McCormick as majority leader. Last week, McCormick announced he will resign Oct. 1 to take a job with a Chattanooga company in the firm's Nashville office.


Home rule PAC picks Mason

A political action committee for the group Citizens for Home Rule, of which Emison is treasurer, has endorsed Jonathan Mason in the House District 30 Republican primary.

Mason said in the release: "Our property is often our biggest investment. Too many times are citizens threatened by their own government looking to seize their land." He noted East Ridge residents' fears that a recent city plan to fight blight threatened their property rights and said if elected, "I will ensure that forced annexation remains illegal and will fight to close loopholes that municipalities use for eminent domain in the name of redevelopment and urban renewal."

Emison called Mason a "pro-property rights, pro-citizen candidate."

Mason is battling East Ridge Councilwoman Esther Helton for the GOP nomination. The winner of the Aug. 2 primary will face Democrat Joda Thongnopnua.


Beavers endorses Lee in governor's race

Former state Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, who dropped her own bid for governor earlier this year, says she is backing Franklin businessman Bill Lee in the Aug. 2 GOP primary.

"In my race for Governor, I had the opportunity to get to know Bill Lee, and his vision for our state," the hard-right conservative said in a news release. "He has displayed virtues of honesty, trust, and has been a God-fearing example."

She added, "Like President Donald Trump, Bill Lee is ready to come in from the outside, and take on the permanent political class in Nashville. He is the only true conservative we can trust in this race."

Lee trumpeted that he is the only Republican to be endorsed by a former rival.

"Her leadership in the conservative movement and in the legislature is well known to all, and I am humbled and grateful to have her joining my team," he said.

Other Republicans in the primary are U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin; Knoxville businessman and former state economic commissioner Randy Boyd and Harwell, of Nashville.


Teach trades, Shekari says

Melody Shekari, a Democrat seeking to succeed longtime Rep. JoAnne Favors in state House District 28, said one of her top priorities if elected would be to introduce legislation to create public/private partnerships for job training.

In a news release, Shekari said the need for good jobs with benefits is a critical issue for families in the district. She noted that many people for years were able to learn valuable trades at Kirkman technical school in downtown Chattanooga.

"The time has come to create a new kind of Kirkman, a 21st Century Kirkman that will teach kids and adults the skills needed to succeed in today's economy," she said.

The most successful models for this kind of training center involve partnerships between government, the business sector, and organized labor, she said.

"By combining union apprentice programs with corporate support inside a high-performing public school, we can be leaders in education innovation, economic development, and job creation. We've had enough talk. It's time for action."


Hay mounts write-in run

Tommy Hay, one of six candidates excluded from the ballot for U.S. Senate by the Tennessee Republican Party, says he will conduct a write-in campaign in the GOP primary.

Hay said in a news release he was certified by the state election commission to seek the seat now held by Bob Corker. He criticized the party for what he called its "unconstitutional and bias [sic] actions" by clearing the path for U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

He said in the release he is a Shelbyville native who holds a real estate license, now in retirement status. He served for more than 28 years in the military and was a civilian contractor during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, he said.

As a Christian, he said, he "will fight for the traditional marriage and to overturn the liberal Supreme Court judges ruling on gay marriage, and to bring back the don't ask, don't tell policy," as well as a strong military, better veterans benefits, better senior citizens benefits, saving the social security system "and many other crucial common sense issues."

"Tommy can't do any worse than the ones already in office," he said.


Meet candidates at Democratic picnic

The Greater Chattanooga Democratic Women's Club will host an indoor picnic July 10, during which the public can meet candidates for local, state and federal offices.

"We're calling it the 'Celebration of Real Choice for Voters' because Chattanooga has clearly defined choices in the August 2 election," club president Lisa Berry said in a news release. "Recent elections have not always offered this diversity."

There are 25 Democrats, including 12 women, on the Aug. 2 ballot, Berry said. "Chattanooga is part of a national trend — a wave of women running for office and intent on changing Tennessee and our country. We're excited by all of our candidates, and we want Chattanoogans to meet them."

The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the IBEW Hall, 3922 Volunteer Drive. Plates are $15. Please RSVP by calling 423-580-7304 or emailing by July 7.