Friday, December 12, 2014

Latinos for Tennessee Condemns Obama's Executive Order, Supports "The Red Card Solution"

Press Release, Nashville, TN - Latinos for Tennessee announced today its strong opposition to President Obama's unilateral Executive Order granting deportation protections to undocumented immigrants, while also announcing the organization's support for "The Red Card Solution" as a viable means for achieving real immigration reform.

While Latinos for Tennessee supports immigration reform, it objects to President Obama's unconstitutional approach of legislating by executive order. "We are very concerned that this overreach is a politically motivated step that only serves to further divide our nation and ultimately hurt our Latino community," stated Raul Lopez, the Executive Director of Latinos for Tennessee. "After all, when the Democrats controlled the Senate and the House, they were in a position to formulate comprehensive and legal immigration legislation, yet they chose not to for strategic political reasons."

Furthermore, President Obama's actions do not constitute genuine immigration reform and leave many issues unaddressed. "What the president is offering is not a true solution but rather a band-aid that appeases certain amnesty proponents and takes advantage of those who are uninformed. It does not address the heart of the matter," Lopez continued. With the President's plan, undocumented immigrants will end up exposed without any guaranty that they will not be deported in the event of a change in the Administration in 2016. It only offers a temporary relief with a great deal of risk for those involved.

Instead, Latinos for Tennessee believes that true immigration reform will secure the borders, reward those who follow our nation's laws, provide a pathway to citizenship without cutting ahead of those who have patiently pursued legal immigration, and keep hard-working families together. "We believe 'The Red Card Solution' is a well-written plan that addresses these problems with a market-driven solution that does not burden the federal government, and we are thrilled to announce our support for the plan," shared Lopez.

"The Red Card Solution" is a privately funded and government-sanctioned plan that would match non-immigrant workers to unfilled US jobs. The plan does not provide amnesty to illegal immigrants, but rather would require applicants to pass a criminal background check before entering the country legally with a temporary work permit. Because each work permit would be matched to a specific job, these workers would be required to leave the US when the job expires. Furthermore, this plan will capture wages that have previously gone untaxed and add them to the federal income tax wage base. Finally, it provides a fast solution to the 12 million undocumented workers currently in the US, by allowing them to obtain a work permit after passing a background check and providing proof of employment.

For more information about "The Red Card Solution," please contact Lizzy Nelson at (423) 304-5405 or go to

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After asking two candidates not to get in the mayor's race, Bill Freeman sets a deadline for his own decision

In case you missed it, an article in the Nashville Scene by Stephen Hale, says Bill Freeman tried to persuade Megan Barry and Charles Robert Bone to not run for mayor and he promised Megan Barry a position in his administration if she would not run. It is also revealed that Freeman has very deep pockets and can spend whatever amount he needs to spend on his campaign. Also, the article reveals that he has not, not been doing nothing.  He has been quietly assembling a campaign team and lining up support and doing polling. Freeman says he will declare his candidacy by December 19th if he is going to run.

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Rep. Black Statement on CROmnibus Vote to Keep Government Open

Rep. Diane Black
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) issued the following statement on her vote in support of the CROmnibus legislation to keep our government open:

"No government funding measure that needs to be negotiated with Senate Democrats and signed by President Obama will ever be perfect,” said Congressman Black. “But rather than let the perfect be the enemy of the good, I supported this measure because it will avoid a repeat of the 2013 government shutdown, while setting the table for Republicans to take on President Obama’s unconstitutional immigration overreach. By funding all of government through the end of the fiscal year except for the Department of Homeland Security, we will be able to fight his executive action in February with a new Republican majority in the Senate.

"In addition, this bill cuts funding for Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board and reduces IRS funding by $345 million – putting the agency’s budget below Fiscal Year 2008 levels. This legislation also cuts EPA funding for the fifth year in a row and ends an outrageous EPA regulation on lead that resulted in ammunition shortages and acted as a form of backdoor gun control on Tennessee sportsmen.

"I understand and share the strong concerns of my constituents about the President’s unconstitutional action, which is why I have introduced legislation, the Separation of Powers Act, to fight back against this power grab. Our best leverage to stop this action will come when Republicans control both Chambers of Congress next month."

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About the $1.01 trillion spending bill and how the TN U.S. House delegation voted.

Last night the House of Representatives passed a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that funds the government though September 2015. The vote was 219 to 206.  Tennessee's U.S. House delegation split there vote. "Yes" votes came from Republican Reps. Diane Black, Stephen Fincher, Chuck Fleischmann and Phil Roe.

"No" votes were Republican Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Scott DesJarlais and John Duncan and Tennessee's two Democratic representatives Steve Cohen and Jim Cooper.

The bill passed in the last minutes avoiding a government shut down.  More Democrats voted against the bill than Republicans.  President Obama personally lobbied Democrats to support the bill.  Democrats opposed the bill primarily because of two issues: The bill modified campaign finance laws and allows wealthy donors to increase the amount they may contribute to political parties; and, the second issue was that it reversed a portion of Dood-Frank, removing the prohibition on banks engaging in derivatives trading. 

Republicans who opposed the bill primarily opposed it because it contains $1.2 billion for agencies to deal with the large number of unaccompanied immigrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border recently. The spending caps that lawmakers and the White House agreed to last year are adhered to in the bill. The bill funds all of the government except the Department of Homeland Security which has jurisdiction over immigration enforcement. That department is only funded through February. When Congress reconvenes in January, Republicans will control the Senate and have a greater majority in the House and will then take up the funding of that Department.

The way I see it, based on what I know about it at this time, this was a good bill.  No bill is perfect and no one gets everything they want.  Our history with government shut downs is that Republicans usually get the blame.  We were wise to avoid a government shut down. Of course, Congress could have just passed a continuing resolution for a few weeks and then taken up the budget in January. Also the criticism that the bill was hurriedly passed rather than deliberated has merit. On balance however, I think passing the bill was the best course of action.

The bill cuts the EPA and it significantly cuts the IRS and directs the IRS to not engage in targeting organization seeking tax-exempt status based on the ideology of the organization. The money to be spend to deal with the influx of illegal unaccompanied immigrant children is money that will relieve the burden placed on State and local governments due to this influx.  Not funding those services would not have undone the policy of allowing the unaccompanied children into the country. They are here and not going to be sent back, this spending addresses the cost they are imposing on the country.

By passing everything except the Department of Homeland Security, once the Republicans control the congress then they can deal with that issue.  Republicans by voting for this bill denied the President the ability to implement his new amnesty program and it assures that twhen the budget of the Department of Homeland security is taken up that the focus will be on amnesty instead of various other budgetary issues.

For more on this budget issue see these links: here, here, here, and here.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Shelia Butt to be Republican Floor Leader. Gerald McCormick re-elected as House Majority Leader.

While Beth Harwell easily won over tea party challenger Rick Womick, getting 57 votes to Womick's 15 votes for Speaker of the House, and while Chris Devaney regained his chairmanship of the Tennessee Republican Party getting 47 votes to Joe Carr's 17, someone who may be thought of as a tea party Republican did win the position of floor leader in the State House.  Shelia Butt of Columbia won the position at the meeting of the House Republican Caucus Wednesday morning.  She was unopposed.

Butt was one of the fifteen Republican members of the House who called for former Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman's resignation.  She has been a leading opponent of Common Core and she also sponsored a bill that mandated cursive writing in schools.  She sponsored a bill that would make it a felony to enforce certain federal gun laws in Tennessee and was the sponsor of the bill that would prohibit an employer from banning guns on his property. She was one of the few State Legislators who endorsed Joe Carr in his campaign against Senator Lama Alexander.

I know as a political pundit, I am supposed to know everything, but I am not exactly sure what the Floor Leader's duties are.

Glen Casada was reelected House Republican Caucus Chairman and Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga was re-elected for a third term as House Majority Leader.  The House Majority Leader serves as the chief officer and negotiator for the House Republican Caucus and is also responsible for carrying the Governor’s legislative package every session. McCormick has served as Majority Leader since the Republicans gained a majority in the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2010.

Representative Dawn White of Murfreesboro was elected to serve as Caucus Secretary for the Tennessee House Republican Caucus without opposition.

In the State Senate Republican Caucus, Ron Ramsey was unanimously re-elected as lieutenant governor and speaker of the Senate and Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, was re-elected to a third term as state Senate Caucus Chairman. Ramsey has served in this leadership capacity since 2007. Sen. Mark Norris was unanimously elected Senate Majority Leader.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Beth Harewell retains Speaker position!

The Republican House Caucus today nominated Beth Harwell as speaker beating back a challenge from tea party challenger Rick Womick.  Harwell got 57 votes to Womick's 15.  Since Democrats control an insufficient number of seats to effect the outcome, Beth Harwell will be speaker again. Here is the Tennessean report on the development: Harwell fends off Tea Party bid, nominated for speaker.

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The Metro Council agenda for December 16th is now available

The Metro Council agenda for December 16th is now available at this link. The Council staff analysis is not yet available. If you will wait I will summarized, analysis, and give some commentary about what is on the agenda, but if you just cant wait, help yourself.

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The school board meeting of Dec. 9th.

This is three and a quarter hour meeting. I have not watched it and don't know that I will have the opportunity.  If anyone else watches and would like to summarize and highlight the good parts, I will post your summary on this page.

Meeting are much more interesting if you know what is going on. The school board publishes great agendas and you can get your own copy of this 232-page agenda at this link.

I can normally watch most meetings in double time or time and half and do not lose much content. If you are not offered that option when viewing the Video, follow this link and click "request the HTML5 Player."

Below is a News Channel 5 report on this school board meeting but doesn't us very tell much. Follow the link to see the full report including a video.

Metro School Board Members Mull Future Charter Conversions

  by Todd Walker, Dec 9, 2014, NASHVILLE, Tenn - East Nashville parents still upset about their child's school being converted to a charter sounded off in front of school board members Tuesday night.

Several cited transportation issues caused by changing neighborhood schools into charters, others said they were sick of their kids and neighborhoods being treated as guinea pigs for education reform.
Some of the board members also questioned whether the district's process of selecting charters is even working.

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Tennessee should join in the lawsuit challenging President Obama's executive amnesty plan

Seven states joined Texas's lawsuit challenging President Obama's executive amnesty plan this week, bringing the total number of states on the suit to 24. (link)

My Comment: Tennessee should join in this lawsuit.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Tea party seeks to get Rick Womick elected speaker.

Normally, the election of speaker is a pretty tame affair and the public does not get involved, but not this year. An article from the Times Free Press reports that various organizations have jumped into the fray. Here is an excerpt from the article:

With Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale, challenging Republican Speaker Beth Harwell in Wednesday's GOP Caucus election, various tea party groups, anti-Common Core activists and the Tennessee Firearms Association have been bombarding Republican representatives with emails and phone calls in support of Womick.

Just last week, the Tennessee Republican Assembly and the heads of the Chattanooga and Nashville tea parties entered the fray, praising Womick as a "true patriot" and "true conservative" and arguing that his elevation to speaker "would further the true intention of Tennessee voters as expressed in the recent elections."
I am hoping the House reappoints Beth Harwell as speaker.  Under the current Republican leadership of Haslam, Harwell and Ramsey, Tennessee has cut taxes, has the nations absolutely lowest per capita debt of any state, has a pension liability that is over 90% funded, has had a remarkable improvement in education and the Republican majority has grown in the House. I don't know what more anyone could want. 

The Tennessee Firearms Association is irrational and is obsessed with the right of gun owners and think gun rights go way beyond the protections affirmed in second amendment and want the right to carry a gun onto the property of others even if they do not want guns on their property.  The Tennessee Republican Assembly thinks they are the only real Republicans and will never be satisfied.

If any state Representatives are reading this I urge you to reelect Beth Harwell as speaker.  We do not need as speaker someone who believes that requirements that restaurant parking lots be paved and that getting a permit before the installation of large flag poles is part of some bizarre United Nations plot.   I do not believe the intent of the voters in the recent election was for the State to go off on wild tangents, but to continue the rational, reasonable, responsible, commonsense conservative path we are on.

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Strange goings on in the Womick quest for the Speaker's job

There is not much in the way of details, but a website and a couple Facebook post say constituents of Rick Womick got a hard-hitting mail piece recently criticizing  Womick for his run against Beth Harwell for speaker, saying he was putting his political ambitions ahead of his constituents. Volunteer Politics says the piece says it was funded by Stand for Children Tennessee. The only Stand for Children Tennessee, I could find is at this link. Given this organizations mission, it would seem strange if they funded such a mailer.  I have placed a call to that organization's executive director for confirmation and will update if I learn more. What is going on?

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Tn GOP Executive Committee Unanimously Adopts Resolution on Common Core State Standards

Adopted unanimously by the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee on December 6, 2014:


WHEREAS, The Republican National Committee passed a resolution on August 8, 2014, commending parents and other citizens in efforts to influence state legislatures to “resist federal intrusion into education policy via the “Common Core State Standards; and

WHEREAS, the RNC also commends parents for “reclaiming our heritage of citizen-directed government and inspiring others to enter the public square”; and,

WHEREAS, The Honorable Tennessee State Senators Dolores Gresham and Mike Bell are sponsoring Senate Bill 4, which establishes a Tennessee Standards Commission and cancels Tennessee’s current memorandum of understanding concerning the Common Core Standards.

RESOLVED, that the Tennessee Republican State Executive Committee, as the policy-making body of the Republican Party, recognizes the RNC’s resolution commending activist parents and other citizens on their anti-Common Core victories.

FURTHER RESOLVED, that Tennessee Senators Delores Gresham and Mike Bell are to be commended for sponsoring State Senate Bill 4 in response to citizen concerns about Common Core Standards and federal intrusion into Tennessee education policy.
The Republican National Committee, our leadership organization has set an example for the Tennessee SEC to follow. The RNC Resolution was passed August 8, 2014 and is attached.
Respectfully submitted,
Rebecca Ann Burke
Republican State Executive Committee Woman
Tennessee Senatorial District 23

The above is a repost from Tennessee Eagle Forum

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Tennessee has the lowest debt per capita of any state in the nation.

 The business website 24/7 Wall St has ranked the 50 states on how well they are run and Tennessee comes in at number 23. This ranking includes not just how well the government is managing state affairs but factors such as the unemployment rate, median household income and poverty rate. A different set of criteria would have produced a different ranking.  The highest ranked states are those experiencing an oil boom, such as North Dakota and Wyoming.  Here is what the website had to say about Tennessee:

23. Tennessee
> Debt per capita: $949 (the lowest)
> Credit Rating (S&P/Moody’s): AA+/Aaa
> 2013 unemployment rate: 8.2% (10th highest)
> Median household income: $44,297 (9th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 17.8% (12th highest)
Tennessee had exceptionally strong finances by most metrics reviewed. For instance, more than 91% of its pension liabilities were funded as of 2013, among the highest percentages in the nation. The state also had less than $1,000 in outstanding debt per resident in fiscal 2012, less than any other state. That year, Tennessee had comparatively small tax revenue relative to other states, likely due, at least in part, to the absence of a state income tax on salaries and wages. Also, the state’s residents are not especially well off. Both per capita GDP and median household income were considerably lower in Tennessee than in the nation as a whole in 2013. Individuals were also more likely to live below the poverty line in Tennessee, and households were more likely to rely on food stamps last year.

Read more: The Best and Worst Run States in America: A Survey of All 50 - 24/7 Wall St.

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Monday, December 08, 2014

Look who is runnng for Mayor and Metro Council (Update #3, a lot more candidates and many are filing treasurer's forms.)

"(T)" means the candidate has filed a treasurer's form. Candidates are not permitted to begin raising money until this form is filed.

These are the people running for Mayor or assumed to be running for Mayor:

  • Megan Barry, very liberal Council-member-at-large. (T) link
  • Charles Robert Bone, an attorney (T)  (link)
  • Linda Rebrovick,  Consensus Point president and CEO. A Republican. (T) link
  • Kenneth Eaton owner of Eaton's Used Cars and other business interest. He is a Republican. (T) 
  • Howard Gentry, former Vice Mayor, former candidate for Mayor who came close, African-American, husband of Sharon Gentry, chairman of the School Board.
  • Jeremy Kane, CEO and President of Lead Academy (T) link
  • David Fox, a former Tennessean business reporter,  former Titan Advisor, former school board member. He is assumed to be a Republican and has a Republican campaign teem. (T)   link.  link.  
  • David Freeman, local businessman and major fund raiser for the Democratic party. 
  • Jerry Maynard, currently a Councilman-at-large, Democrat, African-American.
  • Ronnie Stein,  currently a Councilman-at-large, a Democrat. I have not heard that Stein is running but assume he has ambitions to advance a political career and would not be surprised if he does run for Mayor.
These are people who were once thought to be running for Mayor who have said they are not: 
  • Daron Hall, the Sheriff
  • William F. Carpenter III, Chairman and CEO of LifePoint Hospitals. (link) 
These are people I wish were running for Mayor, but have no indication they are. (If you know any of them, maybe you can encourage them to run):
  • Lee Beaman, Owner of Beaman automotive companies and other business interest. Republican.
  • Charlie Tygard, currently a term-limited Councilman-at-large. He knows Metro Government and he is fiscally conservative. He is a Republican. 
I did have on the above list the name of Tim Garrett and Emily Evans. I received nice comments from each of them. Tim Garrett said he had decided to pursue the office of Vice Mayor and Emily Evans said "my final campaign will be dedicated not to me but to what I think is an important change to the Metro Charter." 

This is who is running for Vice Mayor:
  • Tim Garrett, Councilman-at-large and former state representative.  He is in the funeral home business. I know he is a Democrat, but he is a reasonable, fiscally conservative Democrat and a very nice guy with a depth of knowledge about Nashville. The job of Vice Mayor is to conduct Council meetings and to appoint the members of Council to committees.  It is a fine balance between running efficient meetings and stifling debate.  I think Garrett will strike the right balance.  I think he will be fair and thoughtful in making committee assignments. I know at this point, not knowing who else is running it may be early to make an endorsement but I would discourage anyone else from entering the race. Tim Garrett would make a great Vice Mayor. (T)
  • David Briley, grandson of former Mayor Beverly Briley,  an attorney with Bone McAllester Norton, former candidate for mayor. (T)
These are people who have said they are running for Council-at-large or assumed to be running: 
  • Karen Bennett, currently represents a Council District and is a member of the Republican Party State Executive Committee. 
  • Ken Jakes, he owns a produce company and is a citizen activist who has often exposed government waste and corruption.  He has previously sought the position, garnering the most votes other than the five incumbents. (T)
  • Robert Duvall, currently a district councilman, term limited out, former unsuccessful candidate for the State House, and current Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party.
  • Duane Dominy, currently a district councilman, term limited out, former unsuccessful candidate for the State House.  He is a good Republican and lead the fight to save the fairgrounds.
  • Eugene Batsuk. He is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Davidson County Democrat Party. (T) (link)
  •  Don Majors, who has been working in constituent services for Rep. Jim Cooper, is leaving that position to run for council. He previously represented the Maplewood area in the 90s and early aughts. (T)
  •  Renard Francois. He is an attorney, he serves on Metropolitan Social Services Commission and he is a previous candidate for Council-at-large. He is African-American. (T) link
  • Walter Hunt. He is currently serving as the Councilman from District 3, he is a retired substitute teacher and served in a high level  capacity in the Boner administration and is a member of the Davidson County Democratic Party executive committee. He is African-American. (T).
  •  John Lasiter. He previously served in the Council represented District 18 in 2007. He is openly gay. (T) link, linklink
  •  Lonnell Mathews, Jr., currently representing District 1 and termed out. He is African American (T)
  • Jim Shulman. (T)
These are the people who are running for a District council seats or are rumored to be running for District Council seats:

  • Ruby Baker, District 1, (T) 
  • Carrie Searcy, District 2 (T)
  • Bobby Stockard, District 2 (T) 
  • Joseph Zerbee, District 5 (T)
  • Stephen Clements, District 7, a Republican who heads the Caffeinated Conservatives group, works for the State of Tennessee, former Army officer, active in Madison Now and other civic affairs. (T)
  • Nancy VanReece, District 8, (T)
  • William Cyril Guthoerl, District 11. The incumbent is attorney Larry Hagar who was elected to this seat in a special election in August 2014. In a three man race Hagar won 57% of  vote and Guthoerl won 25% of the vote.  It will be difficult to unseat an incumbent unless he does something to disappoint a lot of people. I supported Guthoerl in two previous races, however, I am going to wait to see how Hagar does before endorsing in the 11th.  
  • Kevin Rhoten, District 14, a former Tennessee state attorney and legislative liaison in Gov. Pill Bredesen's administration. (T)
  • Jim Garrett in District 15. (not announced)
  • Jeff Syracuse  in District 15. (T) (link
  • Larry Weakley,  District 17 (T)
  • Colby Sledge, District 17, a community activist, public relations professional with McNeely, Piggott and Fox and former employee of the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus. (T)
  • Paula Foster, District 17 (T)
  • Freddie O'Connell, District 19, President of the Salemtown Neighborhood Association, board member of Walk Bike Nashville. (T)
  • Brian Mason, District 19, He is, a Republican and an  international business consultant. He recently ran for the State Legislature (link)
  • Jim Roberts, District 23, former Republican candidate for Chancery Court Judge.(link)
  • Allen Grant, District 24 (T)
  • Kathleen Murphy, District 24 (T)
  • Jan Stinston, District 25 (T)
  • Melissa Smithson,District 28 (link) (T)
  • Angie Henderson, District 34 (T)
  • Lonnie Spivak, District 35, a Republican and a former Republican primary candidate for the 5th Congressional district. Lonnie has appointed a treasurer. (T)
  • Dave Rosenberg, District 35, a supporter of State Rep. and Council member Bo Mitchel and a supporter of School Board member Amy Frogge. He has several Bellvue community involvements. (link) (T) 

    Italics indicate termed limited.
    Who is

    Karl Dean
    Vice-mayor and President

    Megan Barry
    Ronnie Stein
    Tim Garrett
    Charlie Tygard
    Jerry Maynard

    Lonnell Mathews, Jr.
    Frank Harrison
    Walter hunt
    Brady Banks

    Scott Davis

    Peter Westerholm
    Anthony Davis

    Karen Bennett
    Bill  Pridemore

    Doug Pardue

    Larry Hager

    Steve Glover

    Josh Stites

    Bruce Stanley
    Phil Claiborne
    Tony Tenpenny

    Sandra Moore
    Burkley Allen
    Erica Gilmore
    Buddy Baker
    Edith Lancaster
    Shreri Weiner
    Emily Evans
    Jason Holleman
    Sean McGuire
    Chris Harmon

    Davette Blalock

    Duane A. Dominy
    Karen Y. Johnson

    Jason Potts

    Fabian Bedne
    Jacobia Dowell

    Robert Duvall
    Carter Todd
    Bo Mitchell

    This is a work in progress and I will be updating from time to time when new information becomes available. There are probably some candidates for Mayor or the Metro Council that I inadvertently left off of this list.  If there is an obvious candidate I failed to add to this list, please let me know. 

    If you are a candidate, please be sure to send me your announcements and press releases. and website links 

    Readers of this blog should not assume that because I post news of a campaign event or a press release from a candidate, that that constitutes an endorsement of that candidate. If I endorse someone, I will make it clear. 

    My endorsements are highlighted in red. I may not make an endorsement in every race, as I may not have enough information to make an informed decision in each race. For Mayor and Councilman-at-large races, I want to know who all is running before I make a decision of who I am supporting. Winnability is a factor in who I support as well as experience and philosophy of government. 

    When it comes to recommendations for Councilmen-at-large, while one may vote for up to five candidates to fill five slots, I often vote for only one candidate rather than dilute my vote. I would find it difficult not to vote for Duvall or Dominy if they run however, so I am endorsing Jakes, Duvall and Dominy.  I am holding off on endorsing other candidates until I see the full list of who is running and look at some data to see who can mount a serious challenge and some other factors. Any candidate who gets 20% of the vote for a Council-at-large seat gets elected without a runoff and those top vote getters who get less than 20% will face a runoff. The election is August 2015.  

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