Who is Running? A Preview of Candidates for Tennessee’s 2014 Election

Yesterday marked the qualifying deadline for candidates running in the 2014 election for Governor, state legislature, and the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. The candidates in the document below have until April 10 to withdraw.

Several members of the current state legislature are not seeking re-election.  In the Senate, these members include Sen. Charlotte Burks (D-Monterey), Sen. Lowe Finney (D-Jackson), and Sen. Douglas Henry (D-Nashville).  Sen. Henry, now 87 years of age, is the longest serving legislator in Tennessee history.

The lineup of House members not seeking re-election is longer.  Rep. Joshua Evans (R-Greenbrier) is not running again for his House seat, instead opting to challenge incumbent Sen. Jim Summerville in Senate District 25.  Rep. Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) also is opting to run for the State Senate and has officially entered the race for Senate District 15, currently represented by retiring Sen. Charlotte Burks.

Rep. Joe Carr (R-Lascassas) is not seeking re-election to his House seat in order to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R).

Others opting not to run include Rep. Vince Dean (R-East Ridge), Rep. Richard Floyd (R-Chattanooga), Rep. Barrett Rich (R-Somerville), Rep. Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory), Rep. Eric Watson (R-Cleveland), and Rep. Kent Williams (I-Elizabethton).

We’ve covered who isn’t running, which leaves the question:  Who is running?

The spreadsheet below lists all qualifying candidates.  Click on the image to enlarge it and see who is running in your area.

(Note: This is an unofficial list as election officials are still processing petitions to determine whether the petition has the required number of valid signatures and whether other qualifying criteria have been met).

UT President Hosts Dinner for Governor’s Chairs, President Obama’s Top Science Advisor

holdrenbiocLast week, University ­­of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro hosted Dr. John Holdren, President Obama’s top science advisor, for dinner in Knoxville with the UT-ORNL Governor’s Chairs, two graduate students of the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research, and other UT leaders.

The UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair Program is designed to attract exceptionally accomplished researchers from across the world to pursue solutions for our nation’s biggest problems.  Dinner participants each provided Dr. Holdren with a briefing of their area of expertise and current research and why they came to work or study at the University of Tennessee.

The dinner concluded with encouragement from Dr. Holdren for the University to work closely with his staff and other federal departments and agencies in seeking partnership opportunities in a number of program areas.

It was Dr. Holdren’s first visit to the State of Tennessee.

Closure of UT Martin Army ROTC Program Delayed Two Years

Promising news came from our nation’s capitol yesterday for The University of Tennessee at Martin’s Army ROTC program.  Recently slated for closure by the Army at the end of the 2015 academic year, the UT Martin program was one of 13 programs nationally and three programs statewide set for elimination.  The other institutions located in Tennessee include Tennessee Technological University and East Tennessee State University.   As the hardest hit state by the announced closures, Tennessee’s Congressional Delegation actively worked towards finding a solution.

Leaders announced yesterday that the U.S. Army will delay for two years the closure of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs at the three Tennessee schools, allowing them time to make improvements to their current programs to better meet the Army’s needs.

“These programs have produced some of our nation’s outstanding military leaders,” Senator Lamar Alexander said. “This is a major victory for students at these Tennessee schools, and I thank Congressmen Roe, Black and Fincher and Senator Corker for their leadership.”

Since the establishment of the Army ROTC program at The University of Tennessee at Martin, over 650 Cadets have been commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the Regular Army, the United States Army Reserve and the Tennessee Army National Guard.  Currently, the Military Science program, to include Jackson State Community College, Lane College, Freed-Hardeman University, Bethel University and Union University consists of approximately 60 Basic Course Cadets and 25 Advanced Course Cadets.

Press Releases of Interest:
Senator Lamar Alexander
Senator Bob Corker

What Every UT Advocate Should Know This Week

Government Shutdown: Week Two
Two weeks in to the government shutdown, Congress has yet to find common ground on the federal budget impasse.  Initial reports indicated that a short-term government shutdown would minimally impact colleges and universities, but as the shutdown nears the end of its second week and creeps closer to October 17 (the deadline for raising the debt ceiling) concern is growing about the shutdown’s ramifications on higher education.

The focus now shifts to a meeting happening Thursday afternoon at the White House between the President and a delegation of House Republican leaders.  Reports out of Washington hint that the Republican delegation will present the President with a new proposal, described as a short-term debt ceiling increase (that would extend the debt limit for roughly six weeks) while keeping the government shutdown and the budget debate ongoing.  However, the outcome of this meeting is still largely uncertain.

What We’re Reading On the Shutdown:
After One Week, Federal Shutdown Is Already Taking a Toll on Higher Ed

GOP to Propose Temporary Debt-Ceiling Increase

GOP Mulls Six-Week Debt Hike

White House on Boehner plan:  Obama ‘willing to look at any proposal’

UT Martin ROTC Program On the Chopping Block
The ROTC Program at UT Martin has been identified as one of thirteen programs across the nation that is projected to be eliminated at the end of the 2015 academic year.  The program has commissioned over 650 Cadets over the course of its history.  Other Tennessee programs that have been identified for closure include Tennessee Tech and East Tennessee State University.

Memphis Attorney Raumesh Akbari Wins Democratic Primary for House District 91
Memphis attorney Raumesh Akbari won the Democratic Primary this week for House District 91, the seat held by longtime lawmaker Lois DeBerry who passed away earlier this year.  Akbari will run against James L. Tomasik, an Independent candidate, in the general election on November 21.  The winner of this special election will represent District 91 until the regular 2014 general election, which occurs on November 4, 2014.

State Rep. Eric Watson Won’t Seek Reelection
State Representative Eric Watson (R-Cleveland) has announced that he will not seek reelection to the State House in 2014, instead opting to run for Bradley County Sherriff.  Watson has been a friend to the University on a number of issues during his tenure in the legislature and played a pivotal role in helping secure additional state funds for UT’s award-winning Law Enforcement Innovation Center.

State Rep. Charles Curtiss Won’t Seek Reelection
State Representative Charles Curtiss (D-Sparta) has announced that he will not seek reelection in 2014.  Curtiss was first elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1994 and formerly served as a White County Commissioner and as White County Executive.  Anthony Haynes, University of Tennessee System Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy, calls Curtiss’ retirement from the State House “a loss for common sense government and the University of Tennessee.”

The University wishes both Representatives Watson and Curtiss well and thanks them for their service to the people of Tennessee.

Alexander: Senate Should “Start From Scratch” on Higher Education Act

The U.S. Senate education committee today convened for the first in a series of hearings regarding the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which governs the majority of federal student aid programs.  The committee’s senior Republican, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), said that Congress should “start from scratch” in reauthorizing the law.

“Let’s write a new law—repeal the old law and have new regulations written with our oversight, not as an ideological exercise but simply in the way that someone would weed a garden before planting a new crop,” Alexander said.

Sen. Alexander used his opening remarks to point to the University of Tennessee as a positive example in terms of both affordability and outcomes.

He impressed upon the committee his desire to continue to create “a true marketplace [for higher education] in which competition breeds excellence.”  But doing this, he stated, will require Congress to avoid setting price controls for tuition, issuing mandates for ways to cut college costs, creating prescriptive federal definitions of “quality,” and imposing “Washington micro-management” on research priorities at national laboratories and research universities.

Click on the video above to watch Sen. Alexander’s opening remarks, and stay tuned for more information on these hearings as they occur.