The deadline for local political parties to notify the Sumner County Election Commission that they want to call for a county primary in 2018 is Aug. 21. The Republican Party of Sumner County has already announced they will hold a primary. The Sumner Country Democratic Party will do so as well.
Not everyone knows that the primaries are optional and cost money. Local parties may hold a primary at taxpayer expense or may caucus amongst themselves at no cost to nominate candidates. Since I've been paying attention, the Republicans have always called for a primary. Democrats have mostly played along, making the level playing field argument and also pointing out that a two party primary costs no more than a one party primary.
What a waste of money. I believe that local races should for the most part be non-partisan. The issues that divide political parties nationally rarely are relevant at the local level. Roads need paving and schools need funding regardless of where you stand on partisan issues. Sumner Republicans should stop wasting our money on local primaries, where voter turnout has historically been dismal at best.
Diane Black's Budget Hurts Poor
Speaking of wasting money, Diane Black thinks the federal government wastes more than its fair share. It would be hard to find anyone who disagrees with that assessment. However, a quick look at the Diane Black budget proposal for next year clearly shows where our Congressman thinks the waste is located. She wants to cut $150 billion cut to SNAP (food assistance to poor people) over 10 years (25% cut), cut $500 billion to Medicare over 10 years, cut $1.5 trillion cut to Medicaid over 10 years and make $21 billion in cuts to "duplicative" veterans' programs. Balancing a budget on the backs of our most vulnerable makes no sense and is inhumane.
Hendersonville Mayor Squashes Broadcast of Public Meeting
Mayor Jamie Clarey recently decided to not allow the broadcast a Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. It has been Hendersonville practice for years that these meetings air on local cable. Clarey decided to hold back the July 11 meeting as there were several occasions where meeting rules were violated and personal attacks on individuals were made. Clarey doesn't think that attacks should be aired and the rules do not allow for editing of the video. Clarey also argues that the meeting video can be requested through a public records request and has asked the city General Committee will look into the matter. I disagree with this decision. If the rules were broken, punish the guilty, but don't make it harder for residents to watch over their elected officials. Optics are everything in politics - and this doesn't look good. If you really want to see the video, Alderman Matt Stamper posted it on his Facebook page.
Local Race Heats Up
County Executive Anthony Holt is running for re-election. Judging by the crowd at his recent fundraiser in Gallatin, most of you know that already. Opponent Jim Vaughn should be worried. The Holt fundraiser was headlined by Gov. Bill Haslam, who thanked Holt for his support of the Governor's IMPROVE Act which will boost transportation funding in Tennessee, and which will directly benefit Sumner County commuters. Sumner County's entire State House delegation voted against the bill, which passed in the last session of the General Assembly and also contains a food tax cut and some important opportunities for mass transit. (State Senator Ferrell Haile voted for the bill.) It's not much of a stretch to guess that the Governor won't be coming to Sumner County to support Reps. Rodgers, Lamberth, and Weaver when they have fundraisers. Next time you are stuck in traffic on 386, be sure to thank Haslam and Holt for trying to solve the problem, and remember Rodgers', Lamberth's and Weaver's no votes.
Leonard Assante is the Democratic Executive Committeeman for the 18th Senate District and a resident of Gallatin.