Benjamin Pounds

Benjamin Pounds

Benjamin Pounds has written for the Oak Ridger, the Knoxville News Sentinel and Metro Pulse, covering politics, business and outdoor activities. He is currently a regular contributor to His book "Wildly Strolling Along: Father-Son Nature Adventures on Tennessee's Cumberland Trail is available to order from major online booksellers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Ayres Hall at the University of Tennessee. (Photo: Getty Images)

University of Tennessee students positive about campus free speech

By: - September 8, 2023

A recent survey shows most University of Tennessee students are positive about their campus’s commitment to free expression, in contrast to conservative rhetoric. The 2023 Campus Climate Survey, published by UT before the fall semester, shows 92% of UT students said their campuses were committed to free expression, and 89% felt comfortable expressing themselves. Eight […]

Democratic Reps. Justin Pearson, Gloria Johnson and Justin Jones at a Monday press conference on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo

Expulsion effort yields fast fundraising for Johnson support in Knox County

By: - April 5, 2023

Republican attempts to punish Tennessee Rep. Gloria Johnson D-Knoxville have led to quick fundraising success for Knox County Democrats, who are putting together a fund to support her. Matt Shears, chair of the Knox County Democratic Party, said that his party raised over $10,000 since Monday night. The money will be for Johnson in the […]

Members of several Ukrainian families who have relocated to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, since the war with Russia broke out. (Photo: Submitted)

In Tennessee and Russia, “sister cities” wait, while US-Ukraine ties grow

By: - December 22, 2022

Amid the war between Russia and Ukraine, an East Tennessee town is changing its relations with the people of both nations. Oak Ridge, Tennessee is a sister city to Obninsk, Russia, leading collaborations and visitor exchanges between the cities. Both have been centers for nuclear energy research, with Oak Ridge home to Oak Ridge National […]

Republican Elaine Davis, left, defeated Democrat Greg Kaplan in the race to replace departing House District 18 Rep. Eddie Mannis. (Elaine Davis photo: Elaine Davis for State Representative; Kaplan photo:

Knoxville Republican Davis wins House race marked by allegations of antisemitism

By: - November 9, 2022

In the Knoxville  House District 18 race to replace departing Rep. Eddie Mannis, Republican Elaine Davis defeated Democrat Greg Kaplan to keep the seat red.  Davis received 10,905 votes or 54.10%. Kaplan received 9,253 votes or 45.90%. “I’m looking forward to serving the 18th District in Nashville,” Davis said. “We reached out to the voters, […]

Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, won a third consecutive term in the Tennessee House of Representatives despite a redistricting process that moved her into a new district.(Photo: John Partipilo)

Gloria Johnson, target of GOP ire, wins reelection in new district

By: - November 9, 2022

Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson, a perpetual target of GOP ire, has defeated Republican David “Pozy” Poczobut to win Tennessee House District 90. “We ran an extremely positive campaign about the things we wanted to do. And they ran an extremely negative campaign,”  Johnson told The Lookout by phone, saying Poczobut’s campaign focused on tearing her […]

Left: Jim Dodson (Photo:; Rep. John Ragan (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

Candidates spar for the “secret city”

By: - October 31, 2022

In East Tennessee’s State House District 33, incumbent John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, is facing two-term Oak Ridge City Council member and middle school art teacher Jim Dodson, the Democratic nominee. The district includes much of Oak Ridge, nicknamed the “secret city” for its role in enriching uranium for nuclear weapons. Both candidates have spoken in […]