Sam Stockard

Sam Stockard

Sam Stockard is a veteran Tennessee reporter and editor, having written for the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, where he served as lead editor when the paper won an award for being the state's best Sunday newspaper two years in a row. He has led the Capitol Hill bureau for The Daily Memphian. His awards include Best Single Editorial from the Tennessee Press Association.

Map of Tennessee's 5th congressional district. (Map:

Democrats anticipate Republican efforts to redraw Cooper’s district out of existence

By: - June 10, 2021

Republicans already hold seven of nine Tennessee congressional districts, but with redistricting approaching in 2022, Democrats fear the GOP-controlled Legislature will try to redraw U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper’s Nashville-based district and effectively push him out of Congress. Such a move could help Republicans gain another seat in Congress to chip away at Democrat control on […]

Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville, said Gov. Bill Lee's "pattern of granting no-bid contracts to disreputable companies is really alarming." (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lee defends federal unemployment cut despite potential loss of $486M

By: - June 9, 2021

Citing a Memphis restaurateur’s troubles with finding workers, Gov. Bill Lee defended his decision Tuesday to end federal unemployment benefits to people still hobbled by the COVID-19 pandemic, despite a report showing the state economy could take a $486 million hit. Questioned about the expected loss by Tennessee’s economy detailed in a congressional report, in […]

State Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, center, has expressed suspicion about the suspension of the Baptiste Group. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Gardenhire wants facts to drive solution on unaccompanied children

By: - June 8, 2021

Taking a different view from firebrand conservatives, state Sen. Todd Gardenhire hopes a Study Committee of Refugee Issues will remove the “rhetoric” and use facts to decide how to handle unaccompanied children coming to Tennessee as part of a migrant wave at the Mexican border. Gardenhire, a Chattanooga Republican, penned an op-ed published Saturday in […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photograph: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Madison County Democrats’ fracas could lead to executive member’s dismissal

By: - June 4, 2021

The Madison County Democratic Party is no stranger to discord. The State Executive Committee dissolved the party amid upheaval two years ago, but that didn’t solve the problems, and in its most recent meeting, an alleged physical altercation broke out that could lead to dismissal of a veteran member. Hendrell Remus, chairman of the Tennessee […]

Flanked by legislative leaders, Gov. Bill Lee signs - for the second time -a law permitting permitless gun carry. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

Governor signs permit-less carry bill – again – at Beretta plant

By: - June 2, 2021

Nearly two months after signing his permitless carry bill, Gov. Bill Lee inked the document again, this time during a ceremony at the Beretta USA Tennessee gun factory in Gallatin. The Governor’s office touted the event as a constitutional carry bill signing, even though gun advocates criticized the legislation as falling short of true constitutional […]

A little girl holds her mother's hand at a 2017 demonstration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Rep. Hakeem terms committee on refugee issues ‘extreme partisan effort’

By: - June 2, 2021

A partisan committee formed by the House and Senate speakers will evaluate the impact of migrant children the federal government is bringing to Tennessee, even though figures show no significant increase since President Joe Biden took office. The Study Committee on Refugee Issues, which is spurred by reports about unaccompanied minors being brought to the […]

Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron has already picked up a challenger: Former state representative Joe Carr.

Stockard on the Stump: Survey spurred Carr to challenge Ketron

By: - May 28, 2021

Former state Rep. Joe Carr has plenty of reasons to run against Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron in 2022, and a survey helped push him into the race. Asked this week if he conducted a poll showing he would defeat Ketron by a wide margin next year, Carr initially said he was “trying to decide” […]

(Art: Getty Images)

Carr unveils harassment complaints after hedging response

By: - May 26, 2021

A day after denying knowledge of sexual harassment complaints against him within the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Rutherford County mayoral candidate Joe Carr went on the offensive. Carr, a former three-term Republican state house member from Lascassas, posted copies on Facebook Wednesday of the state’s harassment investigation of him, saying, “Liberal big government […]

Train cars loaded with coal sit on the tracks at a Blackjewel mining operation on August 22, 2019 in Cumberland, Kentucky. A group of coal miners blockaded the tracks and prevented the train from leaving the mine after Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy, ceased operation and payed the miners their final pay with bad checks. The shutdown left more than 300 miners in Harlan County with no jobs and owed payment for three weeks of work. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

State to retake coal mining regulation with industry at rock bottom

By: - May 26, 2021

“Mister Peabody’s Coal train” doesn’t run much through upper East Tennessee these days. The trains John Prine sang about in his famous song, “Paradise,” are practically non-existent. Compared to the 1950s and ’60s when Claiborne, Campbell and Scott counties were considered coal-mining country, the industry has nearly vanished, according to those who monitor it. Yet […]

Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, photographed at his desk in the Tennessee House of Representatives chambers Jan. 12. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Casada linked to Phoenix Solutions ownership

By: - May 24, 2021

The FBI is investigating whether former House Speaker Glen Casada was owner of a shadowy vendor that did work for several Republicans and netted $231,000 from the House Republican Caucus, according to statements by a Tennessee lawmaker. Rep. Kent Calfee, a Kingston Republican who paid Phoenix Solutions for constituent services, recently confirmed to the Tennessee […]

Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron speaks to residents in a March address on COVID-19. (Photo:

Registry director now questions whether state law allowed Ketron payment plan

By: - May 20, 2021

A month after the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance authorized its executive director to negotiate a payment plan with Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron on a $135,000 civil penalty, the director is raising doubts about whether such a move would have been legal. “I think that’s a very close question at the end of the […]

A police car blocks entrance to the Hernando DeSoto Bridge over the Mississippi River in Memphis after a substantial crack was found in it May 11. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Memphis bridge reopening unclear as governor criticizes federal funding plans

By: - May 18, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee took another shot Tuesday at billions of dollars in COVID-19 federal funding, saying the state should have the flexibility to use that money on roads and bridges as officials said they are expediting work on the cracked I-40 beam that forced the shutdown of Hernando DeSoto Bridge.  Asked about his criticism of […]