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.


Stockard on the Stump: Release inmates with more than just 30 days of meds

By: - October 7, 2022

State lawmakers serving on a new committee studying Tennessee’s prison release policy are running into a harsh reality: Rehabilitating violent prisoners isn’t easy or cheap. Cleotha Abston Henderson, who is charged with raping and murdering Memphis kindergarten teacher Eliza Fletcher, committed his first major crime when he was 16, kidnapping and robbing attorney Kemper Durand. […]

A four-piece mailer sent to households across the state from Hillsdale College leads with accusations against Nashville media.

Lawmakers say fear of rejection fueled Hillsdale pullout

By: - October 5, 2022

State legislators believe Hillsdale College-affiliated American Classical Education saw inevitable rejection when it abruptly withdrew charter school appeals last week. Public sentiment turned against the Michigan-based private Christian college in midsummer when its president was secretly recorded at a Franklin event saying teachers are educated in the “dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the […]

Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville, in her legislative office at the Cordell Hull Building. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee’s new 5th congressional district features Trump Republican vs. progressive Democrat

By: - October 4, 2022

A Trump Republican and liberal state senator are facing off in a battle for the new 5th Congressional District seat where lines are drawn to turn Tennessee’s delegation even redder. Republican Andy Ogles, the former Maury County mayor and former director of Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee, and Democratic Sen. Heidi Campbell, the first female mayor of […]

Tess Stovall, left, executive director of the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission, and Ashley Thomas, general counsel, at Thursday's public hearing in Rutherford County. (Photo: Justin Kanew/Tennessee Holler)

Stockard on the Stump: American Classical heads for the Hills-dale

By: - September 30, 2022

Gov. Bill Lee and Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn are taking their lumps after affiliate American Classical Education withdrew requests Thursday for three charter schools in Tennessee. Lee wanted Hillsdale to put 100 here, but since Arnn said teachers come from “the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country,” they’ve been hounded from […]

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. (Photo:

State to hire more TBI personnel to cut rape kit backlog

By: - September 29, 2022

Gov. Bill Lee and legislative leaders announced plans Thursday to expedite the hiring of forensic lab positions in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to speed up turnaround on sexual assault kits. Twenty-five forensic lab positions, including forensic scientists, technicians and administrative support, are to be filled across the state: eight in the TBI’s Jackson lab, […]

Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House Republicans call on Vanderbilt hospital to stop transgender surgeries on minors

By: - September 29, 2022

Tennessee House Republicans sent a letter Wednesday to Vanderbilt hospital urging it to immediately stop gender transitioning surgeries on minors. Sixty-two members of the House Republican Caucus signed the request in the wake of social media videos purportedly showing a physician calling the surgeries a “huge money maker” because of the number of follow-up visits […]

"Number One, I don't like charter schools." Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston (Photo: John Partipilo)

House chairman knocks charter commission override authority

By: - September 28, 2022

The House chairman of the Joint Government Operations Subcommittee on Tuesday criticized the authority of a state commission to overrule local school boards that turn down charter school applications. Rep. Kent Calfee, a Kingston Republican who is stepping down from the Legislature this fall, spoke out against the ability of the Tennessee Public Charter School […]

Trousdale Turner Correctional Facility (Photo: Tennessee Department of Corrections)

Lawmaker raises specter of federal takeover of Tennessee prison system

By: - September 27, 2022

Lawmakers blasted the Department of Correction Monday for making a weak response to a 2020 audit, with one legislator questioning whether the federal courts need to take over Tennessee’s prison system again. Prison system officials contended they had solved nearly every problem raised by the Comptroller’s Office two years ago, but they presented few details […]

Photo of campaign buttons saying Vote 2022. (Getty Images)

Moderate and ultra-conservative face off in 59th District House race

By: - September 26, 2022

The race to fill the new 59th District House seat in southern Davidson County pits self-styled moderate Democrat Caleb Hemmer against ultra-conservative Republican Michelle Foreman. If Foreman were to win the Nov. 8 election, she would be the only Republican House member in the Davidson County delegation. Hemmer, who works in corporate development for American […]

Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Democratic leaders push back on calls for Vanderbilt transgender clinic investigation

By: and - September 23, 2022

A day after Gov. Bill Lee and state Republican leaders called for an investigation into transgender care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Democratic leaders pushed back, saying that “hate” was being used “for political purposes.” “Parents should be able to make decisions in regard to their children’s health. That is something Republicans claim to fight […]

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

Stockard on the Stump: MTSU recycles embattled state senator, county mayor

By: - September 23, 2022

Despite paying a $135,000 civil penalty for campaign finance violations, former state Senator and Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron landed a plum job this week with MTSU. Ketron, who lost both as a Democrat and Republican to Nancy Allen for the county mayor’s seat in the ’90s before winning a Senate seat, will be the […]

Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Republican lawmakers plan to strip Vanderbilt Hospital of child transgender surgeries

By: and - September 21, 2022

Fueled by a Twitter report, Republican lawmakers are planning to pass legislation in 2023 to stop Vanderbilt University Medical Center from performing pediatric transgender surgeries. Meanwhile, Gov. Bill Lee requested an investigation, and Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti’s Office said he will use the “full scope” of his authority to make sure state law is being […]