Commentary

COMMENTARY
Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Senator predicts Delta variant will spur vaccinations

BY: - July 30, 2021

State Sen. Ferrell Haile, a pharmacist by trade, is not on the fence when it comes to vaccines. He was writing an opinion piece on the importance of vaccinations when other senators found out and wanted to join the push. Seventeen Republican senators signed the letter and sent it out this week hoping to bolster […]

COMMENTARY
(Photo: Getty Images)

Commentary: Four ways Tennessee’s new trust regulations benefit individuals and families

BY: and - July 30, 2021

Tennessee’s national reputation as a leading state to establish and administer a trust took another step forward with the passage of several new regulations on May 12. The new laws – when combined with the repeal of Tennessee’s tax on passive investment income (the Hall Income Tax) on January 1 – further solidifies the Volunteer […]

COMMENTARY
Dr. Katrina Green of Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: State leaders own responsibility for low vaccination rates

BY: - July 26, 2021

Working in the hospital on the front lines of the pandemic caused by the SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19) virus last winter was the hardest thing I’d ever had to do as a physician. We were experiencing a massive surge of sick COVID-19 positive patients in the emergency department, many of whom were so ill they required high […]

COMMENTARY
Dr. Michelle Fiscus prepares for an interview in her Williamson County home. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Republican lawmakers split over Fiscus firing

BY: - July 23, 2021

The group of anti-vax legislators whose complaints about the Department of Health vaccine campaign led to the firing of Dr. Michelle Fiscus won’t say much about her termination. But there is a clear break between that group and others who think the state made the wrong move. The topic is so sensitive that most lawmakers […]

COMMENTARY
Odessa Kelly works on the porch of her East Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Editor’s column: The hottest ticket in town

BY: - July 23, 2021

Political tongues have been flapping all over Nashville since community organizer and activist Odessa Kelly announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 5th Congressional District in early April.  Kelly is taking on incumbent Jim Cooper, who has served in the 5th District seat since his election in 2002 (and in the 4th Congressional […]

COMMENTARY
(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Commentary: The For the People Act of 2021 and election integrity

BY: - July 20, 2021

Election integrity comprises more than just ensuring the person who votes is who he says he is.  The For the People Act is a comprehensive bill that would, among other things, prevent states from making it harder for people to vote and drawing congressional districts to the benefit of one or the other party. It […]

COMMENTARY
Dr. Michelle Fiscus (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: The curious case of Dr. Fiscus

BY: - July 16, 2021

We began the week in the soap opera that is Tennessee with the firing of the Tennessee Department of Health’s chief immunization director.  Dr. Michelle “Shelley” Fiscus, a pediatrician by training, was unceremoniously sacked on Monday after four years of service with the state. Fiscus said her termination letter gave no reason for her firing […]

COMMENTARY
Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: State spent millions on vaccine campaign that helped cost Fiscus her job

BY: - July 16, 2021

Tennessee spent $11.4 million on public service campaigns designed to battle COVID-19. The only thing it cost the state to fire its chief immunologist was a lot of embarrassment. Using coronavirus relief funds, the state paid Designsensory $8.9 million for messaging to encourage mask wearing and social distancing early in the pandemic. Once vaccines were […]

COMMENTARY
Dr. Michelle "Shelley" Fiscus, photographed in her home on July 15, 2021. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Fired immunization director never saw letter recommending termination

BY: - July 15, 2021

The Department of Health fired its director of the immunization program for several reasons, including failure to consult superiors on the state’s vaccine program, according to a letter placed in her personnel file. But Dr. Michelle Fiscus, who was terminated Monday, says she didn’t know about the letter written by Dr. Tim Jones on July […]

COMMENTARY
(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Commentary: The For the People Act of 2021 and next steps

BY: - July 15, 2021

The For the People Act of 2021 addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of the federal government. It passed the House of Representatives as HR-1 and is before the Senate as S-1. The Act is divided into 3 parts: Voting, Campaign Finance, and Ethics. It details […]

COMMENTARY
Man at Nashville rally, June 4. (Photo: Alex Kent)

Commentary: Educators will continue to teach the truth of America’s racial history

BY: - July 12, 2021

As a West Tennessee public school teacher of 18 years, my life has taken on a rhythmic pattern – pedal to the floor, hair on fire for ten months and then two months of rest during the summer.  The same process year in and year out.  June and July have always afforded me a time […]

COMMENTARY
A pickup truck emblazoned with the Jack Daniel's Distillery logo parked in front of the Cordell Hull Legislative Office Building Wednesday. Inside the building, officials with company gave one-fith bottles of Jack to legislators. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

Stockard on the Stump: Jack in the bag sparks new look at gifts

BY: - July 9, 2021

Jack Daniel’s owner Brown-Forman didn’t violate any rules on gifts to lawmakers when it handed out bottles of sipping whiskey to lawmakers in February. But the gift bags are causing the Tennessee Ethics Commission to take a new look at the guidelines for giveaways. The Ethics Commission voted recently to have staff review a 2008 […]