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Analysis: The polarization express

BY: - December 24, 2020

Political  junkies continue to pore over the 2020 presidential election maps featured in the New York Times looking for keys to electoral trends: the maps graphically display the vote shift from 2016 to 2020 in every county in the United States.  The setup is simple: counties with larger vote margins for Donald Trump in 2020 […]

Knox County Department of Health (Photo: Knox County)

Commentary: Knox County Board of Health endangered by viral nonsense

BY: - December 21, 2020

Monday night, the Knox County Commission will vote on an ordinance that effectively would abolish the county’s Board of Health, resurrecting a zombie version of it as only an advisory body.  The signs are not promising the Board of Health will survive COVID-19 viral misinformation loose in the body politic.  The commission voted 8-3 last […]

Gov. Bill Lee addresses Tennesseans from the Governor's Residence. Lee issued an executive order limiting public gatherings to no more than 10 people. (Photo: YouTube)

Governor orders limited Christmas gatherings

BY: - December 20, 2020

A day after announcing his wife contracted COVID-19, Gov. Bill Lee declined to make a statewide mask mandate but asked Tennesseans not to hold indoor Christmas gatherings with anyone outside their household. “Family time and celebrations are important, and I understand deeply how much Tennessee families need each other. But we must do all we […]

Amazon employees hold a protest and walkout over conditions at the company's Staten Island distribution facility on March 30, 2020 in New York City. Workers at many facilities across the country have protested conditions, as employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Workers’ COVID-19 lawsuits could be quashed under GOP push in Congress

BY: - December 18, 2020

WASHINGTON—A wrongful death lawsuit filed in connection with a Tyson meat packing facility in Iowa alleged that managers secretly took bets on how many employees would get sick from COVID-19. Tyson fired seven managers at the Waterloo pork processing plant following an independent investigation into the betting allegations and a wave of national publicity. But […]

Dr. Bruce Randolph, MPH. Director, Shelby County Public Health Department, at a Dec. 5 press conference (Photo: Shelby County Health Department)

White House task force issue urgent message to state officials, who so far have refused to heed it

BY: - December 18, 2020

The White House Coronavirus Task Force repeated an urgent admonition to Tennessee public health officials this week: “All public health officials must make clear that if you are over 65 or with significant health conditions, you should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked due to the immediate risk to your health; […]

Gov. Bill Lee addressing the surge in COVID-19 cases and the vaccine at his regular press briefing. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

Gov blasts Thanksgiving gatherings for causing COVID-19 surge as state rolls out vaccine

BY: - December 17, 2020

Admitting Tennessee is seeing a “darkness before the dawn,” Gov. Bill Lee blamed a COVID-19 surge on “foolish decisions” over Thanksgiving while urging leery residents to take the COVID-19 vaccination as the state starts its first round. The governor joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center officials Thursday in kicking off the vaccine program, mainly with healthcare […]

Dec. 11, 2020- Andrea Bond Johnson in downtown Brownsville, Tennessee. Bond-Johnson was shocked when she lost a second time to Republican Chris Hurt in the race for State House District 82 in western Tennessee (© Karen Pulfer Focht)

Election aftermath: life after a campaign

BY: - December 17, 2020

The election is over. The volunteers shuffle around the subdued  campaign headquarters, sipping coffee and stare at the television screen, as if willing the numbers to change. But they did not and the stark numbers reveal the winners and losers. The victors – almost all Republicans – will maintain their positions and the newly elected […]

Katie Lentile, second from left, with Mayor John Cooper, family members and volunteers at Cooper's May 2019 campaign kickoff. (Photo: Facebook)

Top communications aide Lentile leaves Nashville mayor’s office

BY: - December 17, 2020

Katie Lentile, the chief communications officer for Nashville Mayor John Cooper, is leaving her post at the end of the year. Lentile had never worked in politics before earning the top communications job for Cooper’s campaign last year. She was hired to the top advisory role after Cooper won the runoff election against Mayor David […]

30-year-old Allie Schmidt plays with her son Ashton, 11 month in her home. Schmidt was diagnosed with ALS when she was 25. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee families impacted by ALS become advocates for Congressional action

BY: - December 16, 2020

As Allie Schmidt awaits for the government to approve new treatments that could help her battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), she’s left to pursue her own remedies. For Schmidt, that means spending $300 per month from her modest disability insurance stipend to pay for vitamin bundles “in the hopes that these vitamins slow my […]

Gov. Bill Lee and First Lady Maria Lee greet Vice President Mike Pence Dec. 4 in Memphis at an event to discuss distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Camper wants legislative focus on widespread vaccine distribution

BY: - December 15, 2020

With COVID-19 surging across the state, the legislature should concentrate on controlling the virus and disseminating a vaccine when it convenes in January, House Minority Leader Karen Camper says. Gov. Bill Lee’s administration already has a draft plan on the Department of Health website, and the governor, who will not require residents to get vaccinations, […]

Protesters in front of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexanders offices on West End in 2017. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Biden election gives hope for DACA, immigrant rights organizations

BY: - December 14, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden’s election win renewed hope for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA,) but advocates with immigrant-rights organizations say there will still be many challenges in the next few months.  During President Donald Trump’s tenure, DACA applications were closed as the administration sought to roll back the program. Although limited in its […]

Candidates for TNDP chair speak in a Thursday forum sponsored by the Tennessee Holler and Change Tennessee. From top left clockwise: Kate Craig, Robin Kimbrough Hayes, Dr. Jane George, Civil Miller Watkins and moderator Drew Dison.

Tennessee Democratic Party overhauls chair selection process

BY: - December 11, 2020

The Tennessee Democratic Party is overhauling its process for choosing a new party chair.   For the first time, the TNDP Executive Committee has hired an outside human resources consultant to make the process more professional and akin to a hunt for the CEO of a statewide organization. Candidates typically send an announcement to the 66 […]