By Steve Hunley

First District Congressman

Tennessee voters will likely be electing a new congressman from Tennessee’s First Congressional District in a matter of days.  The First District is upper East Tennessee, running basically from Sevier County all the way to Mountain City.  To be sure I had everything straight in my head, I checked with the Focus’s resident historian, Ray Hill, and congressional seats in the First District don’t come open very often.  From 1923-63, Carroll Reece was the congressman from the First District for all but six out of forty years.  Reece died in 1961 and his widow, Louise, was elected to serve the remainder of his term.  Reece took time out to serve as Chairman of the GOP National Committee in 1946 and run for the U. S. Senate in 1948 before running against and beating his successor in 1950.  Following the death of B. Carroll Reece, Jimmy Quillen was elected and served until his retirement in 1997.  Quillen was succeeded by Bill Jenkins.  Jenkins was in office for ten years and Republicans held another multi-candidate primary with David Davis the winner.  Davis managed only one term in the House before losing to Dr. Phil Roe.  Roe’s retirement announcement surprised a lot of folks.  Considering how rarely an open seat becomes available in the First District, just about everybody with a sliver of political ambition jumped into the race.   There are a host of candidates fighting it out for the GOP nomination, which is still likely tantamount to election in the highly Republican district.  From what I hear, the favorite to win is likely state Senator Rusty Crowe.  Crowe has been in Nashville since 1990 and is 73 years old, so if he is elected, he probably won’t be serving 30 years in office.


Peaceful Protesters? Not So Much…

Protesters in Madison, Wisconsin were having a grand old time near the state capitol on one fine June evening.  The protesters promptly issued an edict no one, and they meant no one, could photograph or video their doings.  I reckon they didn’t want to bore anyone with all their peacefulness.

Then along wanders state Senator Tim Carpenter, a liberal Democrat, who apparently hadn’t heard about the ban on recording the antics of the protesters.  Carpenter lifted his phone to start recording and that’s when perhaps as many as ten protesters proceeded to peacefully beat the crap out of him, according to a member of the media who witnessed the attack.  According to one Wisconsin news report, Carpenter was almost immediately accosted by three protesters who said something about his phone.  In short order, Carpenter’s phone was knocked from his hand and the senator said he was sucker punched.  Carpenter was knocked to the ground, being punched and kicked with gusto by the otherwise peaceful protesters.

As he was being beaten, Carpenter yelped he was an “ally” to the protesters who were no longer so peaceful.  When the beating stopped, Carpenter tried to tell protesters who he was, asking for his phone and glasses to be returned to him.  One observer said she was a nurse and tried to treat the dazed senator.  At the time, Carpenter refused to go to the hospital, although he later required surgery to fix his broken nose.

Two women have turned themselves in for the brutal assault on Senator Carpenter.  Samantha Hamer, 26, and Kerida O’Reilly, 33, turned themselves into police.  Hamer is evidently employed as a social worker with a local school system.  Ordinarily, Hamer would be one of those charged with restorative practices, which is supposedly favoring a dialogue as opposed to harsher punishments like suspensions.  After beating the crap out of Senator Carpenter during a “peaceful” protest, Samantha may be in need of a restorative dialogue.  Talk about the pipeline to prison…


Another Protest Here

There was another protest in front of the Andrew Johnson Building which houses the administrative offices of the Knox County School system.  A handful of protesters from Indivisible and Black Coffee Justice were apparently horrified with the idea of reopening the schools.  One of the members was quoted by a press outlet as saying as the teachers didn’t have a voice even though they were there to protest on behalf of educators.  Evidently, they support the idea of keeping the schools pretty much closed until “14 days after the last case” of the COVID-19 virus has been recorded in Knox County.  As to not having a voice, there are more members of the Knox County Board of Education interested in representing teachers than taxpayers and citizens.

Regular readers will remember board members receiving a smattering of emails from a small, but persistent and vocal group of teachers—who do not come close to representing a majority of the hardworking educators in our county and community—who were hysterical in urging board members to “redo” the vote to reopen the schools.  Some accused board members of murder, cheerfully willing to kill teachers and students.  According to one board member, at least one correspondent urged board members not to reopen schools until or unless teacher safety could be guaranteed.  One wonders just how that is possible?  Is anyone’s personal safety guaranteed every day of the world?  Of course not.  And what about the safety of those folks who provide services for the rest of us?  What about the safety of the KAT bus drivers and workers who work hard every day of the world to transport people to and from their destinations?  What about the safety of those who keep our lights and air conditioning systems working during this terribly hot and humid summer?  What about the law enforcement professionals who help to keep us safe daily?  What about the folks stocking the shelves of supermarkets and those running the cash registers?  There are folks, yes, some young people, who are going to beaches this summer and gathering together.  Virtually nobody, especially in the mainstream media, will issue a warning or note of caution, much less condemn those gathering in packs and herds to protest.  Goodness knows they claim any other group activity should be outlawed as it certainly spreads the virus.

Acknowledge the work being done in the face of the virus by so many brave people who are keeping our economy running.  Thank the person who delivers your groceries if you’re too afraid to poke your head outside.  Thank the person running the cash register or the person standing behind the meat counter.

The fact is, for this country to continue to exist, the economy has to keep chugging along.  Those people are showing up for work every day and not uttering a single word of complaint.  Everyday, hard-working Americans don’t claim to be heroes and sure as heck don’t want to be martyrs.  Those are the folks who pay the bills and make this country great.