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U.S. Senate Candidate Phil Bredesen Speaks at Democratic Party Mass Meeting (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

February 18, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

Former Governor and Democratic candidate for the United States Senate Phil Bredesen spoke at the DeKalb County Democratic Mass Meeting Saturday in Smithville.

Bredesen said he believes his experience as governor can draw leaders from both sides of the political aisle to work together in Washington.

“What I found in doing some research and in talking with people around the state is that people want to get beyond this standing on opposite sides of the room and shouting at each other and find some ways to move the ball down the field. There are many issues out there. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. We can find ways to find compromises to get things done. Whether you are a super strong conservative and a strong supporter of the President or a super liberal on the other side of the spectrum or all in between, it seems to be universal. People are really hungry for that (compromise) and I can tell you in Washington they are not getting it,” said Bredesen.

“When I was Governor I worked really hard to try and make sure things we accomplished had some people from both sides on it to get good majorities out of the Democrats and good majorities out of the Republicans to support the important legislation because then I think it has staying power. That’s one of the things I want to take to Washington,” he continued.

Bredesen said he can help bring solutions on issues including the health care debate.

“Health care is such a huge issue. Everywhere I go in Tennessee it tops the list of things people want to talk about when they identify as problems. There are a lot of practical things that can be done without getting off into all the ideological arguments. It just takes a willingness to work together to make some of those things happen and that’s what I would very much like to bring, said Bredesen.

The former governor said he believes his entry into the race will help Democrats up and down the ballot.

“We have good tickets from top to bottom. One of the advantages of a Senate race like this is there will be a lot of money spent from the outside on voter turnout. That will help me and it will help people up and down the ticket to have that happen. That is one of the benefits I think I can help bring to the entire Democratic ticket as it goes through the months ahead,” said Bredesen.

DeKalb Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.9%

February 17, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s unemployment rate for December 2017 dropped to 3.9%, down from 4.2% in November and below the 5.9% rate in December 2016.

The DeKalb Labor Force for December was 7,660. A total of 7,360 were employed and 300 were without work.

Jobless rates for December among the fourteen counties in the Upper Cumberland region were as follows from highest to lowest:
Clay: 4.8%
Jackson: 4.1%
Cumberland: 4.1%
DeKalb: 3.9%
Fentress: 3.9%
Van Buren: 3.7%
Pickett: 3.7%
Overton: 3.3%
White: 3.3%
Warren: 3.2%
Putnam: 2.9%
Cannon: 2.8%
Smith: 2.8%
Macon: 2.6%

County unemployment rates released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) show unemployment remained below 5 percent in an overwhelming majority of the state’s 95 counties during December 2017. The latest statistics also highlight how each county had significantly lower unemployment compared to one year ago.

Eighty-nine counties experienced unemployment under 5 percent during the last month of the year. Seventy-seven counties saw their rates decrease, including Williamson County, which had Tennessee’s lowest rate at 2.2 percent, a 0.3 percent drop from the previous month. Davidson County’s rate of 2.3 percent was the second lowest in state and represents a 0.2 percent decrease from November.

The list of top ten counties with the lowest unemployment also includes Rutherford, Cheatham, Wilson and Knox Counties, which each saw a decrease of 0.3 percent in December. The rates in Sumner and Moore Counties went down by 0.2 percent last month, while Macon and Bradley Counties moved into the top ten.

“It’s great the counties with the lowest rates all experienced a decrease in unemployment during December,” TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips said. “But Tennessee’s economic outlook is even more encouraging when you compare the year-to-year figures for every county in the state.”

Lake County’s current rate of 4.9 percent represents a staggering 5.2 percent decrease from its December 2016 rate of 10.1 percent. In east Tennessee, Scott County’s rate was down 4.6 percent and Cocke County’s unemployment dropped by 3.4 percent from December 2016 to December 2017. Every county in Tennessee had significantly lower unemployment compared to December of last year.

Only seven counties saw their rates slightly increase during December, including Rhea County, which had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 5.6 percent. Even with a 0.2 percent increase, Rhea County’s jobless number for December 2017 was down 3.3 percent from its December 2016 rate of 8.9 percent.

“We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress over the last 12 months,” Commissioner Phillips noted. “But we are constantly working to make sure every Tennessean has the opportunity to earn a good wage, at a good job, so they can provide for their families.”

Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate is the lowest among its neighboring states in the southeast and it is the 8th lowest in the entire nation.

The statewide unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, while the county rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools and other recurring seasonal events from an economic times series.

Democratic Candidates Make Announcements During Mass Meeting

February 17, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

Candidates for various public offices announced their intentions during the DeKalb County Democratic Party Mass Meeting Saturday at the high school cafeteria.

The May 1st DeKalb County Democratic Primary will feature two contested races for county offices including County Mayor and Circuit Court Clerk.

The candidates for County Mayor are first term incumbent Tim Stribling, former three term County Mayor Mike Foster, and Incumbent 3rd district County Commissioner Bradley Hendrix. The winner of the Primary will face Independent candidate Randy Paris in the August County General Election.

Incumbent Democratic Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack is not seeking re-election to a fifth term this year. The Democratic candidates for the office are Nicole Wright, an employee of the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, and Incumbent fifth district constable Mark Milam. The winner of the Primary will face Republican Susan Martin in the County General Election.

Ms. Pack was presented a special gift during the mass meeting. The presentation of a clock was made by Nicole Wright and Party Chairman Jordan Wilkins. Pack’s grandson Brayden Summers also gave her a bouquet of roses.

Incumbent County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss and Incumbent Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen will be unopposed in the Democratic Primary and in the County General Election on August 2nd. Poss will be re-elected to his second term. McMillen is on the way to winning his ninth term.

Also running unopposed in the Democratic Primary are Michael Agee for Sheriff and Jimmy Sprague for Road Supervisor. Both will face opposition in August. Agee will be trying to unseat three term Republican Incumbent Sheriff Patrick Ray. Sprague will face opposition from Republican Danny Hale. Both Sprague and Hale are hoping to succeed Incumbent Republican Road Supervisor Wallace (Butch) Agee who is not seeking a second term.

There is no Democratic or Independent candidate for Trustee. Republican Incumbent Sean Driver will be elected to his fourth term in August.

Democratic County Commission candidates making their intentions known in person Saturday included: Dennis Slager in the 1st district; Nora Harvey and Incumbent Joe Johnson in the 2nd district; Bobby Johnson and Incumbent Jack Barton in the 3rd district; Dr. Scott Little in the 4th district; Lloyd Emmons in the 5th district; and Incumbent Larry Summers in the 7th district.

Democratic County Commission candidates who were unable to attend the meeting Saturday but had others making announcements for them were Incumbent Julie Young in the 1st district, Myron Rhody in the 2nd district, Jenny Trapp in the 3rd district, Janice Fish-Stewart in the 4th district, Incumbent Anita Puckett in the 5th district, Incumbent Betty Atnip in the 6th district, and Beth Pafford and Incumbent Kevin Robinson in the 7th district.

Other Democratic County Commission candidates absent Saturday were Bobby Taylor and Incumbents Jonathan Norris and Wayne Cantrell in the 4th district and Incumbent Jeff Barnes in the 6th district.

A Republican candidate will also be on the ballot for the county commission in each of the seven districts on August 2.

Although the Smithville Municipal Election is non-partisan, Incumbent Mayor Jimmy Poss announced his bid for re-election in August and Incumbent Alderman Gayla Hendrix, who was unable to attend the meeting, made her re-election plans known through a spokesperson.

Prior to the local candidates, Mary Mancini, Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, delivered the keynote address to the party faithful followed by speeches from former Governor Phil Bredesen, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, State House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, and State Senate candidate Mary Alice Carfi.

Bredesen is seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in August hoping to capture the seat in November now held by Republican Senator Bob Corker. Dean and Fitzhugh are in the hunt for the Democratic nomination for Governor in August hoping to succeed Republican Governor Bill Haslam in November.

Carfi, who narrowly lost to Republican Mark Pody in the December special election for the State Senate in District 17 is seeking the Democratic nomination in August looking to unseat Pody in November.

More on their remarks in later stories.

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