Blowback from the Tennessee’s 4th Senate District

Go read Kleinheider to find out why blogger David Oatney translated a less-than-20-word statement on a mailer sent out by Senator Mike Williams into a 171-word rant, which puts quite a few words in the Senator’s mouth.

And I’ve got to tell you, it is one thing to point out issues with your elected official.  Perhaps you don’t like his viewpoints or policies. He voted for something you oppose. You think his manner of dress is inappropriate and your guy is better for the job.  However, it’s quite another thing to launch a full-scale rock-throwing attack while your candidate is sitting in his own glass house.

You know, when the GOP first started grasping at straws here and twisting truth: I had faith that the Tennessee Republican Party would figure out these tactics weren’t working locally. In fact, they were starting to backfire.  Faulk would realize this and rein in his supporters.  Nope.  Not so much – because apparently whatever Republicans lack in common sense, they make up for in sheer collective hatefulness – and this bothers me.  I’ve always been told when something is bothering you, you should talk about it.

So, let’s talk about it.

Putting words in the mouth of Senator Mike Williams, David Oatney says:

“Far worse than that, however, is the fact that I promised my constituents that I would never take PAC money, but now that is nearly all the money I am taking since you all are angry with me and won’t give me any of yours.”

The fact is Mr. Oatney, we didn’t give Mike Faulk money either. A paltry 12% of his contributions actually came from within the district because we’re poor as church mice here.

I’m also chagrined the Republican Party would make Williams’ 1996 promise not to accept PAC money an issue.   Mike Faulk accepted special interest money too. What was it over $25,000 or so? Of course, much of this is from the Tennessee Conservative PAC, which is primarily funded by the Gregory family of King Pharmaceuticals – but that’s neither here nor there. So, your entire point is Faulk is better just because he took money from PACs without promising he would not?

Or maybe this is an attempt to confuse the voters so as to divert their attention from Faulk’s finances. Hello? Have you looked at the smaller donations and “best effort” bullshit peppered throughout Faulk’s campaign reports.  $1,000 from Advance American Cash Advance Centers in South Carolina with maybe 14 or so “Borrow a Belt so We Can Take Your Pants Later” centers located in this region, $500 bucks from the Brundage Management (Thomas Brundage and Andrew Morrison) in Texas – who push the SunLoan Corportations in TN. $1,000 from Charles Johnson in Florida, dba Community Loans of America… you know, the parent company of Tennessee Title Loans. How about Allan Jones, CEO of Jones Management – which handles “Loan by Phone” and “Check in Cash” companies?

Let’s also not ponder overmuch on the 1,000 smackaroos from Thomas Beasley,  the same Republican bigwig Beasley who founded the Corrections Corporation of America? How about Steve Kirkham? Surely, you’ve heard of Steve of Rocky Top Market, TOMA board, Idleaire? No? What about a $1000 from Randle Richardson, the man in charge of Community Education Partners, a for-profit alternative schools which is currently being sued by the ACLU in Altanta and was previously accused of buying off school-board members in Houston?  Oh, and we wouldn’t want to mention the small $1000 contribution from Ed Street? I assume that would be Edward H. Street Jr. out of Johnson City, and the $1900 total from the Thomas C. Jessee – the attorney who coincidentally represented Street’s Johnson City outfit when the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) sued him. Oh, and the $2000 from Justin Wilson, former Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and policy advisor to Sundquist?

These are only the larger amounts of money. The truth is, Mr. Oatney, there’s more “connections” on Faulk’s campaign report than there are cousins in a backwoods hillbilly trailer park. So, do we really want to go here?

You know, there’s nothing wrong with these folks contributing to candidates who have similar political views, but let’s stop trying to create the illusion that Faulk’s money came from regular joe donors and around the way folks.  The fact is Mike Faulk is headed to Nashville to represent his party just as much or more so than his people. His support has little or nothing to do with this district and everything to do with slapping his ass in a Senate seat so the Republicans have the majority.  I’ve got nothing against the party pulling funds statewide to make this power play, but ya’ll should have enough respect for the area voters to call it what it is.  And it may do you well to remember while those folks can toss money at your man, they won’t be the ones voting come election time.

The TN GOP may also want to note the constant attacks and general viciousness aren’t going over well in this area.  In fact, many of us, who live here, are beginning to see why Williams left the party.

He’s David Oatney and Mike Faulk approved his message.

I’m Angie: and nobody approved mine.


6 thoughts on “Blowback from the Tennessee’s 4th Senate District

  1. Pingback: Men Of The People — With Money : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  2. You’re welcome, Netmom. And for the record, Faulk isn’t a bad fellow – but hello pot, meet kettle.

  3. Angelica –

    First of all, it’s no secret that I support Mike Faulk, consider him a friend, and will help out his campaign later on in 2008 if asked.

    Second, count me in as aghast that the good people of the 4th District ever elected – nevermind re-elected – Mike Williams. I thought he was a boob when he was a Republican, and I still think that he’s a boob as an Independent. I have witnesses on that count, because I am always shocked and dismayed when I meet an elected official who is far from the best and brightest the area has to offer.

    To my main point, I refer to the quote below:

    “Many of us, who live here, are beginning to see why Williams got pissed off enough to leave the party.”

    From your post, it is obvious that you know well more than the average bear about politics in the 4th District. I only assume that you know that Mike Williams is no longer a member of the GOP for a variety of reasons, none of which have him getting “pissed off” at anything. If you had to point to one item, Williams’ decision is sadly and purely politics. It serves him better personally (note: not the 4th District, but Mike Williams the person) to caucus with the Democrats. And, as regular readers of my blog know, I hate it when politicians work for themselves and not for their constituents – and that statement knows no party delineation.

    Kudos for a well-written post, though. We may be on different sides of this election, but I certainly can appreciate a researched, logical blog post – no matter what the subject.



  4. Angelia, this is wonderful investigative reporting. Thank you for the info the rest of us are too lazy to research.

    I, too, take offense at much that has been said about our very effective senator. And what offends me most of all is that the attack on him—which is calculated to divest us of his political savvy and power in Nashville—sets on the doorstep of Ron Ramsey, who could care less what happens in Hawkins County.

    Listen carefully to the critics. Their whining is silliness, in my opinion. It started when Sen. Williams wouldn’t vote for Ramsey in his first try for Speaker. Apparently when a Republican takes office, he/she is under an obligation to vote for any other Republican who wants any other office. For Pete’s sake!

    Personally, i think John Wilder is an arrogant old goat who outstayed his welcome. However—-good things came into Hawkins County because of Sen. Williams’ respectful treatment of him. And it demonstrated to the Senate that our senator can and will work with both parties for the good of his constituency. I love that!

    Ramsey, though, was mad as a hornet, and he and our local party determined to beat him in the next election. Never mind his accomplishments. After all, putting Ramsey in as Speaker was much more important than Hawkins County having a senator with an established network and the favor of the Governor!

    And in my opinion, Sen. Williams’ refusal to flush his constituents’ best interests down the toilet by getting in a P!$$!ng contest with Ramsey is what has led to the attacks on him.

    Unfortunately, our town and our county have not yet learned there is a bigger world out there and it is to our advantage to know how it operates.

  5. Pingback: The Inquisition Transcript « DeMarCaTionVille

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