Feb 15 2013
09:39 pm
By: B Harmon  shortURL

This appeared on Brian Stevens facebook page.

Bbeanster's picture

That was a very graceful

That was a very graceful statement.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Might one of you paraphrase it, for the benefit of those of us who don't "do" Facebook (and don't want to)?

Bbeanster's picture

Well, damn Just went back to

Well, damn
Just went back to FB to re-read his post, and it's not there anymore.
What the heck?

jmcnair's picture

Short version.

"I am continuing the cause to beat Senator Campfield in 2014 but not as a candidate. I will be doing so as a concerned citizen."

"It is time for someone who can do this job at a level inconceivable to Senator Campfield."


"I believe this man is Colonel/Doctor/Commissioner Briggs."

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Graceful, indeed.

Thanks, jmcnair.

Bbeanster's picture

OK, it's back now (he must

OK, it's back now (he must have revised it a bit)

here's a different snippet:

I'd like to thank everyone for all their support. I have made a decision regarding the direction my life will take. In reality, I've been making this decision for the last few months and was just unwilling to admit it to myself. I am continuing the cause to beat Senator Campfield in 2014 but not as a candidate. I will be doing so as a concerned citizen.

First and foremost, this decision was made due to what I believe my future should be. Working at the University of Tennessee as a lecturer, I am endlessly fighting for my job. I fight for my job because it is the job I've loved the most. ...


I've met Commissioner Briggs and he is a kind man who treats everyone with respect. I am certain that if we have Senator Briggs he wouldn't sell off the Lakeshore property to the highest bidder. Don't just take my word for it; take a moment to read about Commissioner Briggs and decide for yourself.

TroyCG's picture

Graceful Withdrawal...yet Fearful?

Brian Stevens also said this:

"First and foremost, this decision was made due to what I believe my future should be. Working at the University of Tennessee as a lecturer, I am endlessly fighting for my job. I fight for my job because it is the job I've loved the most."

Since Brian doesn't have a tenure-track faculty position at UT, I suspect he fears that Campfield and other vindictive Republicans in the state legislature will use their pull to get Brian removed from his in fired.

Definitely a possibility with those neanderthals running the show...the Tennessee GOP should adopt the Wooly Mammoth as their symbol/mascot.

knoxrebel's picture

C'mon, isn't there a

C'mon, isn't there a (respectable) Democrat out here in the entire 7th District willing to take up the flag and run in this race? Let's just get a Democrat in the race, try to match Stacey's leg-work, hit him hard, have fun attacking his positions all day long, get a solid message out, and see what happens in August. It's unlikely, but someone might be able to catch lightning in a bottle.

fischbobber's picture

You go man.

Good luck with that.

knoxrebel's picture

What about someeone like Mark

What about someeone like Mark Harmon? Smart, hard-core Democrat, had success getting elected within the district (as a Democrat), articulate, witty . . . sounds like quite a contrast to Stacey. Mark might have some fun with this race, I'd think.

Local Citizen's picture


Where is the money going to come from to run a campaign? I am sure that was a major part of Stevens decision not to run.

August is the primary election. November is the election where a Democrat would be running against the Republican nominee.

I do not expect a serious Democratic candidate to enter this race. It would be political suicide.

fischbobber's picture

Mark Harmon

He's one of those rare candidates without a discernible downside. He is smart, articulate, right on the issues, accessible, shows up at events, and doesn't run his mouth to the detriment of the party. He is also pleasant, polite and personable. He's also media friendly. I'd vote for him in a heartbeat, but can't give you a good reason why he should expose himself to the abuse from without and within by running as a democrat for public service.

He's run before though, and if he decides to run again I'll do what I can (which could be, keep my mouth shut and vote) to help him get elected.

Mark Harmon is on the short list of local Dems that I think we could build around. Madeline, Gloria Johnson, Anthony Hancock, Indya Kincannon, and Randy Tyree all come to mind on this short list as well.

Mary Wilson's picture

Here is what we would require to run a KCDP candidate...

in Campfield's District, and who ever says they want to run there needs the following:
1) Of course they must live in Campfield's district! Madeline and Gloria are already elected and are serving us and are proud Democrats. Mark does not live in that district; I don't know about Anthony, Indya or Randy.
2) It would need to be a person respected in that community with some name recognition.
3)It would have to be someone who could intelligently represent our values to counter Stacey's LACK of same.

My ideal candidate would be a strong Democratic female, preferably with children either in public schools or attending college here in Tennessee. She could speak against Campfield's embarassing and insulting 'laws' he has written and had passed against women, girls and their medical privacy. If she has a child in college, she could talk about why she does not want her kid going to classes with guns locked in cars on campus. If she has children who MAY appear to be gay or have said they were gay, she could definitely speak against Stacey's hatred of these children. And of course she could run on a platform of finding JOBS that pay a decent wage!

She would need a LOT of financial support because Stacey Campfield does have piles of money, from NRA supporters, from "right to life" groups, and anti-gay right wingers. Of course he didn't let the public know, but his re-election was paid for in part by those who just wanted a GOPper in that seat.

We Democrats here could support such a person, male or female, and would work HARD for his or her win. So you who LIVE IN THAT that District, help us find that person. We will do the rest.

Rachel's picture

Y'all are assuming Stacey

Y'all are assuming Stacey will be the R candidate. Don't forget there's a Republican primary. It would be a whole 'nother thing to run against Briggs rather than Stacey.

Not trying to discourage Dems; hope somebody good runs.

Just pointing out what should be the obvious.

knoxrebel's picture

I wasn't assuming anything. I

I wasn't assuming anything. I think Briggs will give Stacey a good race. A hard race. He'll raise more, advertise more, run a better media campaign, but he won't out-work Stacey. That just won't happen, at least not in this race. Both appeal to an entirely different set of voters. Frankly, I'd like to see a Democratic Primary in that race (unlikely, since we can't find a single candidate, yet) because I'd really like to see the GOP candidates, these and any others, go at it head to head (as much as possible) within the confines of the GOP, and not let Briggs win because he got enough crossovers who lacked a Democrat to back.

Rachel's picture

I wasn't talking to you. :)

I wasn't talking to you. :)

knoxrebel's picture

Recipes for disaster and two women announce for Dem Chair

First, who would require this? Who is "we"? Are these "requirements" for running written down in the secret KCDP handbook? Does "we" refer to the Democrats who got together and chose a mayoral candidate in a non-partisan race featuring (at least early on) two Democrats?

Second, Harmon lives about 5 houses away from where I'm sitting right now, and it's in the 7th Senate District.

Third, respected by whom? If someone nobody has ever heard of says "I'll run as a Democrat on a Democrat platform and spend $50,000 of my own money doing it" are the "powers that be" down on Morgan Street going to say, "no, afraid not, you're not respected in the community and have no name recognition." Wonder what would have happened if Howard Dean or whoever was the DNC Chair had told President Obama he couldn't run in '08 because he was just two years removed from being a state senator in Illinois and nobody outside of Illinois had a clue who he was?

Fourth, one man's idiot is another man's Einstein. We can't have an IQ test as a condition for running a political race. If a candidate gets into this race and runs as a Democrat and other Democrats fear he or she is not smart enough or not a bona fide Democrat, then run someone else against that person. But beggars can't be choosey, and right now, in Knox County, Democrats are beggars.

Your ideal candidate, if she ran as you suggest, would lose all credibility if she tried to pimp her kids out as gay or maybe gay or otherwise to gain points in a political race.

Finally, Stacey actually won't have near as much money as Briggs will. And he has rarely out-spent his opponents since his first race, if my memory is correct. A Democrat would need $50,000 to run a credible race in the 7th and not just walk away with the same ole 42%.

By the way, I hear there are two announced candidates for Democratic Party chair: Cindy Walker (former Campfield opponent Randy's wife) and Linda Haney (apparently Gloria Johnson's hand-picked successor).

fischbobber's picture

Nothing against Briggs

But I really see this as a developmental issue for the Democratic party. If we don't start finding and developing and supporting qualified candidates, we will continue to be irrelevant at whatever level of government republicans target. That includes mentoring and forgiving rookie mistakes.

Case in point, why aren't we demanding a state investigation into harassing and threatening calls to candidates families? The governor has the power to investigate and make sure that the perpetrators are brought to justice, but the risk that it might lead to incrimination of his own party's participants and cost him a vote or two in the legislature seems to override any sense of civil justice. Contrast that to what we demand of members of our own party when running against a fellow Democrat.

We're real tough when it comes to ganging up on our own, but when it comes to standing up against the big boys, well, we're pussies. Since we're pointing out the obvious and all.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Case in point, why aren't we demanding a state investigation into harassing and threatening calls to candidates families?

Bob, I don't know what you're referring to here? Can you elaborate?

(Apologies if I'm the only person who isn't grasping this reference...)

fischbobber's picture

Case in point

I'd rather not expound in a public forum. Both Dems and Repubs have a tendency to attack personally those that step out of line. Feel free to ask around. It's no big secret.

R. Neal's picture

I'm guessing Mark Harmon

I'm guessing Mark Harmon wouldn't want to take the pay cut to be a state legislator. Nor would a lot of other good, qualified candidates. We ought to raise the pay for the job.

fischbobber's picture

Pay for 21 weeks work

Right now they're making $49,004.00 plus healthcare and retirement (this includes per diem and allowances) if they stay in session the maximum 21 weeks. That works out to $2334.00 (plus benefits) dollars a week. I'm not convinced raising that is the solution to our problems. It looks to be a pretty good part-time job.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I dunno, Bob--I'd be curious to see that breakdown as to salary versus per diem.

The salary, I'd understood, is actually less than our local commissioners and school board members earn? The per diem, I'd think, is an amount they're actually spending, not sending back home to their families?

Then too, unless they're self-employed, would a Working Joe wanting to perform this job actually need to find a new job every year, at the end of the legislative session? Alternatively, how many people otherwise qualified would be able to (repeatedly) ask an extended leave of absence of this duration of their employers?

Neither do I mean to trivialize the difficulty someone self-employed would have in essentially abandoning his/her business for months on end every year.

My impression continues to be that serving in state office is a job reserved for folks who don't actually need any job, and that precludes a lot of fine folks from applying.

fischbobber's picture



It's just math.

Many jobs have leave of absence for things like serving in the legislature and many more see value in having a direct link to Nashville. One would suspect that the self employed see the value of serving every time they talked to a banker about their business, nod, nod, wink, wink.

Per diem is 173 per day and allowance is 1000 a month. I'm unsure what they have to document for the allowance.

R. Neal's picture

A U.T. professor makes a lot

A U.T. professor makes a lot more than that, and they get better benefits.

fischbobber's picture

U.T. Professors

I'm pretty sure a U.T. Professor can take leave spring semester and serve without giving up tenure. Plus, he could double dip on retirement. It would be quite a bit of work, but financially serving in the legislature while being a professor at U.T. could pay off quite well.

I'm not positive about U.T.'s policy on employees serving in elected office.

R. Neal's picture

It looks to be a pretty good

It looks to be a pretty good part-time job.

So why don't you apply?

fischbobber's picture


I don't apply because I am by nature a truth seeker and, as such, have a propensity to piss off as many or more people than I make happy. Furthermore, the odds of me raising money by promising donors I'd do the right thing and work hard to serve my constituents is roughly zero.

Everyone wants the truth until someone speaks it and folks figure out that it's offensive. Go figure.

I have zero chance of winning.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I am by nature a truth seeker and, as such, have a propensity to piss off as many or more people than I make happy.

We seem to have this in common, you and me...

As for me, I've concluded my proper function is as "canary in the coal mine."

Which, of course, pays even less than does the state legislature and sometimes creates for me enemies I've never met.

But I remain devoted. :-)

redmondkr's picture

We ought to raise the pay for

We ought to raise the pay for the job.

Well we ought to raise the pay for one that's worth a tinker's dam, not the one we have now.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


We ought to raise the pay for the job.

This really is a huge problem.

You may be aware that Thomas Deakins won't seek another term on the BoE?

At that recent State of the Schools address, I was encouraging him to run for state office.

He says "not likely." He works full-time and will continue to, while he's raising four kids.

Our loss.

Local Citizen's picture

Term Limit

I believe Deakins is term limited on the BoE.

Bbeanster's picture

No term limits for BOE

No term limits for BOE

Local Citizen's picture

Term Limit?

I read the Knox County Charter to mean a limit on all elected county officials except Judges.

Article IX, General Provisions Sec. 9.17. - Term limits.


Effective January 1, 1995, no person shall be eligible to serve in any elected office of Knox County if during the previous two terms of that office the person in question has served more than a single term. Service prior to the passage of this measure shall not count in determining length of service. Judges are exempt from this provision.

Under Part 1, Article VI of the Knox County Charter:

Sec. 6.01. - Board of Education.


There is hereby created the Knox County Board of Education. The exclusive management and control of the school system of Knox County (hereinafter referred to as the "School System") is vested in the Knox County Board of Education (hereinafter referred to as either the "Board of Education" or the "Board"). The Board of Education members shall be elected by the people and shall take office on September 1 following their respective elections.


The Board of Education under this Charter shall consist of nine (9) members elected from nine (9) districts.

Since the Board of Education are elected officials, explain how term limits does not apply.

Bbeanster's picture

Tamara, they draw down more

Tamara, they draw down more money that you are aware of, including some kind of home office allowance.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Gotcha, Bob (and Betty). I didn't know about this "office allowance."

From Bob's link:

Legislators are paid a base salary of $19,009 along with a per diem expense of $171 per legislative day.[1] If the legislature remains in session longer than ninety legislative days, lawmakers cease to draw their expense money.

Legislators also receive an "office allowance" of $1,000 per month, ostensibly for the maintenance of an office area devoted to their legislative work in their homes or elsewhere within their district. Traditionally, it has been easier, politically speaking, to raise the per diem and office allowance than the salary.

It's not as paltry as I'd thought, but personally I don't find it at all excessive, either. I'm still thinking in terms of folks like Thomas, a family man raising four kids.

I continue to hear this complaint as to the financial feasibility of serving, though.

Possibly I'm hearing from folks who earn substantially more than this legislative package?

bizgrrl's picture

Thanks for including this

Thanks for including this information. I didn't go to the link.

It would appear to me that it's not a great amount.

I don't see how you can include any per diem expense as part of what a legislator makes. They have to use that money to live in Nashville while maintaining a residence in their home district. Some might be able to make a little by keeping expenses down, but while they are in session and as the days drag on it probably gets harder and harder to be frugal.

Can you really include the $1,000 a month for office allowance as part of what a legislator makes? I'm guessing there are many legislators that do not actually have offices, but there are still expenses related to meeting their constituents, e.g. gas, meals, time, etc.

I wouldn't count on it being that easy to take leave from a teaching position at UT, tenure or not. Just because there is (is there?) a policy on leave-taking doesn't mean that all leaves get approved.

I agree. I don't see that many self-employed people being interested in taking leave for half a year. Being self-employed requires a lot of work to keep customers. You can easily be forgotten if you are gone 3-6 months.

Bbeanster's picture

Mark has told me that he'd

Mark has told me that he'd have to give up his tenured job at UT to run for the legislature.

That ain't going to happen and I don't know why anybody'd speculate otherwise.

fischbobber's picture

I stand corrected.

In my opinion though, it's not the pay that keeps people from running for public office, it's the nature of the work.

Rachel's picture

It's a lot of things - the

It's a lot of things - the pay, the nature of the work, whether or not you can hack campaigning, whether your family can hack you campaigning, how you feel about raising $$, etc. etc.

I'd never run for public office just because of the last one. I didn't even like selling Girl Scout cookies as a child; I'd be a TERRIBLE fundraiser.

fischbobber's picture


I'm with you on this one. Fundraising separates the wheat from the chaff in politics.

knoxrebel's picture

Speculate schmeculate

Betty, I merely said Mark was a good Democrat, a smart guy, witty, articulate, and in the district. We need someone like him to run for office, any office. Public service requires sacrifice. Obviously, some people don't want to give anything up, especially a good gig like Mark has, but it's a shame that's the case, and it's ultimately one reason why the public suffers.

Bbeanster's picture

Public service requires

Public service requires sacrifice. Obviously, some people don't want to give anything up, especially a good gig like Mark has, but it's a shame that's the case, and it's ultimately one reason why the public suffers.

Good Lord!

So Mark Harmon is selfish if he doesn't give up his career and launch a race for the Tennessee General Assembly?

Why not just ask him to become a kamikaze pilot?

knoxrebel's picture

That's a pretty pathetic spin

For God's sake. It's amazing that you were able to turn what was nothing but a compliment from me to Mark into something so different and negative. That's pretty worthless. My comment wasn't directed at Mark, and it wasn't a criticism of anyone in particular, as I was criticizing the system for making it so difficult for decent people with jobs to serve without risking their livelihood. I don't blame Mark at all for not wanting to give up his state job to be a part-time legislator. Maybe when he retires . . . .

Bbeanster's picture

Public service requires

Public service requires sacrifice. Obviously, some people don't want to give anything up, especially a good gig like Mark has, but it's a shame that's the case, and it's ultimately one reason why the public suffers.

i fail to see a way to interpret this as positive toward Mark Harmon, whose name you evidently plucked out of the ether.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


If I may attempt to referee this point...

Betty, Don was the party to have first proposed Mark's name as a viable candidate, so I don't expect he meant to disparage him with this last comment he made.

Don, Betty's right that you would have been more exact in that comment to say that Mark isn't prudent to give up his current gig, so that it didn't appear you judged his decision harshly.

No offense intended to either of you with that observation...

Bbeanster's picture


September 6, 2006 Session
Direct Appeal from the Chancery Court for Knox County No. 166799-1 John F. Weaver, Chancellor
No. E2006-01377-SC-RDM-CV - Filed on January 12, 2007
In this expedited appeal, the primary issue presented for review is whether Knox County, Tennessee, has a valid governmental charter. A secondary issue is whether a term limits amendment to the county charter should be applied and, if so, to which of the elected county officials. We hold that while Knox County failed to comply with the enabling legislation for instituting a charter form of government, since September 1, 1990, Knox County has been governed under a de facto charter with a county mayor, county commissioners, and other de facto officers. For the reasons set out in this opinion, it is our conclusion that the term limits amendment meets due process guidelines and applies to all elected Knox County Government officials except for the court clerks and the school board member, each of whom is protected by either the state constitution or statute. The judgment of the Knox County Chancery Court, which invalidated both the charter and the amendment, is therefore affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Unless the opinion of Local Citizen unverified is to be given more weight than the state supreme court, term limits don't apply to the school board.

Local Citizen's picture

Why wasn't the Knox County

Why wasn't the Knox County Charter amended this past year to add court clerks and Board of Education as being exempted from the Charter and remove the word ALL from the section on term limits?

If one reads the court decision as written, then ALL local officials, including Judges, are under the term limitations except for court clerks and BoE members. We know that Judges are protected by state statue.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Betty's correct, LC.

Carson, Deakins, and Kincannon are all serving their third (or later?) terms.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Good catch and it shoulda been done.

Actually, there was lots more beyond that correction that shoulda been done (including more thorough correction to those clauses addressing residency for commission and school board members, for starters).

Lots of us here felt that the Charter Review Committee didn't do all it could have/should have...

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