Keeping our eyes on the Volunteer State.

J. Holly McCall | Editor-in-Chief

Morning, readers.

This is one of those days in which so much is popping, there's no time to waste with small talk. Let's get at it. 

Just yesterday, we were reflecting on how this year's election cycle has been lacking some of the rancor and snark Tennessee voters have come to expect and lo! The ante was upped. 

First, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee took to Twitter to trash a decision by Nashville Metro Council to allocate $500,000 in funds to Planned Parenthood for sex education and birth control. Call us naive, but these seem like important topics on which to focus if one wants to prevent unplanned pregnancies in a state whose legislature has made abortions illegal. 

"As cities across the country face surging crime, politicians in Nashville have chosen to defund local police to fuel an extreme political agenda. This is an affront to Tennessee families & taxpayers," Lee tweeted.

A few hours later, T.J. Ducklo, salty press secretary to Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Biden communications shop alumnus, administered a bit of subtle shade in a tweet of his own. Ducklo pointed out Cooper has increased Metro's cop shop budget by 20%, added 98 new positions and increased pay.

Lee recently released his first campaign ad, a folksy piece about how "it feels like the world has gone a little crazy," but thank God everything is great in Tennessee!

Not so fast, cowboy. Dr. Jason Martin, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, released an ad of his own — with edits to Lee's ad. That's also available on Twitter, if you are so inclined.

And finally, our man on the Hill Sam Stockard fired off a question to Lee during a Tuesday media availability, asking if the gov'ner plans to debate Martin. You can get the reply in Stock's story, here.

Friends, we are out of here and off to cover First Lady Jill Biden's Nashville visit. Stand by for coverage of that, and whatever else crops up today.


John Cole's Tennessee: The real drag show. 

In South Memphis, residents cope with toxic chemical pollution as EPA investigates

Dulce Torres Guzman digs into the circumstances behind an Environmental Protection Agency investigation of Tennessee Sterilization Services, a South Memphis company releasing toxic pollutants into a neighborhood long plagued by environmental issues. Read more here.

Leona Golster sits on her South Memphis porch but is sometimes forced to go inside to escape the smell of burning chemicals from the nearby Sterilization Services of Tennessee. (Photo by Dulce Torres Guzman)




Kelsey co-defendant Smith to plead guilty in federal campaign finance case

Josh Smith, Nashville club owner and co-defendant in a federal campaign finance case against state Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, is set to plead guilty to one charge of funneling “soft money” to the senator’s congressional campaign six years ago, court documents show, reports Senior Reporter Sam StockardRead more.

Indicted State Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Indicted State Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown. (Photo: John Partipilo)


In Case You Missed It

  • Senior Reporter Anita Wadhwani writes that the operators of the Middle Point Landfill blame toxic pollutants found in runoff from the landfill on Rutherford County. Read more.
  • In a response to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of eight of the 22 victims who died in 2021 flash flooding in Waverly, Tenn., attorneys for CSX Transportation deny responsibility, reports contributor Jamie Satterfield. Read more here.
  • The Tennessee Valley Authority is being blamed in the electrocution death of a contract laborer at its Bull Run Fossil Plant in Anderson County after TVA's Inspector General had been warned of worker safety concerns at the plant, reports Satterfield. Get details.
  • More than 700 Tennessee doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are calling on the state's GOP-super majority Legislature to revisit an abortion ban, reports Wadhwani. Read more.
  • On Friday, Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced it is temporarily halting gender affirming surgeries on patients under the age of 18 while it reviews new national recommendations on the treatment of transgender patients, reports Wadhwani. Get details. 

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