Mike Knotts, director of government affairs
Last Tuesday, Tennessee reelected all nine of its Congressmen to another term and history was made in the state legislature. On the national stage, EPA regulations will come to the forefront of national political discussion following the Presidential election.
In a tight race, the country reelected President Barack Obama (D) to a second term over the challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R). The Congress will remain split. Democrats maintain majority control in the Senate holding 53 seats to the 47 seats held by Republicans. The House will remain under the control of Republicans who hold 240 seats whiledemocrats claim 190.
Tennessee will see no change in its Congressional delegation. The much talked about fourth district race went to the incumbent, Scott DesJarlais (R), with 56% of the vote over former Democratic State Senator, Eric Stewart. Senator Bob Corker (R) defended his seat comfortably as he earned 65% of the vote.
As our Congressional delegation returns to Washington, they face a fast-approaching fiscal cliff, which (if ignored) will result in the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the much talked about automatic spending cuts. Beyond the fiscal cliff, our delegation will see a much more active EPA than it saw in President Obama’s first term.
Reuters (11/7) reports that analysts expect President Obama’s second term will bring tougher regulations for the energy industry. A separate Reuters (11/7, Gardner) article also suggests Obama’s stance on oil and gas regulation is likely to get tougher during his second term.
During Tuesday night’s victory speech, Obama spoke of the need to ensure children live in a country that, “isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet”. These anticipated changes in energy policy means the work of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association will be more important than ever.
At the state level, history was made Tuesday night. For the first time, Republicans will have a supermajority in the State House and State Senate. The only incumbent to lose in the general election was Jim Gotto (R—Hermitage) who lost his seat to Democrat Darren Jernigan. This district is not served by any TECA member electric power systems.
New members winning contested races include: Timothy Hill (R—Blountville), Micah Van Huss(R—Sulphur Springs), Gloria Johnson (D—Knoxville), Andrew Farmer (R—Sevierville), Kent Calfee (R—Oak Ridge), Dawn White (R—Murfreesboro), William Lamberth (R—Gallatin), Courtney Rogers (R—Goodlettsville), Bo Mitchell (D—Nashville), Jason Powell (D—Nashville), Darren Jernigan (D—Hermitage), Barry Doss (R—Lawrenceburg), Mary Littleton (R—Dickson), Debra Moody (R—Covington), and Billy Spivey (R—Lewisburg).
New Senate members include: Frank Nicely (R—District 8), Todd Gardenhire (R—District 10), Janice Bowling (R—District 16), Ferrell Haile (R—District 18), Steve Dickerson (R—District 20), Mark Green (R—District 22), John Stevens (R—District 24) and Joey Hensley (R—District 28).
TECA worked over the past year to become acquainted with the newest members of the General Assembly prior to election day. These relationships will be helpful in long-term policy work, as will the continued friendships TECA has with manylegislative leaders. TECA will continue to monitor and influence legislative matters effecting electric cooperatives.