Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Add Rural Republican to Carter County Republican

House Speaker Kent Williams is going to be admitted to the Rural Republican Caucus, according to the Kingsport paper.

State Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville, stood on the House floor on Thursday to announce he is forming a rural Republican Caucus with lawmakers who live in counties with a population of less than 175,000.

Williams would be eligible to join that caucus, and he wants to attend those meetings.

“He said I would be welcome to join that caucus,” Williams said of his conversation with McCord.

Two months later, Williams' election is still causing people to show their hands in this extended poker game. Democrats and Republicans are reevaluating their alliances both internally and between the two parties. The episode is revealing many clusters of leadership in the House. Some have painted this development as a bad thing, but I think it's too early to tell. If anything, we might be seeing more cooperation among the grand divisions of the state. And that appears to be increasing the backing for mega sites for business in each of the three areas. At least, that's what I've heard as I've listened to the speeches on the House floor. And yet, it's not turning into a rural vs. urban bloodbath either. Speaker Williams' trip to Memphis was a strong signal that there is openness to bridging the divide.

The Speaker may just get what he has wanted--independence:

"I think a lot of our members are beginning to see they don’t need to be told how to vote on issues. We’ve got Republicans with independent minds."

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