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Welcome to the debut epsoide of Bukhead takes on politics! In this sample show, Shawn talks about the Colonail Pipe Line and gas shortage that the eastern Untied States is dealing with. He also talks about the Repubilicans removing Rep Liz Cheney (Wy) from her Reupician Conference Chair. You can follow the show on twitter at Burkhead Takes on Polit…
 
Sorry for the delay on this week's episode. With furloughs this week and next, the next episode may be out later than usual. This week on the podcast, we talk about how national questions and conversations about racism have undoubtedly erupted at the Tennessee legislature, and how black legislators say they're feeling about a lack of progress on ra…
 
Last week, state Republican lawmakers and party officials quickly seized on reports of Nashville being under consideration to host the upcoming Republican National Convention. Also last week, Gov. Bill Lee's administration presented lawmakers with their latest budget recommendation, which seeks to eliminate pay raises proposed earlier this year whi…
 
Joel and Natalie discuss the unrest that has ensnared America this week after police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis. Violence erupted in Nashville Saturday after a peaceful rally, leading to businesses being damaged and a small fire being set at city hall. They also discuss the return of Tennessee lawmakers.…
 
On this episode, you'll hear from Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, and Rep. Ron Gant, Rossville. In separate interviews, both lawmakers give a preview of the work the legislature will face in the days ahead as Tennessee lawmakers come back in Nashville this week for the first time since March. They'll face decisions on how to make cuts to the state budget…
 
Joel and Natalie provide an update to the ever-changing coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping through the country. Due to social distancing protocol at the Tennessean's office, as well as furloughs announced by Gannett, new episodes of the podcast will be sporadic. We will not be able to commit to a once-a-week format as is usual, but we promise to…
 
This week, Tennessean reporter Jessica Bliss joins the podcast to help interview two guests on the racial dynamics going on in the Tennessee suffrage movement. Carole Bucy, Davidson County historian with the Metro Nashville Historical Commission, and Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, a distinguished professor of humanities at Vanderbilt University, both come…
 
It's time to preview Super Tuesday! On this episode, you'll hear from former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, businessman Tom Steyer, and actress Ashley Judd, who is supporting U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren. You'll also hear from volunteers and staffers with the campaigns of Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.…
 
This week, we sit down with The Tennessean's education reporter Jason Gonzales as he provides context about the House hearing where members of a committee scrutinized a contract related to Gov. Bill Lee's controversial education savings account program. Later we talk with Adam Tamburin, who recently joined The Tennessean's investigative team, to di…
 
On this episode, we talk to Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. Schwinn spoke at length about the department's plans for the Achievement School District, which has not seen the improvement the state had intended for struggling schools that were brought into it. Schwinn also discusses the need for more training for teachers…
 
Gov. Bill Lee delivered his second State of the State address Monday, calling for a record-setting investment for teacher pay raises, setting aside money for the state's reserves and creating a new $250 million trust fund for K-12 mental health. On this episode, we break down the governor's speech and analyze his proposed $40.8 billion budget.…
 
In recent years, some liberals and conservatives have found some common ground while working on criminal justice reform in Tennessee. This week on the podcast, Tori Venable, the state director of Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee, breaks down the ongoing efforts for criminal justice reform. Of course, we also highlight and analyze the latest news …
 
This week, Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, talks about his party's priorities for the year. Yarbro also lays blame for inaction by the governor on a multitude of issues facing the state, ranging from problems with the state's corrections system and turnover at the education department. Later on the episode, Adam Tamburin breaks down a recently relea…
 
On this episode, you'll hear from House Speaker Cameron Sexton, who will be presiding over his first full session. Sexton fields a host of questions on topics including refugee resettlement, school vouchers and health care. Sexton also explains his recent decision to change the House's sexual harassment training once again.…
 
With the Tennessee General Assembly set to convene next week, this week's episode examines the biggest political stories of 2019 and how they might continue to play out this year. As we did when former Gov. Bill Haslam recently appeared on Grand Divisions, The Tennessean's politics editor Duane Gang turns the tables on your podcast hosts to recap t…
 
On this episode, we talk with Erik Schelzig of the Tennessee Journal and Stephen Elliott of the Nashville Scene/Post while discussing the inner workings of the Lee administration. We reflect on the highlights and lowlights of the year while analyzing the administration's interactions with the media. We also look ahead at issues that might come up i…
 
We take a look back at the most important stories of the years by talking to the reporters that covered them. You'll hear from education reporter Jason Gonzales, religion reporter Holly Meyer, health care reporter Brett Kelman, justice reporter Adam Tamburin and data reporter Mike Reicher about stories and issues they covered this year related to s…
 
A longtime Grand Divisions listener and fan of fireside-type chats, former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam offered to guest host an episode while turning the tables on us. Instead of fielding questions, Haslam asks Natalie and I about our personal history and the current state of the media landscape. He presses us how we do our jobs and set aside our pe…
 
On this episode, Rep. Ron Gant explains his motivation for renaming the state lawmakers' office building after former Gov. Winfield Dunn. He also discusses other legislation he anticipates seeing during the upcoming legislative session and reflects on the passage of Gov. Bill Lee's controversial school vouchers bill earlier this year.…
 
For the last 20 years, Tennessee's state Senate has seen many changes, including new members replacing old ones and a major shift in political power. But while much has changed, one aspect that hasn't is the chamber's chief clerk. A once aspiring attorney and the son of a political reporter, Russell Humphrey has served as the Chief Clerk of the Sen…
 
This week on the podcast, we sit down with the Nashville Democrat to discuss the origins of the federal REAL ID legislation and what state officials are doing to address the increased demand at driver's license facilities. Also on this episode, we break down the latest developments regarding a decision from Gov. Bill Lee's administration to begin s…
 
On this week's episode, we talk about the state of Metro's finances with deputy comptroller Jason Mumpower and The Tennessean's Metro reporter Yihyun Jeong. They discuss the ins-and-out of this ongoing issue that must be addressed before the early part of 2020 or face the comptroller's office taking over. They also delve into calls for making chang…
 
On this week's episode, we analyze news that state Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, is the subject of a federal investigation dating back to his failed 2016 congressional bid. We also sit down with Tennessean investigative reporters Anita Wadhwani and Mike Reicher about what findings that analysis has yielded as a three-member reporting team contin…
 
This week on Grand Divisions, we sit down with Harwell to discuss a variety of topics, ranging from her thoughts about her successor's downfall - former House Speaker Glen Casada - and Tennessee's continued struggles with healthcare after the 2015 defeat of a controversial Medicaid expansion plan.Av USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee
 
In Part II of our look at Operation Rocky Top, we explore the depths of the investigation and who was implicated by it, including two officials who ultimately took a different path than face further scrutiny. We also look at changes that were implemented in the aftermath of the corruption scandal and parallels between the political landscape then a…
 
During the 1980s, an illegal charitable bingo scheme took hold in Tennessee that implicated powerful politicians, lobbyists and others. Over a multi-year period, a lawmaker wore a wire and an undercover agent infiltrated the Capitol, while newspaper reporters exposed the massive operation. For this special two-part episode of Grand Divisions, we ta…
 
During a 10-minute interview, Pompeo fielded questions ranging from the Trump administration's recent decision to pull American troops out of northern Syria and his message to Nashville's Kurdish community to his office's cooperation with the ongoing impeachment inquiry and religious freedom. In this episode, you'll hear the entire interview with P…
 
On this week's episode, hear more from Finance and Administration Commissioner Stuart McWhorter about the task force, as well as a conversation between the hosts on last week's Medicaid block grant public hearings. As reported by USA TODAY Network in each city where sessions were held, the three-day listening tour brought zero positive comments abo…
 
On this episode, we chat with former House speaker Jimmy Naifeh, Matt Kisber, who served in the legislature for 20 years before joining former Gov. Phil Bredesen's administration, and Billy Stair, who served as senior policy adviser to former Gov. Ned Ray McWhorter. Naifeh, Kisber and Stair share their thoughts on modern day politics and reminisce …
 
Earlier this month, Gov. Bill Lee's administration denied access to documents recommendations made by 22 state agencies on how to improve service in Tennessee's rural areas. The administration denied The Tennessean's request, citing "deliberative process." This week, we take a look back at the legal origin of deliberative process in the Volunteer S…
 
On this week's episode, we sit down with Brett Kelman, The Tennessean's health care reporter, for a discussion about health care in the Volunteer State. We also break down former Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty's entrance into the Republican primary for Tennessee's open U.S. Senate race. And finally, we discuss the results of Nashville's mayoral r…
 
On this episode, we sit down with Rep. Jeremy Faison to discuss how he ended up running for caucus chairman and whether there can truly be unity within the GOP caucus while encouraging members to be themselves. Faison also shares his thoughts on transparency while defending closed caucus meetings and his future involvement in the medical marijuana …
 
On this week's episode we analyze the special session and the decision by the 73-member GOP caucus to close its latest meetings. House Speaker Cameron Sexton was formally elected and sworn in as the chamber's top post, Rep. David Byrd survived an expulsion effort and the lower chamber's Republican caucus held three closed-door meetings in two days …
 
The Tennessee legislature will convene this week for its 60th extraordinary session. On this episode, we sit down with legislative librarian Eddie Weeks to look back at Tennessee's rich history of special legislative sessions. Weeks gives an overview of the more intriguing and notable extraordinary sessions, including the time there was a murder in…
 
Week after week this legislative session, Kristina Richardson made the six-hour round trip trek from her home in Hardin County to the Tennessee state Capitol. She joined a small handful of other women that has launched a grassroots effort over the last year to oust Rep. David Byrd from the House of Representatives. Richardson talks with us about th…
 
Glen Casada is no longer speaker of the House of Representatives. He formally resigned last week, marking the end of a tumultuous seven-month period. On this episode, we discuss what's next for the House as it looks to move forward from Casada's time as its leader and recap the news of the week. We also talk with The Tennessean's Adam Tamburin abou…
 
On this episode, we talk with Sexton, who has served in the legislature since 2011, about a wide range of issues, including potential staff and committee changes and the future of school vouchers once he becomes speaker. Later, we sit down with Williamson County reporter Elaina Sauber, who recently published a deep dive story on former state Senato…
 
House Republicans selected Rep. Cameron Sexton to be their nominee for speaker during a Wednesday morning caucus meeting. On this episode, we break down the caucus vote and what it means for the House going forward. You'll also hear directly from Sexton on a handful of issues as he spoke to reporters immediately after being named the GOP nominee. W…
 
On this episode, we break down all the latest developments with the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee, including President Donald Trump's early endorsement of Hagerty and Haslam's decision to not run. In addition, we examine the reactions to Gov. Bill Lee's decision to sign a proclamation honoring former Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leade…
 
On this episode, we revisit Baker v. Carr, the landmark 1962 case that led to a "reapportionment revolution" while ensuring minorities had equal representation in state legislatures across the country. Later, we chat with Shanna Hughey, president of ThinkTennessee, a Nashville-based nonpartisan think tank about gerrymandering. And as usual, we disc…
 
After weeks of speculation and consideration, Gov. Bill Lee issued a call last week for the legislature to hold a special session in August. We break down the latest developments regarding the upcoming special session. Also this week, to coincide with the start of the new fiscal year, we sit down Senate finance committee chairman Bo Watson, R-Hixso…
 
Tennessee Republicans are set to gather in Nashville this weekend for the party's largest annual fundraiser. Although this year's Statesmen's Dinner comes in a non-election year, there will be plenty of political intrigue given the scandal plaguing House Speaker Glen Casada and the looming U.S. Senate race in 2020. On this episode, we chat with Mic…
 
On this episode, we discuss the latest developments of the ongoing ordeal surrounding the House speaker, Glen Casada. Beyond Casada, Tennessee's U.S. Senate race for the seat long-held by Lamar Alexander began a new chapter this week, after Nashville orthopedic trauma surgeon Manny Sethi told The Tennessean he was launching a bid for the GOP nomina…
 
For the second week in a row, House Speaker Glen Casada continued to face the fallout of a scandal involving his former chief of staff. On this episode, we break down the latest developments, including a recent call for the FBI to investigate the legislature, following a separate Tennessean story. Later on, we sit down with Tennessean justice repor…
 
The first week after the 111th Tennessee General Assembly adjourned for the year began with a stunning development: the resignation of House Speaker Glen Casada's chief of staff, Cade Cothren, a departure that came amid a drug and sex scandal. This week on the podcast, we talk about how the day unfolded Monday — which made a bizarre and chaotic las…
 
Two dramatically different versions of Gov. Bill Lee's controversial school vouchers legislation were approved in the House and Senate last week, as lawmakers continue to work to wrap up the state budget and the legislative session. On this episode, we chat about the ongoing budget talks and the ESA bill. We also hear from Amelia Ferrell Knisely, T…
 
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