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Grand Divisions: A Politics Podcast
20 minutes | Jun 18, 2020
Black lawmakers plead for Forrest bust removal; Senate passes budget ahead of House
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 racism.The episode also includes a brief overview of the Senate's budget, which the House has returned this week to finally put to a vote.
15 minutes | Jun 9, 2020
Tennessee eyes RNC and the governor releases a new budget proposal
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 while creating a new state employee buyout program.
20 minutes | Jun 2, 2020
Protests erupt throughout Tennessee ahead of lawmakers' official return
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.
37 minutes | May 26, 2020
Lawmakers return and examining a congressman's stock trades
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 while considering a host of different bills.
15 minutes | Mar 31, 2020
Coronavirus in Tennessee: An update in uncertain times
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 bring you the updates when we can. Thank you for your understanding.
22 minutes | Mar 10, 2020
Recovery continues after deadly tornadoes and coronavirus comes to Tennessee
On this episode, Anita Wadhwani discusses being out in Putnam County in the days after Middle Tennessee was decimated by tornadoes, and healthcare reporter Brett Kelman provides an update on coronavirus in Tennessee.
29 minutes | Mar 3, 2020
How race played a role in Tennessee's women's suffrage moment
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 on this week to talk about that aspect of the suffrage centennial.
37 minutes | Feb 25, 2020
Talking with candidates and surrogates while looking ahead to Super Tuesday
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.
21 minutes | Feb 18, 2020
A fiery committee meeting over ESAs and a rash of lawsuits over new laws
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 discuss a story about how the governor and the General Assembly are now facing seven lawsuits over six laws enacted after the 2019 legislative session.
37 minutes | Feb 11, 2020
Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn on teacher raises, taxing of ESAs
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 and how the state plans to keep them from having to spend hours upon hours of extra time each week scouring Pinterest for lesson plans.
19 minutes | Feb 4, 2020
Analyzing Gov. Bill Lee's second State of the State and proposed $40 billion budget
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.
29 minutes | Jan 28, 2020
Another Go at Voter Rights Restoration with Tori Venable
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 in Tennessee politics and policy, including Gov. Bill Lee's announcement in which he said he will spearhead abortion-related legislation.
34 minutes | Jan 21, 2020
Sen. Jeff Yarbro outlines Democrats' priorities and offers new critiques of Gov. Bill Lee
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 released audit of the Department of Correction by the state comptroller.
32 minutes | Jan 14, 2020
Discussing refugee resettlement, vouchers, House rules with Speaker Cameron Sexton
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.
25 minutes | Jan 7, 2020
The top Tennessee politics stories of 2019 and at how they might continue this year
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 the year.
24 minutes | Dec 31, 2019
Year in Review Part II: A conversation with Erik Schelzig and Stephen Elliott
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 in 2020, including during the upcoming legislative session.This episode was recorded in early December.
45 minutes | Dec 31, 2019
Year in Review Part I: A conversation with Tennessean reporters
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 state government. This episode was recorded in early December, so keep that in mind for any time references.
31 minutes | Dec 24, 2019
Former Gov. Bill Haslam puts on his reporter hat
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 personal biases. During an at-times challenging interview, Haslam also stresses the importance of local news coverage to maintain an informed electorate.
29 minutes | Dec 17, 2019
Rep. Ron Gant looks to replace Cordell Hull with Winfield Dunn
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.
25 minutes | Dec 10, 2019
An exit interview with Gov. Bill Lee's communications director
On this week's episode, Gov. Bill Lee's communications director and senior adviser Chris Walker — who has worked with Lee since he launched his gubernatorial campaign in 2017 — shares insights on the governor's first year in office.
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