Some disclosure might be helpful here. The Tennessee Forum supported Jimmy Eldridge when he first ran for the State House because we thought he would make a good legislator. We were wrong.
Republicans on Capitol Hill generally fall into two categories: conservative or moderate. Jimmy is different. He can be conservative, moderate or liberal depending on who he is talking to. Jimmy’s shallowness has not escaped detection by his colleagues. Consider the following comments:
“Jimmy’s highest political ambitions are being seen by his constituents and garnering free lobbyist-supplied liquor. It is unfortunate, but he epitomizes nearly every character flaw that people hate about perpetual and nearly parasitic politicians.” —Senior Republican House member
“Jimmy is untrustworthy. How he says he is going to vote and how he actually votes are quite often two different things.” —Executive of a leading pro-business organization
Jimmy’s actions on two important reform bills illustrate what many have come to accept as standard Eldridge behavior.
In 2011, HB130 sought to completely restructure the relationship between teachers and employers. The bill had passed in House Education Committee but ran into opposition from government unions in House Budget. Supporting the union position, Jimmy made the motion to send the legislation back to the then closed House Education Committee effectively killing the bill.16 When Jimmy’s move created a significant backlash, he made the incredulous claim that he misunderstood his own motion and had meant to support the bill. Of course, the video tells a different story. The Speaker took the unusual action of reopening the House Education Committee.17 The bill passed and is now law. Jimmy voted for it the second time.18
In the last week of the 2016 session, the House considered an amendment to a bill that would have phased out the Hall Income Tax. Jimmy voted against the amend-ment which was expected to fail.19 He guessed wrong. The amendment passed in a close vote. Seeing that the amended bill was almost certain to pass, Jimmy voted for it.20
After 100+ years of one party rule, many important pieces of reform legislation are under consideration by thoughtful, well intentioned House Members. The Forum believes Jimmy Eldridge is not one of them and deserves to be classified as the legislature’s WORST chairman.
View the entire report below…