Live from Music Row, Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Aaron Gulbransen in studio to discuss House Majority Leader William Lambert’s HB 48 which is on the docket for the Finance Ways and Means Committee today limiting metropolitan and municipal government members.
Leahy: We welcome to our microphones the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report, formerly our lead political reporter at The Tennessee Star. I say this all the time, it’s fun to say. Stolen from us by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Tennessee State director for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Mr. Aaron Gulbransen, welcome.
Gulbransen: Good morning, Michael. Yet somehow we spend about as much time together in person. We spend far less time on the phone, but at the same time in person.
Leahy: Or texts.
Gulbransen: There are always interesting things going on.
Leahy: See, we have the curse of being political nerds, right?
Leahy: So it’s all interesting.
Gulbransen: To say a very nice thing, it’s also very nice to wind up spending a period of time working at a gig and becoming friends with your co-worker and former boss.
Leahy: It’s fun.
Gulbransen: It doesn’t always happen in the world. It is fun.
Leahy: We have fun. And I think people who listen to us will note the glee that we have in pointing out, shall we say, the foibles of politicians and the foibles, particularly of the political left. That’s always fun.
Gulbransen: This is true. And of course, as you noted when I walked in the studio, I’m actually not dressed for radio today, I’m actually dressed for professional meetings. So I will be going up to the Cordell Hull building today, as I do most days.
Leahy: The offices of the state legislature.
Leahy: And it’s interesting because I think there’s a different feel to the Cordell Hull building than there is to the State Capitol chambers. The State Capitol chambers are reverential in the sense that you feel a sense of history there.
Leahy: And the chamber, particularly the House chamber, has the feel of political haymakers being thrown and democracy in action. The state senate is a little more somnambulant, shall we say it’s a chamber that’s got history to it, but you don’t see the raucousness that you see in the state House itself.
Gulbransen: This is a little bit of maybe fun inside baseball here, but as our audience knows, in the Cordell Hall building you have, and this is all public information you have the Senate offices on the 7th floor. You have House offices on the fourth, fifth, and 6th floors.
You can tell who’s essentially in the doghouse without being told by both the size of their office and the floor that it’s on. So if you are on the fourth floor, you are either an extremely disfavored democrat or for the very few, one or two republicans or possibly three that are on the fourth floor. You wonder to yourself when you’re working in that building, what those gentlemen and ladies did to wind up with that assignment.
Leahy: Why do they have a closet-size office? (Chuckles)
Gulbransen: You got a couple of the new socialist state reps that are on the fourth floor. And then, as I call her crazy Marxist- leftist Gloria Johnson from Knoxville. That’s the first office you see when you go to the left.
Because also, mind you, the fourth floor does not have all the General Assembly offices on it. It’s only like half of it is General Assembly offices. And then they have to share with another agency.
Leahy: So the other thing about it is its sort of the feeling of being in the state capitol. It’s a pretty State Capitol, and it is historic. And the chambers themselves are impressive.
Gulbransen: I’ve been privileged, so this is the one I’ve probably spent the second most amount of time, although as the years go by, will be the most Tennessee State Capitol in terms of me working and spending time at. But of course, when I was in Virginia, I spent a lot of time at the oldest state capitol in the country.
A very large building, a very majestic building. If you ever go to Richmond, Virginia, that’s worth a visit. Of course, you’re talking about the same chambers that were inhabited by Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.
Leahy: That’s a sense of history.
Gulbransen: That’s fun. All of these state capitols have history, but Tennessee and Virginia are very, very cool.
Leahy: The other part about it is that the Cordell Hull building has these very high ceilings for the hallways. And then it’s got these kinds of I would call them cold, kind of what is it? I don’t know. Linoleum? What’s the flooring? It’s not carpeting.
Gulbransen: This reminds me of Shawshank Redemption, where Morgan Freeman’s character says in the line of how often do you look in a man’s shoes? And that was the key to they would have blown up Andy Dufresne’s entire escape plan if they looked at his shoes. I’ve never really considered the floor, to be honest with you.
Leahy: But it’s got a different feel. When you walk around it, it’s kind of a very big kind of cold type place until you get into now they have the hearing rooms there and then the offices.
Gulbransen: Today is the last day of the month. And for those of you Metro Nashville, Davidson County people who are paying attention to this, House Majority Leader William Lambert’s HB 48 is on the docket for the Finance Ways and Means Committee for today.
Leahy: Give us a clue. What’s that bill?
Gulbransen: That is the bill that will cap at 20 the number of members that may be elected to a governing body of a metropolitan or municipal government, which means shrinking Metro Council. Essentially what it’ll do here is shrink Metro Council from 40 to 20.
Leahy: And what’s the status of that bill?
Gulbransen: I believe it’s going to pass. You’ve heard the Speaker talking about it, of that House, Cameron Sexton. Everybody’s talking about it. That it’s going to pass.
Leahy: In the House, in the Senate. Will the governor sign it?
Gulbransen: I’m sure he will. The governor is working very well with the General Assembly this year on a number of issues, this being one of them.
Leahy: And let me just stop for a moment and say the following: I think that’s a tribute to the leadership of Cam Sexton as the speaker and Lieutenant Governor McNally and both Jack Johnson in the Senate, majority leader, and William Lambert and the governor himself. It is best, I think, when the leadership of the state legislature and the governor work in concert.
Gulbransen: It is very effective. And, of course, I here at the Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition am a huge fan of HB 48 because it does a number of things. It’s one of those bills that also, coincidentally, saves the taxpayers money. Not a gigantic amount of money in the grand scheme of things, but $500,000 a year.
Leahy: Fewer payments to Metro Council members.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “Tennessee House of Representatives” by Tennessee General Assembly. Background Photo “Tennessee Senate” by Tennessee General Assembly.