Why people don’t understand politicians: According to a story on Nashvillepost.com (accessing the story requires a paid subscription), Brown-Forman, the company that owns Jack Daniel’s, would like to build a museum in downtown Nashville. In it, they want to sell little commemorative bottles of their famous product to museum patrons. Selling those, however, will require a special permit from the state legislature. This might seem like a no-brainer for the local politicians — tourism and bourbon are both big businesses around here. However, today the state senators from the Nashville area voted AGAINST the measure. The reason? Apparently, lobbysts for Brown-Forman made an outrageous faux paux in the way they went about things. Instead of seeking initial sponsorship from Nashville State Senator Thelma Harper, the lobbysts sought sponsorship first from State Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) who represents Lynchburg, home of Jack Daniels. According to Nashvillepost.com:
State Sen. Thelma Harper (D-Nashville) has vigorously opposed the bill, telling Tracy she was offended that she was not approached to serve as sponsor of a measure involving a facility in her district. When a vote was called for today, another Nashville-area State Senator, Joe Haynes (D) joined State Sen. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), State Sen. Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville) and Harper in voting against the bill, preventing it from moving forward. After the vote, Harper told reporters that those who had brought the bill to Tracy had no respect for her position. She said that she would have likely been more supportive if they had followed protocol and spoken with her first, since the museum would be in her senate district. Tracy said he went to Harper as soon as he had the legislation drawn up.
For the record, let me note that I really like Thelma Harper and have a tremendous respect for her and her position. While I’m at it, I guess I should also disclose that Jack Daniels is a friend of mine.
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