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Tennessee Press Association hosts forum for 2018 gubernatorial candidates

Posted on Friday, October 20, 2017 at 8:31 am

Forum kicks off election year coverage focused on voter education and increased election turnout in all 95 counties

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Oct 19, 2017) –  The Tennessee Press Association will host a forum with the announced candidates for Governor of Tennessee at the Nashville Public Library on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. The forum will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

The forum is part of the TPA’s annual Winter Convention held Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2018.

The gubernatorial forum kicks off an intense cycle of election coverage by the 125 members of the state newspaper association, who are committed to helping educate readers about the candidates, races and issues, said Chris Vass, public editor of the Times Free Press in Chattanooga and vice president of the press association.

“Election years are always important ones for our newspapers, as readers want and need in-depth coverage of the many races and candidates they will see on their ballots,” Vass said. “The 2018 elections will be particularly important with Gov. Bill Haslam not eligible for re-election, the retirement of Sen. Bob Corker, and the enhanced importance of mid-term Congressional elections.”

The College of Communication & Information at The University of Tennessee will live stream the forum through the TPA member newspaper websites so that readers throughout the state will be able to meet the candidates as their campaigns gear up for the primary elections on August 2, 2018.

The TPA has received commitments from Democrats Karl Dean, former Mayor of Nashville, and Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D- Ripley, Tennessee House Minority Leader.

The TPA has received commitments from Republicans Mae Beavers, former state senator, Randy Boyd, former Commissioner of Economic and Community Development under Haslam, Rep. Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, Speaker of the House, and businessman Bill Lee. Republican candidates Rep. Diane Black, and Kay White had not confirmed as of October 18.

The TPA has welcomed co-sponsors to the event who are non-partisan and committed to voter education and participation. Initial co-sponsors are Nashville Public Library, The Beacon Center of Tennessee, The League of Women Voters of Tennessee and ThinkTennessee.

The Tennessee Press Association is the trade association of Tennessee’s daily and non-daily newspapers and is the parent organization of the Tennessee Press Service and the Tennessee Press Association Foundation. It was founded in 1870 for the purpose of creating a unified voice for the newspaper industry of Tennessee, we represent 125 newspapers that cover all 95 counties in Tennessee.

Nashville Public Library “The Nashville Public Library (NPL) – like other community libraries – is a local cornerstone of the traditions and processes of our democracy. This role is deep-rooted in NPL’s mission of ‘Inspiring Reading, Advance Learning and to Connect our Community” and has helped NPL earn Library Journal’s 2017 Library of the Year. NPL embraces its role as a neutral space that fosters open discussion, which helps our community members make better-informed decisions in shaping our government and electing leaders.” Kent Oliver, Director Nashville Public Library

The Beacon Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing expert empirical research and timely free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. We believe this forum is important because it will give the taxpayers of Tennessee a chance to see where the candidates stand on issues that will have a major impact on their pocketbooks and their lives.

The League of Women Voters of Tennessee is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. The League never supports or opposes any political party or candidate though it encourages voters to become informed about candidates for office.  The League is pleased to co-sponsor the Tennessee Press Association’s gubernatorial forum.  This forum, focusing on the issues facing Tennessee, will provide important information for voters as they consider how to vote in the upcoming primary and general elections.  The League encourages all Tennesseans to make sure they are registered to vote.  Voter registration can now be done online at https://ovr.govote.tn.gov/ .

ThinkTennessee promotes public policy that creates opportunity for Tennesseans. As a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and advocacy organization, it empowers leaders from across the state and both sides of the aisle to take action on pragmatic ideas that move our state forward. ThinkTennessee is proud to co-sponsor this important event honoring Tennessee’s great tradition of civic engagement.