Government and Politics in Tennessee
Most Americans are more aware of the workings of the federal government than of their own state government. But these "laboratories of democracy" constitute perhaps the most creative and successful component of the American political experiment. Like each of the states, Tennessee state government has a distinct history and a political culture that reflects that history.
This book places Tennessee's modern political institutions in the context of the history and personalities that formed them. They pay special attention to the period after 1978, when three governors left a lasting impression on the direction and culture of the state government. Separate chapters examine the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, explaining how and why Tennessee's political culture differs from other states. The book also explores the ways in which education, health care, corrections, and economic development define much of the government agenda. Additional chapters on the media, political campaigns, and local government provide a backdrop that elucidates more fully how the state government functions.
The authors profile many of the personalities who have shaped the state's political agenda. Among these are longtime Senate Democratic Speaker John Wilder; his close ally, Senate Republican Leader Ben Atchley; House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, son of a Lebanese immigrant; and Bill Snodgrass, who served as State Comptroller for forty-seven years. The book explains how each of these individuals related to three Tennessee governors, Republicans Lamar Alexander and Don Sundquist and Democrat Ned McWherter, whose administrations presided over the state's greatest period of growth and prosperity.
Illustrated with photographs and tables, and featuring anecdotal sidebars that illuminate key issues, this book will become the standard text on Tennessee state government and politics for years to come.
The Authors: William Lyons is a professor of political science at the University of Tennessee and coauthor of such books as American Government: Politics and Political Culture.
John M. Scheb II is a professor of political science and director of the Social Science Research Institute at the University of Tennessee and coauthor of American Constitutional Law, among other books. In partnership with Dr. Lyons, he provides campaign consulting for political candidates and applied survey research for businesses and organizations.
Billy Stair is director of communication and community outreach at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He served for eighteen years in the legislative and executive branches of state government, including eight years as senior policy advisor to the Governor.
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