Saturday, September 30, 2006


Matthew Hill: The Inaccessible Rep

The following two stories from the Johnson City Press demonstrate that Matthew Hill's “accessible” tag is a lie. He also demonstrates his allegiance to lobbyist groups like the Malt Beverage Association instead of his constituents. The Johnson City Commission had to turn to Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen when Hill failed them:
(June 16)The Johnson City Commission will now directly seek the help of Gov. Phil Bredesen when it comes to concerns over a beer bill that is on the verge of becoming law.

In May, the panel instructed City Manager Pete Peterson to ask local legislators to attend Thursday night’s commission meeting in order to discuss legislation recently passed by both the state Senate and House of Representatives that could take away the power of local governments to enforce their own beer ordinances.

Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, did not respond to messages left by city staff.

Rather than sit back and wait for the Legislature to make changes, some commissioners voiced a desire to ask Bredesen to act on their behalf.

“I think we need to be proactive in this and encourage him not to sign it,” Commissioner Ricky Mohon said. “We want him to veto it. Our local legislators ignored our request.”

Peterson said the bill was introduced and “heavily supported” by the Malt Beverage Association and retail beer vendors. While it includes provisions that require specific and ongoing alcohol education for business owners and beer sellers, Peterson said the drawbacks greatly outweigh the positives.

The bill dictates that local governments could suspend or revoke a beer permit only after multiple violations and once the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission deems it appropriate. In addition, the bill would greatly restrict the ability of law enforcement agencies to conduct undercover “sting” operations designed to catch violations at businesses.
(June 15) The Johnson City Commission will discuss new state beer laws tonight, even if some legislators aren’t ready to take part in that conversation.

While the commission is expected to discuss the matter, it is likely no legislators will be in attendance tonight.

Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, did not respond to phone messages.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Local Voter & Veteran Calls Out War Protester Matthew Hill

Tuesday's edition of the Johnson City Press featured the following nice letter from a 7th District voter who is fighting mad about war protester Matthew Hill:
Hill’s war reactions

Former Washington County Sheriff Fred Phillips’ opponent for the 7th House District seat, first-term GOP incumbent Matthew Hill, stated he was pleased the Tennessee Legislature has finally recognized the men and women who are serving this nation, and deserve tax relief and various other initiatives for their sacrifices in our behalf. Though he seems to be patriotic enough, he has not mentioned the nature of his sacrifice for the United States during this or any other war we have committed our military to. Since Hill insists on “talking the talk,” let’s see if he “walks the walk” and joins a local guard or reserve unit and takes his turn defending this nation.

Could it be he is as secretly opposed to this war as he was openly opposed to the war in Kosovo and our troops’ presence there? How many Tennessee men and women died in that war?

On April 18, 1999, according to a local media publication, he and seven other people were featured at the Bristol War Memorial Park. Phillips’ opponents posted signs that read “We are all targets” and “Stop NATO aggression” as well as one referring to NATO as “Nazi America Terrorist Organization.”

I wonder how he could claim such an undying loyalty to our troops and yet protest against them by being assimilated with the extremely liberal International Action Center, founded by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark. As a military veteran, the idea that Hill could protest a war at the very site honoring the men and women who have given their lives for this nation irritates me. His action certainly deflates the morale of the men and women who are faithfully serving this great nation.
Johnson City
And for proof, here's the news stories:

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Sunday, September 24, 2006


Matthew Hill's Poor Record Blasted at Stop by Former Gov

Sunday there was a great story in the Johnson City Press (also blogged about here) that highlighted Matthew Hill's failings.
Phillips said he believes there is a serious need for Northeast Tennessee to be better represented in Nashville.

“Well, you know, I was kind of pressed into service by my constituents,” Phillips said. “I get the feeling here that they’re not getting a return on their tax dollar in Nashville.”

One of the recurring arguments for Phillips’ election to office by his supporters was his well-established relationships with leaders in Nashville, something they claim is desperately needed.

One such example of using Phillips’ networking skills would be garnering road improvements within the city and county, notably what Phillips said was a need for the portion of Interstate 26 that runs through Johnson City to be expanded to six lanes.

For some reason in the (20)06-07 budget there is no new road dollars out of (the Tennessee Department of Transportation) to do anything on the highway systems in Washington County,” he said. “Now you go in neighboring Greene and Hamblen (counties), they’re doing a complete overhaul of Interstate 81, so I just need to see that it flows on into Washington County. And I think with my direct connection with Commissioner (of Transportation) Gerald Nicely and my friendship with him I can convince him that those dollars need to come here.”

McWherter, who served as Tennessee’s 46th governor from 1987-1995, reaffirmed the notion that connections get things done, saying three commissioners appointed by Bredesen who were present Saturday were responsible for building projects in Tennessee — and Phillips was friends with all of them.
Don't worry, income tax-loving Don Sundquist is probably on his way to the Tri-Cities to stump for Hill.

And, Phillips also addressed the THP scandal, stating the only reason officers with shady backgrounds were identified was because Phillips made it impossible for them to hide.
Once Phillips was in office, he began updating the department, placing computers in the cruisers that gave officers the ability to access the database.

Officers who access the database must pass a background check to allow usage.

“I initiated that and it uncovered people who had been hired under another administration with backgrounds that were not favorable to law enforcement,” Phillips said. “I didn’t hire them, Governor Bredesen didn’t hire them, we inherited them. That brought them to the forefront, and of course I happened to be the commissioner — that was on my watch. And I stood up and took responsibility for it even though I uncovered it through innovation.”

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Thursday, September 21, 2006


Matthew Hill Called Out for Stopping Roads Money to Washington County

Well, Phillips and Hill had their first debate yesterday. It appeared to be fairly adolescent, as most things Hill is involved in are. However, Phillips did call out Hill for burning bridges in such a manner as to stop roads money from coming in to the 7th District:
Phillips questioned why the county had not seen any money for new roads come back to the district in the past two years.

“I know if I sat on the state’s Transportation Committee, Washington County would be getting some of that funding that Greene and Hamblen County are getting,” Phillips said.
Hill's reply was that he brought $48 million back for local schools. I find this an interesting response because first, Phillips wasn talking about roads, second, where did he get that figure, and third, Matthew Hill hates public schools. He has made it known that he wants the state to pay people who home school their children. Very strange.

Then Hill declared that Phillips was lying about being endorsed by the NRA. Hill had a letter that he probably created just before the debate that said the NRA endorsed him and not Phillips. Phillips did receive an "A" rating from the NRA. So even if they felt they had to endorse the Republican candidate, the NRA acknowledged that Phillips is a candidate they would be proud to have. At least Phillips actually has been trained to use a firearm. Matthew Hill looks like he couldn't fire a gun if he wanted to, and he proposed legislation (House Bill 0887) that would allow the possession of a handgun in buildings where alcohol is served. What an idiot. He does whatever special interest groups that fund him, like the Tennessee Malt Beverage Association, tell him to do.

In addition, Hill acted like the passage of Courtney's Law showed that Hill didn't burn every bridge he came across. However, if Hill was so good at building consensus in Nashville, why was Courtney's Law blasted by almost everyone for being toothless and ineffective? Not quite the sort of thing you should be bragging about.

And, let's not forge that Mr. NRA Matthew Hill protested against the U.S. Military, and he refuses to apologize for or acknowledge his actions.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Fred Phillips' Opposition to Abortion Disappoints Tennessee Right to Life

In this story in today's Kingsport Times-News, we learn that the Tennessee Right to Life is annoyed that Fred Phillips opposes abortion. I find it quite amazing that they are not saying they are glad to hear that. I think it goes to show that this organization, just like Matthew Hill, is not really about standing up for what's right. They are all about having power and getting people to do what they want them to do.
In responding to TRL's endorsement of Hill, Phillips maintained he is pro-life.
"I am anti-abortion, always have been," Phillips said. "(But) there are certain things that come into play that would warrant it, that is a threat to the mother's health or rape or incest."

Phillips also stressed he's not committed to support Naifeh, a West Tennessee Democrat who has been House speaker for more than 15 years.

"I'm not tied to any special group in Nashville," said Phillips, Tennessee's former safety commissioner and ex-Washington County sheriff. "I have made no such commitment to anyone. I think it is foolish to campaign that you will vote for or against someone when you don't know who the candidates are. I have stated many times I would cast my vote for the speaker of the House who could assure me that we would get a good return for the tax dollar and that person would benefit Washington County and Northeast Tennessee. I'm going into this election with an open mind."
I am looking forward to the Hill-Phillips debate at the Johnson City Kiwanis Club luncheon on Wednesday. I also think it is pretty cool that at Phillips' campaign event this Saturday will feature an appearance by former Gov. Ned McWherter. Does that mean Matthew Hill will bring in former Gov. Don Sundquist?

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Sunday, September 17, 2006


Matthew Hill and His Cronies Called Out

For a great story about Matthew Hill and his buddies being sold out to special interest groups, you can read this JC Press interview with Bob Patton. This blogger has already commented on the story. I must say, it is quite telling that since Matthew Hill has been in office, "Money, Patton says, is not coming back to Washington County and there have been no new roads for two years — since he lost his re-election bid. “People have noticed,” he said.

I also am glad to hear someone proclaim that you're not a heretic if you don't vote exactly the way John Gregory wants you to. I am quite confident that there are a number of Republican voters who are voting for Fred Phillips for the very reasons Patton mentioned in this interview. I just don't think Hill can use Gregory's money to hire enough home school kids from Chattanooga as campaign door-knockers to win this election.

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Friday, September 15, 2006


Courtney's Law a Disappointment

I was looking over a few old issues of the Johnson City Press and I found a few articles that demonstrated some local disappointment in Matthew Hill's work:

In the June 23 edition of the Johnson City Press, a story highlighted the fact that many people in the 7th District were disappointed with Courtney’s Law:
Hill addressed criticism of the legislation — one that increased the penalties for illegal street racing if bodily injury or death is involved.
“There were some people that said this legislation had no teeth ... People are going to jail now, instead of just paying a fine,” he said. “Before, if you were charged with drag racing it was just a $50 fine.”
In the June 8 edition of the Johnson City Press, Hill’s Courtney’s Law was lampooned for being too weak:
Drag racing legislation not significant enough
Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, said “Cortney’s Law” would make significant changes to provisions of state law governing vehicular homicide.

Unfortunately, the measure does not deliver on all of the promises lawmakers made earlier this year to increase the punishment for drag racing. As Press staff writer Dee Goodin reported, the bill doesn’t carry the tough penalties District Attorney General Joe Crumley had hoped.

All victims of street racing deserve a law that actually punishes those who use our streets for their mindless pursuits. Unfortunately, the law that carries Cortney Hensley’s name does not do that.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Fred Phillips in the Newspaper

While looking over some old issues of the Johnson City Press, I found a number of stories about Fred Phillips’ bid to oust Matthew Hill. The following are some examples:

In the August 16 editions of both the Johnson City Press and Kingsport Times News, Hank Hayes points out that Fred Phillips has raised considerably more money than Hilly boy. The same thing was also reported in the July 13 edition of the Johnson City Press.

Here’s an excerpt from the July 9 Johnson City Press interview with Fred Phillips:
Phillips said he that while he is connected to the Democratic Party, he holds many of the same beliefs as area Republicans, including his opposition to abortion, except in certain instances involving rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s health.

“I’m looking to re-establish the connection between Nashville and Washington County and address the needs of the people of Washington County.”

For many years, Phillips was the only Democrat able to break through and win a county office in extremely Republican Washington County.

“Voting against something just because it was introduced by the other party or the other side is just foolish. We’ve got to get rid of this wall of isolation between the two sides in Nashville.”

Johnson City Police Chief John Lowry, the association’s first vice president, said, “Everybody I know from Mountain City to Memphis just has so much respect for Fred and what he can do for East Tennessee. He is a consensus builder.”

Other top priorities for Phillips are education funding, including better pay for teachers; improving the state highway system, including widening of Interstate 26 from Sullivan County through Johnson City and into Unicoi County; and homeland security, including tougher immigration legislation.
In the April 16 edition of the Johnson City Press, Robert Houk pointedly calls out Matthew Hill for his propensity campaign in a very mean-spirited (unChrist-like in my opinion) manner:
When Phillips launched his bid for the state General Assembly in Jonesborough earlier this month, the Democrat was surrounded by quite a few Republican friends. Such notable Republican officeholders as Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal and Washington County Mayor George Jaynes were seen in the crowd.

It’s not all that surprising to see Republicans at an event for Phillips. A number of prominent Republicans openly supported Phillips when he served as sheriff of Washington County. Phillips is going to need all the help he can get from Republican voters to unseat Hill.

Hill will likely be portrayed as a political opportunist from Sullivan County who has done little to distinguish himself during his first term in the General Assembly.

Meanwhile, Phillips will be attacked as a partisan who allowed political favoritism to go unchecked at the Tennessee Highway Patrol during his tenure as safety commissioner.

Remember the negative print and radio ads Hill backers ran two years ago against former Rep. Bob Patton, R-Johnson City? Expect to see more of the same this fall.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006


Phillips Takes Hill to the Woodshed

In the September 9 edition of the Johnson City Press, Fred Phillips didn't hold back much after Matthew Hill started his mud-slinging campaign. Here is an excerpt from the story:
Fred Phillips...said Friday he was shocked by claims made recently by his Republican opponent, incumbent Matthew Hill, implying he was soft on the issue of illegal immigration.

“It bothers me that my opponent had the audacity to make these claims,” said Phillips, who has served in the capacity of sheriff, director of public safety and Johnson City police chief since joining the JCPD in 1964.

“I’ve served 42 years in this community protecting the safety of Johnson City and Washington County. That’s just an absurd statement.”

On immigration legislation being pushed by House Republicans, Hill said Phillips would oppose such measures while condemning the issue in public stating: “My opponent is one of those people who want to talk the talk, but not walk the walk.”

Phillips maintained that he, and not Hill, has been on the front line of security for the nation, and especially for Washington County during his professional career.

I am the only candidate to serve overseas against an occupying communist force, protecting our borders,” said Phillips of his tour of duty in Korea.

My opponent has never served in a protective agency or in the military. I’ve served a few days — about half a century.”

...“My agenda is only to serve and represent the citizens of Washington County and I believe I am the only candidate that can connect Washington County back with Nashville,” he said.

Though my opponent served on the House transportation committee, this county never saw any tax money come back into this community. I know if I were on that committee Washington County would definitely be seeing some of that money.”

On the immigration legislation itself, Phillips said he strongly believed that if you live here, you should be here legally.

“Every law enforcement officer has the authority to arrest illegal aliens and take them into custody — they can’t deport them, they have to go through the deportation process with I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” he said.

“I support what Gov. (Phil) Bredesen has recently done in Davidson County in putting deportation officers in the jails. The coalition of local law enforcement and I.C.E. is great.”
So, what dirty attack will Matthew Hill come back with? He can't call Phillips a spineless coward of a war-protester, because that's Hill's title.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Hill Continues to Alienate the 7th District

In the August 25 edition of the Johnson City Press, Robert Houk highlights how leaders in the 7th District are quite displeased with Matthew Hill:
Local political pundits already have turned their attention to the November contest between state Rep. Matthew Hill, (R) Jonesborough, and former Washington County Sheriff Fred Phillips. Many believe the outcome of the GOP primary between state Rep. Jerome Cochran, (R) Elizabethton, and restaurateur Kent Williams has set the tone for the 7th House District race. Cochran lost the Republican nomination this month in a race that saw the challenger depict the incumbent as an ineffective lawmaker. Similar criticisms have been lodged against Hill, including a very public rebuke from Jonesborough Mayor Tobie Bledsoe earlier this year.
Also, here’s an excerpt from a story about Hill campaigning for Ed Bryant, whom the majority of Republicans in Washington County rejected. This was in the July 30 edition of the Johnson City Press:
“Hill talked about Tennessee’s high sales tax and how it is unjust for the government to tax necessities…He did not elaborate on how that could be accomplished…”
What kind of leader says he has a goal, but doesn’t have a plan to achieve that goal?

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A Lot of Voters Don't Like Matthew Hill

I was perusing some old issues of the Johnson City Press and I found a number of people who are not big fans Matthew Hill. The following are some examples.

A 7th District voter has not been impressed by Hill, according to his comments in the June 28 edition of the Johnson City Press: “We have viable candidates like Fred Phillips running for the state House of Representatives against Matthew Hill, who backs issues that don’t do much for people.”

Self-serving individuals (May 26)
Cover Tennessee sounds to me like a good plan to help the working men and women who make less than $25,000 a year.
Why, I wonder, would our region’s lawmakers vote against a plan to help our poor and uninsurable? Reps. Jerome Cochran (Carter County) and Matthew Hill (Washington County) voted last year to end TennCare for these same people. And now they have shown again they have no compassion for their fellow man.
Please help me in voting these two self-serving individuals out of office on Aug. 3.

Matthew Hill misguided (May 5)
I wonder who wrote state Rep. Matthew Hill’s “From the Hill” column in the April 23 Herald and Tribune? I would bet it wasn’t him. He quotes House Bill 242 that requires all driver’s license exams be worded in English. For those immigrants living in Tennessee legally, who can’t read or speak English, how should they obtain driver’s licenses if they don’t understand the wording? You guessed it, either the state must hire many multilingual interpreters or they simply drive without a license.
His mention of a program to allow the Tennessee Highway Patrol to enforce illegal immigration laws was defeated. What he failed to tell you is that only the Immigration and Naturalization Service has the authority to arrest and deport.
From a local taxpayer’s point, where would those illegals be housed? You’re right; in the Washington County jail. Normally INS does not retrieve those individuals unless there are at least 15 to deport. In the meantime, where does Hill propose we “deport” them to, one of the surrounding counties?
Now for the “sheltering” of the THP from political pressure by barring their participation in partisan political activities. The (Nashville) Tennessean reported on April 14, the six members of the THP with questionable activities were vindicated by District Attorney General Terry Johnson and would not be prosecuted. What Hill meant: don’t allow the THP to donate to them, but it’s OK for other public employees to donate to me and be involved in my political campaign.

Reps. have forgotten (April 14)
In regard to the letter submitted by Bill Smith in the Press on April 7, Reps. Matthew Hill and Jerome Cochran must have the same speech writer. I missed Hill’s statements, but noted that they were practically verbatim of the speech Cochran made at the Carter County Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Breakfast on March 31.
I second Mr. Smith’s opinion. With the statements and voting records of these two representatives, no wonder we can’t see any accomplishments during the years of their tenure. The young representatives apparently have forgotten that the citizens of Washington and Carter counties voted them into office and expect no less than their bipartisan representation.
The voters have a choice this election year and they should use their vote wisely to elect representatives who will put the need of the citizens first, and personal bias aside.
D.J. C

Hill lacks bipartisanship (April 7)
It seems that freshman state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, is a fast learner. He has mastered the vociferous and hateful fear tactics that so characterize the Republican Party of today.
Both sides of the aisle should be wary. His recent statement regarding the candidacy of the former sheriff of Washington County is wrapped in the cement confines of partisanship.
Obviously, Hill rebukes any idea of fulfilling his elected responsibilities for what is best for all. His statement leads one to believe that “Ford and Naifeh” are enemies rather than comrades.
The “if-you-are-not-with-us-thenyou-are-against-us” mentality has captured this young man’s soul, and is so reflected in his voting record. Hill’s brazen attempt at fear and intimidation does not play well with this reader.
I have no “horse in this race,” but I am still a Tennessean dependent on fair and bipartisan representation from all elected officials. With his statement, Hill represents neither of those qualities.

The April 7 Johnson City Press also had a letter-to-the-editor from a local voter who strongly supported the proposed “bottle bill” because it would help clean up and preserve Northeast Tennessee’s beauty. Naturally, Matthew Hill opposes the bill. Probably because of his ties to the Malt Beverage Association, a lobbyist group.

And finally, in the July 28 edition of the Johnson City Press, Hill received a letter-to-the-editor endorsement from a union supporter. I wonder if the writer and Matthew Hill have been participating in the recent Nuclear Fuel Services strikes in Erwin?

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