State Senate, District 8

Jim Bishop

Jim Bishop

Raymond Finney

Raymond Finney

Ira Lapides

Ira Lapides

Doug Overbey

Doug Overbey

James W. Bishop (Jim Bishop)

Office seeking: State Senate, District 8

Family: Not married, no children.

Age: 56

Education: Graduated Farragut High School, Barely attended UT

Occupation: Marketing Director Pigeon Forge/Sevierville Transit

Hometown: Sevierville

How long have in Blount area: Total of about 17 years

What has been your biggest disappointment in state government?

“Senator Finney’s refusal to stand up for his constituents and instead voting to cost us millions of dollars for education caused me to enter the race.”

What's the biggest problem facing Tennessee that the State Senate and a State Senator can help solve?

“Illegal immigrants are overcrowding our jails and schools causing our counties to consider higher taxes. By Tennessee law, the State Senator can report businesses that hire undocumented workers.”

What are you going to do to stay in touch with constituents in Blount and Sevier counties?

“I will make myself personally available, use the web and if possible write a monthly newspaper column in both counties.”

In about 25 words or less, explain why someone should vote for you?

“My opponents have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars telling you why you should not vote for either of them. They are both right.”

Raymond A. Finney

Office seeking: State Senate, District 8

Family: Wife, Linda; married 46 years. Children, Debbie, Ray, Charles and John; grandchildren: Alex and Taylor.

Age: 67

Education: BS at the University of Tennessee; MD at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis; five years of post doctoral education.

Occupation: Retired physician

Hometown: Knoxville

How long in Blount County: “I’ve lived in Blount County since 1976.”

What has been your biggest disappointment while working in state government?

“My biggest disappointment came last year. A year or so ago, Tennessee bought 128,000 acres in the Cumberland Mountains. It’s pristine, beautiful, gorgeous mountains, equal in beauty to the Smoky Mountains. Coal companies went in front of us and purchased the timber and mineral rights. They’ve announced they plan to shut operations down in Kentucky and come into Tennessee, blow up our mountains and leave them scarred for many, many years. There’s very little benefit except to the stockholders. What we tried to was have mountain top removal banned. Any mountaintop above 2,000 feet couldn’t be mined by surface mining. Other mining techniques were permitted but the idea was to protect the ridgeline. I worked very hard on that bill and took a lot of hits from the business community because they didn’t understand it. I passed the bill eight-to-one in the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee but it was killed in the House. I feel passionate about the beauty of mountains since Gov. Bredesen and the General Assembly had the foresight to buy this, we ought to protect it.”

What the biggest problem facing the state of Tennessee that someone in the State Senate can help solve?

“The biggest problem is going to be containing the cost of health care and making it more effective and accessible to all citizens. It’s a tremendous challenge and challenge I don’t know the answer to. I don’t believe anyone does. We have the best healthcare system in the world but don’t have ways of making that accessible to everyone. I am not advocating socialized medicine. That brings in another series of problems equal to or worse than what we have now. We are going to have to find some way of funding healthcare. The big challenge is how to afford it and how to provide it for everyone working within a free market economy.”

What are you going to do to stay in touch with the citizens of Blount/Sevier counties?

“That’s what I’ve done the last four years. I have been very actively involved, more than any other senator and more than my opponent, in meeting with people. I have monthly meetings at the courthouse every fourth Friday. I go to schools. I stay in touch with people in a number of ways. I think it’s not an exaggeration that I’ve been the most accessible legislator in keeping in touch with constituents and will continue that and will become more effective because I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. That’s been a top priority. I also publish, at my own expense, full-page ads in the paper telling about issues I think are important.”

In about 25 words or less, explain why someone should vote for you?

“I am a man of high principles and will not compromise those principles to gain public office.”

Ira Lapides

Office seeking: State Senate, District 8

Family: Wife,Jan, children, son: William Lapides and a grandson, Bennett William Lapides.

Age: 62

Education: PhD in economics at the University of Tennessee and a B.A. from Ohio Weslyan University.

Occupation: Owns a retail business, a pipe and smoke store – The Gatlinburlier – in Mountain Mall in Gatlinburg.

Hometown: New Haven, Conn.

How long in Blount County: “I came to Tennessee in 1969, and we moved to Sevier County in 1978 and opened store that year.”

What’s your biggest disappointment regarding state government?

“Probably there’s no one willing to bring up substance, and, thereby, I think it’s time we talk about substantive issues, finance, the ‘hows’ in which things can be accomplished. The thing that disappointed me most and got me into the race was finding our judicial and corrections system were as broke as they are. The fact that it isn’t living up to American standards and ideals, is what got me into this race. We’re creating a criminal society, and I don’t want my children living in a criminal society.”

What’s the biggest problem facing the state of Tennessee that someone in the State Senate can help solve?

“Education and jobs. They go hand- in-hand, part of it being funding and most of it in allowing parents to parent and educators to educate and having all the restraints upon educators removed, because they can’t teach the way teaching should be done.”

What are you going to do to stay in touch with constituents in Blount/Sevier counties?

“I’m certainly going to have meetings on a regular basis. I think Dr. Finney has done a good job and I’ll continue what he does with meeting and interviews. I’ll stay in touch with my constituents and constituents across the state. That becomes the answer to Dr. Finney’s comment that I, being a junior senator, would have no control or power. My answer on my website is I will have a section called ‘From the inside,’ which will be a daily report about what other people’s senators are doing and saying. The only way I think we can correct the ‘Old Boy’ game is to expose them. I won’t be the most popular guy but if they have to watch their words maybe they’ll think about their words.”

In about 25 words or less, explain why someone should vote for you?

“Because the current system needs such radical changing that an outsider not taking political action money and not indebted to old friends needs to come in and make substantial changes.”

James Douglas Overbey

Office seeking: State Senate, District 8

Family: Wife, Kay S. Overbey, children: daughter Kathleen and son-in-law Ryan Thomas; daughter Elizabeth and daughter Hannah.

Age: 53

Education: Graduated Carson Newman College and the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Occupation: Attorney

Hometown: Kingsport

How long in Blount County: I have lived here since 1978.

What has been your biggest disappointment while working in state government?

“I think the biggest disappointment has been that we have not been able to elect a majority of Republicans in the House so as to be in a position to elect a Republican as speaker of the House and bring the human life amendment to the floor for a vote.”

What’s the biggest problem facing the state of Tennessee that someone in the state senate can help solve?

“A state senator can’t solve a single problem by him or herself. He’s got to be able to work with others, which Raymond Finney has difficulty doing but which I have shown ability to do even as a member of the minority party in the House. A state senator has to be able to work cooperatively and effectively to bring legislation to the floor of the Senate and gain its passage. My ability to work effectively during my four terms in the House are why I was rated the most effective Republican representative in Tennessee and is what I will bring to the State Senate as we, together, face the issues that matter most to our families all across the state.”

What are you going to do to stay in touch with constituents in Blount/Sevier counties?

“I will continue the effort I have made over the past eight years to be available and accessible to constituents. As in the past I remain fanatical about responding to phone calls, replying to letters , answering emails from constituents. I will continue to meet citizens of Blount County wherever they are. By that I mean being present at community events all over the county. I plan to continue with what I’ve called ‘Let Your Voice Be Heard’ ads I’ve run annually in the local print media. I will continue with a weekly email update that I’ve been doing now for several years to all who have asked to receive it. I plan to continue the Saturday morning forums that were really well attended in March when I visited 16 different locations within the county during the legislative session.

In about 25 words or less, explain why someone should vote for you?

“I think there are three things: A lifetime of involvement in this community, my background of representing folks and being their advocate and the experience I’ve had on the county commission and in the state House. These have demonstrated I can work effectively and able to get things done.

© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 22

AlwaysTruthful writes:

Doug Overbey has been promised lots of money from the coal companies and their lobbying group FACTS if he can defeat Sen. Finney in the primary. We have no coal in Blount County. So why would Rep. Overbey want their money? They have promised to do all they can to defeat Sen. Finney for his attempts to protect our TN mountains.

GOP85 writes:

Why then would Finney sponsor a bill to ban coal mining since we don't have it in Blount County? I mean as if bestiality were not enough he is trying to ban something that is not even a part of his district.

RightChoice writes:

And why would the coal company make such huge contribution to Overbey? I guess that a Senator should not do anything to help the Smoky Mountains or State in General.
A bill was passed by Finney that would save thousands of lives across the State. Antifreeze is sweet and kids ingest it and people use it for suicide. Alcoholics drink it trying to get drunk when they can't find liquor. Thousands of animals ingest it. It causes an excruciatingly painful death. With a bitterant it won't be palatable to humans or animals. So the bittering law for antifreeze will save lives across the State. Not specifically for Blount or Sevier. Its a good law .

Floydthebarber writes:

AlwaysTruthful, Yur name got my attention better than my preacher did this mornin. Promised money from the coal miners union and coal companies did 2???.... As U probaly heard I have a bunch of relatives over there in Vol land and just happened to have a stepbrother Elmer that lives up in Laffolate. He has been in the coal business for many years all over those mountains and all the way up to Harlan KY. I called him a month ago and ask him about this promiss. He said they cant make promisses like that and why to Overbey. I called the Overbey bunch today and they say no such promiss. This Finney campaign propoganda is starting to sink like a goat whistin dixie from his rear Horn. This along with the Big Speaker man Nafiey non issue in the house is more buffalo crap than I can stand. Please Ask Finney if He has ever voted Democrat and let me know what he said. PLEASE...
Also, Cuzin Billy was sittin on his front porch the other nite and he whitnessed his Overbey yard sign gettin stolen. Guess what, the young boys didnt even know he was watching. More news before Thursday on that one. I'll give you a hint tommorrow.

RightChoice writes:

Floydthebarber, That donation info didn't come from the Finney camp. No, sir came straight from a close relative that works for National Coal and it came long before this campaign got all heated up. I know about Finney's voting record and Yep he has voted democrat but, not for the big man who fights gun-rights and is the speaker of the house. The man who sets the tone. As far as the signs go. Finney signs keep vanishing left and right. I see Overbey every where but then again he had major campaign funding for those billboards and such. The only way I'd believe that someone stole a Overbey sign from someones yard would be - If there faces were shown clear on camera and they confessed doing it. These guys sure play dirty. Do they teach that in law school?

AlwaysTruthful writes:

I never drank antifreeze, don't know anything about animals or missing signs. Don't even have one in my yard. But I know for a fact that FACTS and National Coal have promised to defeat Sen. Finney. Know that the Director of FACTS has a girlfriend who drives his 1999 Navigator with an Overbey sticker on it. If the money hasn't shown yet, it will. They're smart enough to hide it until it's too late to know that the coal companies bought the Republican primary.

mysterio writes:

Overbey sounds like such a career politician that I could never vote for him. I am sick of him sending me mail about Finney voted for this and against that, and then Finney sends me mail saying exactly the opposite. Who am I supposed to believe???

AlcoaGuy0157 writes:

Coal Bill = Bad for business. Which is why Finney was named one of the five worst legislators for business by a respected magazine.

Emissions Bill = Bad for fuel prices. It is the exact same kind of bill Republicans fought and defeated in the US Senate that was introduced by Barbara Boxer from California. The EPA said that bill would raise gas prices by 40 cents. And yet Finney acts like he doesn't know what Overbey is talking about.

And isn't everyone a little sick of this whole, big business, Republican establishment corruption non-sense. Finney supporters are acting just like Meares supporters. Which from the amount of Meares/Finney sign combos I've seen around, it is exactly who they probably are. Judge Duggan and Doug Overbey are two outstanding citizens in Blount County, who have worked tirelessly to do great things here and serve our community. And to act like they are somehow corrupt, after having no basis to claim that falsehood, is seriously wrong.

And as someone who wants to go to law school, I have serious problems with all the lawyer hate comments that are being flung around by Finney and his supporters. A lot of great people, including John Duncan, Lamar Alexander, most of our founding fathers including Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, have been to law school and practiced law. It is a well respected position and one that takes a lot of hard work to be accomplished at, and to disrespect every attorney in this county by generalizing them just because of their job is incredibly stupid. Doug Overbey is a great man, but more importantly he is a great legislator. And it takes more than being a good person, it takes someone who can actually enact meaningful conservative legislation and protect our schools; something Ray Finney has failed miserably at.

VolGolfer1998 writes:

I think it is a little ridiculous to sit here and make outlandish claims that Doug Overbey or anyone working for his campaign are somehow "corrupt." It makes me sick to see Finney supporters acting like Meares supporters, and I think that many Finney people are voting for Meares. It's sickening to see all this junk. Especially when the majority of people know that they have two great public servants in Doug Overbey and David Duggan. We need them to win in this election, because they share our values and will stand up for them effectively. They do not stoop to the level of calling people "Nazis" and "Cancers" like Finney has now done. In fact, that just proves to me that Finney is pretty worried about how things are going.

RightChoice writes:

I'm concerned that a man with a planned agenda, paid for by people paying him to do their bidding. Will become our State Senator. Based on an expensive campaign and a lot of spin. And only after a few months will people realize the mistake. When they realize that he left a house seat to further his career plans. Which I believe is his motivating factor. I've came to the conclusion that this man will do and say anything to try and win this seat that he wants so badly. Yep, lets mine our mountain tops and ruin our environment and while we at it. Whats a few drunk drivers on highway 66.

VolGolfer1998 writes:

What are you even talking about? Drunk Drivers? Seriously I have no clue what you are talking about.

"I've came to the conclusion that this man will do and say anything to try and win this seat he wants so badly."

Really? So you're defending a man who has called the Overbey campaign nazi's? Seriously, the ad compared the campaign to NAZI's. As well as, "shoe-shine boy" and "cancer." And then you have the audacity to say, Doug will say anything to get elected. I think RightChoice needs a reality check. Finney has lied about school funding, first calling it a mistake (MTN press), then saying it wasn't that bad (RTL debate), to now saying that his vote was good (mailer) and that Overbey, Montgomery, and McCord all got it wrong and hurt our schools. And someone please tell me, how you can say "I voted to raise teacher pay" when the bill you reference only changed the ratio's of who paid into the salary. Let's put it this way. If you make 100 dollars, and 50% comes from the state, and 50% comes from local, and that changes to 75% and 25% - PLEASE TELL ME HOW THAT MEANS YOU MAKE MORE THAN $100. So guess what? That entire Finney mailer is a lie. And then he can actually go out and call Overbey a liar?

How can this guy even look himself in the mirror in the morning.

GOP85 writes:

Agreed Vol Golfer! I don't see how Finney can call himself a man of character and then in the same breath compare his opponent to a Nazi. Right Choice if that is who you want representing you that is fine. I for one believe Finney’s Nazi comment sums up who and what he really is: a bitter and evil man.
I do have one question for Right Choice. Doug and Ray share the same common sense conservative values: pro life, support 2nd amendment rights, pro family etc. I would like to know just what Ray Finney’s legislative accomplishments are. I am not talking about co-sponsoring a bill. What bills has Ray been the primary sponsor of during his time in the Senate that have made a difference and helped Tennesseans and his constituents here in the 8th district?

RightChoice writes:

Boys, Boys, I'll try to address each of your worries. I'll begin with you VolGolfer1998

What are you even talking about? Drunk Drivers? Answer to this - In Sevierville The Smokies ball park and a new development on 66 wants to serve alcohol. Now we all know that when alcohol is served we have drunk drivers. The Smokies and the Developer of new building on 66 have made big campaign contributions to Overbey. You see they don't want Finney. He sure didn't help their cause last time. They want to serve liquor. Doug will help them. This concerns me because drunk drivers kill.
"I've came to the conclusion that this man will do and say anything to try and win this seat he wants so badly." Yes, he has distorted the truth. And has not ran an honest campaign.
GOP85 I would like to know just what Ray Finney’s legislative accomplishments are. O.K. here are a few. He was the sponsor of The victims' impact panel legislation and the Home and community based Long time care service Bill, The long term Hospice Services bill - The antifreeze bittering bill. Just to name a few - look it up guys.
Boys, How can Doug call him self a man of character and compare Sen. Finney to Barack Obabma? How can he tell people flat out lies about Sen. Finney? How can he pad his pockets with money. Yes, I know for a fact National Coal has given him money. I think Doug has his eye on higher aspirations than Senator. Lord help us all.

VolGolfer1998 writes:

I think everyone here will realize how far you are reaching with that implication RightChoice. Doug Overbey wants to get drunk drivers on the road to kill people. Get serious. You must have really like Finney's comment comparing Overbey to a Nazi.

I never saw anything comparing him to Obama. He is a member of a group, that is financed by a foundation Obama ran. No comparison, but there is a connection. Look it up!

What lies? WHAT LIES? And I've already listed the out of state groups that have "padded" Finneys pockets. Yet you keep saying the same things!

He also introduced:
A bestiality bill - really?
Oh yeah, its apparently such a big problem that he had to introduce the bill twice.
A bill requiring us to conform to California Emissions standards
And as much as you seem to hate coal miners - that bill would have hundreds of coal jobs... ask Sen. Kilby from Wartburg.
Another bill about climate change - is this guy Al Gore or what?

And I have serious doubts he has all these high ambitions and aspirations yall keep talking about... but thank the Lord that some people do. Because without them, we wouldnt have men like Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington... the list could go on forever. These men all had ambition. So do you think that it would have been ok for Ronald Reagan to have been defeated when running for Governor just because someone claimed he had high ambitions like the presidency? That is how you force out good men. Evil succeeds only when good men refuse to take action.

RightChoice writes:

I didn't say that Overbey wanted drunk drivers on the road. I said "They want to serve liquor. Doug will help them. This concerns me because drunk drivers kill. " This is a fact that they want to serve liquor and Overbey will help them. Was helping them the first time they tried. Now they are supporting him.
I didn't see the flyer that you said Finney compared Overby to a Nazi, but by the enormous influx of mail in my mailbox and even my email Overbey does seem to be using brainwashing techniques repeating the same words over and over. I'm sick of his mail.
The Mountain Press in Sevierville has a breakdown of the donors for both candidates. Today's issue. Read it. I see some of Overbeys clearly missing.
"The latest campaign figures show Overbey raised $96,834 Finney only raised $16,183."
It was never Finney's intention to raise large sums of money.
Money is being raised with expectations instead of supporting that candidate because they believe in that candidate.
A bestiality bill - really? Yeah really- unless your into that kind of sick behavior. Its to bad Tennessee or any State needs such a law. Anyone that would harm an animal will also harm children, people. Obviously it is a big problem.
High Ambitions are great if your not selling out and lying to achieve your goal. I would be ashamed to compare overbey to these great men.

RightChoice writes:

In this last legislative session, false accusations were made that Senator Finney voted wrong on a BEP education bill and caused funding to be transferred from Seveir County to Memphis. This in itself was a distortion of facts.Senator's Finneys' vote was a choice of TWO methods the State of Tenn must take in obedience to a COURT ORDER to equalize school funding proportional to school enrollment across the State.
The first method was to raise taxes Statewide and distribute the extra revenue to unequally funded counties.
The second method was to take the existing revenue and distribute it fairly across the State {Which included a pay raise for teachers}
Challenger, Overbey and Sevier County School Superintendent Parton had meetings about the two choices far in advance of the Senator's vote for the second method, despite the fact that Overbey's house district never extended into Sevier County. NEITHER Overbey or Parton contacted their Senator and voiced any concern of the possible impact of either method might have on Sevier County.
DID THE OVERBY - PARTON STRAGEDY BENEFIT SEVIER COUNTY? Or was it a planned political move to ambush a Senator?
Published in Mountain Press Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

GOP85 writes:

It did not include a teacher pay raise. It just changed the ratio the state is willing to pay for teacher sallaries.

Furthermore, how do you know Parton never contacted Senator Finney?

VolGolfer1998 writes:

First of all, it is Doug Overbey, not "Overby." Secondly, the bill did not include a pay raise for teachers. It changed the method teachers are paid and increased the ratio the state pays, not their overall salary. (If you have 50% and 50% of a hundred dollars coming from two places, and it changes to 65% and 35% of 100 dollars from two places... it is still a hundred dollars). So Finney has lied about that. I'll take the word of Jack Parton and Mike Dalton over Sen. Finney because their interest is their schools, and the only interest of Sen. Finney is to be re-elected and to lie about this issue and spin it enough that it doesn't show how out of touch he is with his district.

The deal here is, that no matter how the Finney camp lies, spins or tries to deceive voters about BEP 2.0, the fact is that it took money from our district, a fact backed up by all of our school directors, and that the rest of the Blount/Sevier delegation (McCord, Overbey, Montgomery) voted against it, while Finney did not. And Finney should just stick with what he said in the first place, and that is that he made a HUGE mistake (Mtn Press) and he should apologize for it. Instead, he has presented "half-truths and whole lies" about teacher pay, funding for special education, and funding as a whole. People know this is true because teachers and the school directors have endorsed Doug and are voting for him. I will take the word of the rest of our legislators and our school directors and teachers over the Finney camp.

I think it shows out of touch you are that you believe that people who give $25 and $50 dollars do it because they have "expectations." They do it because they believe in the candidate and what the candidate stands for, and want to help them. And I think it is ludacris that you keep bringing up PACs, when Finney has taken most of his money from them as well. Doug has 400 individual donors from inside our district, and Finney does not. Therefore, they will instead try to talk about how Doug Overbey is being bought while in reality, it is that Doug Overbey has more grassroots support.

And now here come the conspiracy theories... this debate doesn't need any of those, because they do not come from what is reality.

I think pretty much 99% of the population including you and I would agree that beastiality is a terrible thing and should be outlawed... but if it is the biggest problem facing Tennessee at this point in time - then you are right, I don't know what is on the minds of Tennesseans. I would imagine it is something more like, schools, the economy, and taxes... not beastiality. I just don't think that is the biggest problem facing us, even though yes it is a terrible terrible thing - I will definitely agree to that.

RightChoice writes:

Both my sister, mom and brother- in -law work for Parton in the school system. It was never an issue discussed at school meetings or elsewhere and Senator said he was never called or written or spoke to on the matter and if there is one thing for sure its that he listens and responds to constiuents. I know this first hand because I contacted him myself during his term. If I called -I spoke directly to him. If I emailed he returned the email. And a friend wrote a letter to him voicing concerns. She sent this letter to many legislators and he was the only that responded with genuine concern, interest and willingness to help. The others responses were form letters and not ALL legislators responded.
Overbey and his supporters planned his campaign well in advance. I told you once before that National Coal gave him money long before the campaign began. I know you don't want to believe it but he has been dishonest and accepted money from people basically buying his position. And Parton hosted a big fundraiser for him in Sevier County. Since Parton is not a wealthy man. The money spent for that fundraiser is being investigated. If the taxpayers paid for it {school system}........

VolGolfer1998 writes:

Then you are just proving that he is ineffective because the rest of delegation voted against for good reason, and he looked at the same bill - and voted for it.

If you want to play conspiracy theorist - that is up to you. I'm not the one being paranoid here. I along with many other good people know Doug Overbey personally, and despite what you would like to believe, he is a great person with a good heart who is not bought and sold. And if people who work for National Coal give him money - SO WHAT? They are citizens in a our state, and are free people. They can give money for whatever reason they so choose. Just like you can give money and probably have given to Sen. Finney. Does that mean you have bought Finney for your own personal gain? I would think not. It scares me that you think this is reality, I feel pretty bad about it. People are free in this society to donate to campaigns if they so choose, and it is people like you who bring stupid conspiracies and lies into that turn it into something terrible.

The only thing that matters and that the Finney camps refuses to respond directly about are:
- Voted against school funding, while every other legislator in our district voted the other way, and then lied that all those other legislators voted against teacher pay raises and against school funding, while in fact it was Finney who voted against school funding.
- Introduced a bill that Doug and pretty much every Republican and even some Democrats were against because they thought it would do little to help our environment and would only hurt the poor coal miners who need those jobs and our energy prices. If you disagree that the bill was good, that is fine, but please... stop with the crazy theories about buying candidates. It is getting ridiculous.

AlcoaGuy0157 writes:

I guess RightChoice is voting for Meares, because this is the same kind of junk they have tried to pull on David Duggan. Both Rep. Overbey and Judge Duggan are great men, with hearts for public service, and both deserve to be elected. Meares camp has tried to bring all these ridiculous and completely false allegations against Duggan because they are down big, and I guess Finney's team has seen something to tell them they are in trouble so they have resorted to the same tatics. It is very sad.