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Jerry Cooper Highway, Are You Serious?

March 4th, 2009

Jerry Cooper Highway. That is what a stretch of Highway 70 South from McMinnville to Spring Valley Road will be named if bill SB26 passes in the Tennessee legislature. It recently passed the Senate Transportation committee with a unanimous vote. What is so bad about that? So they are naming a road after some guy. Big deal.

Jerry Cooper, for those that don’t know, is a former Tennessee Senator from the 14th district. Sounds good so far, right? Well, then you get into the fact that he was indicted in 2006 by a federal grand jury for bank and mail fraud. He managed to get acquitted, so I’ll cut him some slack.

Following that, in February 2007 he pleaded “no contest” to DUI charges after a car accident he caused. Sounds like a real role model to me. But wait, there’s more. Now I sound like an infomercial. In December of 2007, he resigned from the state senate after he received $100,000 in fines for violating campaign finance laws.

At least one representative is upset about this issue. The follow is from the Nashville Post:

“Who we going to honor next? John Ford?” asked Rep. Stacey Campfield.

Campfield said honoring Cooper is a slap in the face to all the legislators who do right.

“What kind of message is that sending to people?” Campfield asked. “That it’s OK to do these things, and that if you are high enough power you can get rewarded for it, even have roads named after you?”

I have to say I’m a little upset about this myself. Elected officials have to hold themselves to a higher standard because they are in the public eye. I understand this, and I feel for them. That’s just how it is going to be though. While Joe Schmoe isn’t going to have as great a penalty for having a DUI, Joe also isn’t going to have roads named after him.

As Campfield said, what kind of message is this sending. Imagine somebody getting pulled over for drunk driving on this highway.

Joe Schmoe: Officer, the guy they named this road after got caught doing it, it must not be that bad. How about a warning this time?

Officer: Well let me see, are you an elected official?

Joe Schmoe: No.

Officer: *gets out handcuffs* Sorry pal.

Author: Derek Clark Categories: General Politics Tags: