House District 55: Gary Odom

Sunday, October 24, 2010 at 10:45pm

House Democratic leader Odom isn’t known for his discretion. The southwestern Davidson County representative caused a ruckus in the party when he blabbed criticisms of Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh to a Memphis reporter, who quickly turned around and reported them. And when Republicans put forth the Health Freedom Act, he urged lawmakers to abstain from voting or to vote no, saying there was no reason to give “credibility” to the resolution.

Odom took a responsible stance on Republicans’ resolution to honor Arizona for its harsh anti-immigrant law, saying there was no need to put Tennessee in the middle of the controversy and warning that it could cost convention business if the state was perceived as regressive.

Odom sponsored a bill to temporarily exempt victims of May’s floods from paying taxes on appliances and home-repair items. In his leadership role, he has crossed party lines to negotiate over budget items. He has also done so in efforts to strengthen sentencing laws for violent criminals such as armed robbers; included in that bill, which Odom sponsored, were provisions to reduce sentencing and jail time for nonviolent offenders, and instead to move them into community rehab facilities. That saves money and space in our jails for criminals who need to be locked up.

Filed under: City Voices