Richard Skiles was named the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commissioner for the Western Section of Tennessee at the April 6, 2017 TABC meeting. Commissioner Skiles replaces Mary McDaniel, which we blogged about here.
Commissioner Skiles hails from the Home of the White Squirrel, Kenton, located in northwest Tennessee near Union City. We understand that Randy Boyd also calls Kenton home, which may have a little something to do with Commissioner Skiles’ appointment. Mr. Boyd is the former Commissioner of Economic Development and a personal friend of Governor Haslam.
Commissioner Skiles is also from Representative Bill Sanderson’s district. Representative Sanderson is Chair of the House State Government Subcommittee, a position of some power, and also well-versed in alcoholic beverage law. Representative Sanderson owns a winery and is pals with Michael Ballard, purveyor of Full Throttle Sloonshine.
At this point, what little we know about Commissioner Skiles. Respected journalist Tom Humphreys has a little more scoop here.
We make a rare departure from quoting a raucous song to leave you with some trivia about the home of the white squirrel, courtesy of Wiki: Kenton is one of four communities in the United States that has a large population of albino squirrels. In 2006 the population was estimated at 200, or about one for every six residents. The town celebrates this anomaly with its annual White Squirrel Festival held during the week in which the Fourth of July falls.
And as long as we are gabbing about the TABC, well-placed sources tell us that the bill to increase the number of Commissioners from three to five is destined to become law. HB1294 has passed the Senate and is set for approval in the House. The bill adds two Commissioners, one appointed by the Speaker of each Chamber.