Chas Sisk

Enterprise Reporter

Chas joined WPLN in 2015 after eight years with The Tennessean, including more than five years as the newspaper's statehouse reporter. Chas has also covered communities, politics and business in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. Chas grew up in South Carolina and attended Columbia University in New York, where he studied economics and journalism. Outside of work, he's a dedicated distance runner, having completed a dozen marathons.

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Many Tennessee voters — Republicans and Democrats alike —  will spend the coming days trying to understand what it will mean for Donald Trump to be president. But for many at the state capitol, attention is turning to Election Day, 2018.

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Republican voters in Tennessee have been vocal: They want to see the Affordable Care Act repealed. But now on the verge of becoming reality, many are telling Congress something quite different — delay.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Muslims from across Tennessee were at the Capitol Friday in an effort to spark more dialogue with state lawmakers.

The event included tours of the Capitol and a Muslim prayer service, all with the message that it's time for Muslims to get more involved — not just in national politics, but with lawmakers who shape Tennessee's future.

Erin Logan / WPLN

Oak Ridge Republican Randy McNally is a man of few words.

That may be why few Tennesseans have heard about him before this week, when he was elected speaker of the state Senate.

McNally has nearly 40 years of experience, yet an earlier episode in his life still defines his career. People refer to it as the time Randy McNally wore a wire. Operation Rocky Top became one of the biggest corruption scandals in the legislature's history.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Nashville Republican Beth Harwell won a fourth term as speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, and Oak Ridge Sen. Randy McNally was elected speaker of the state Senate in a start to the 110th General Assembly that went as expected.

Harwell unanimously won re-election, as Republicans and Democrats aligned behind her. That's even though her previous term had been rocky. Harwell had opposed Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to expand Medicaid, known as Insure Tennessee, and she'd been criticized for her handling of sexual harassment complaints against Franklin Republican Jeremy Durham. Durham was eventually ousted in September.

Harwell was asked immediately afterward about her next race — including the possibility that she'll run for governor in 2018. She says she's not ready to make that decision.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

The question is not whether a legislator in Tennessee identifies as a Christian. It's what kind of Christian they are.

Nearly one-third of lawmakers identify their religious affiliation as Baptist, and the rest say they're from another Protestant denomination or they're Catholic. Only one mentions another faith: Nashville Rep. John Ray Clemmons, who says in his official bio that his family is a mix of Christian and Jewish.

That's not completely out of line with Tennesseans as a whole. Four of five of the state's adults say they're Christians.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

 After an eventful election season, the Tennessee state legislature is back.


The General Assembly opens its two-year session this week.


There aren’t a lot of new people in the hallways, but our statehouse correspondent, Chas Sisk, is here to tell us why this will be one of most unpredictable sessions in years.

Maryland Office of the Governor

They're the basics of American history and government.

So we went out to the State Capitol to see if Tennesseans actually know them.

Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.

Ethan Millsap was ready.

Republican National Committee / YouTube

A Congressional panel has completed its yearlong investigation into donations of fetal tissue.

Tennessee Congressman Marsha Blackburn led the committee, which released its final report Wednesday. Another Tennessee representative, Diane Black, was also on the panel.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

This is a shortened version that aired Wednesday, Jan. 4. For the complete Curious Nashville podcast episode about Jefferson Street's R&B scene, click here.

Before he was an international superstar, Jimi Hendrix spent a year on Nashville's Jefferson Street. It's a chapter in the guitar legend's biography that's often glossed over.