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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Chas Sisk / WPLN

More than 500 people turned out this morning for a memorial service honoring Max Barry, the 22-year-old son of Nashville Mayor Megan Barry who died over the weekend from a drug overdose. He was living in Colorado.

Mourners gathered at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville's Hillsboro Village, blocks from the Barry family's home, his elementary school and the University School of Nashville, where Max Barry attended high school.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

New research suggests the Tennessee state legislature is now one of the most politically divided in the South.

Across the 13-state region, only Texas has a legislature that's more polarized, according to a study of all 50 statehouses. 

Researchers say the rise in partisanship appears to be tied to a change in voting patterns in rural areas.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Tennessee's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in at least four decades — just 3.6 percent — and other measures of the state's jobs market are also looking stronger.

Gov. Bill Haslam announced Thursday that the share of Tennesseans who want jobs but can't find them has reached its lowest point since the state began keeping records in 1976. The unemployment rate has also dipped nearly a percentage point below the national figure, which stands at 4.4 percent.

Chas Sisk / WPLN (File photo)

A political scientist at Middle Tennessee State University is predicting next year's race for governor could go down in the books as the state's most expensive race ever.

Kent Syler, an instructor at MTSU and former campaign manager to U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, says the battle to succeed Gov. Bill Haslam should easily eclipse the $20 million he spent to win the office in 2010 and is likely to surpass the state record $34 million that went into the 2006 Senate campaigns of Bob Corker and Harold Ford, Jr.

U.S. House of Representatives via YouTube

A West Tennessee congressman is urging federal authorities to start requiring seat belts on school buses, rather than waiting for districts and states to take action.

Memphis Democrat Steve Cohen pressed the leaders of the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at a hearing this week to explain why they hadn't acted on its own recommendation that school buses have restraints. Cohen says accidents like last year's fatal rollover crash in Chattanooga show that the need for seat belts is urgent.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Political leaders and advocates for the health care industry in Tennessee have begun to turn their attention to the future of Obamacare, after Senate Republicans signaled Tuesday that efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act were likely to fail.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

Tennessee’s Speaker of the House Beth Harwell announced this weekend that she is running for governor, widening the field and immediately setting off jockeying to succeed her.

Monik Markus / via Flickr

Tennessee is inching toward making birth control pills available with a single visit to a pharmacy.

State lawmakers voted over a year ago to eliminate the requirement that women first see a doctor before getting oral contraceptives. But even though Tennessee law has changed, pharmacies haven't been given the final go-ahead to put it into action.

Health officials say the task of drafting final rules has been complicated. 

Chas Sisk / WPLN

The prolonged debate in Congress over health care is having a ripple effect on Tennessee's race for governor, and it may be a few more weeks before the field for 2018 is set.

A key figure is Diane Black. The Congressional representative from Sumner County is a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for governor. But Black has work in Washington she wants to wrap up first, including a job that stems from a major position she holds — chair of the House Budget Committee.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

A prominent mosque in Rutherford County plans to ask state and federal law enforcement to investigate an act of vandalism that occurred early Monday morning.

Members of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro say they found obscenities written in spray paint and slices of bacon wrapped around door handles. The vandals also left a signature and attempted to write a message in bacon on the ground outside a side entrance.

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