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Newly-elected John Rose appointed to top-tier committee

Washington, D.C. – John Rose, Representative for Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District, has been appointed to the prestigious Financial Services Committee. While other new members await their assignments, Rose is among the first to be named to one of only a few “A” committees in the House’s “A, B, and C” committee system.

“It is a great honor to give Tennesseans a voice on the Financial Services Committee,” said Rose. “On this committee, I will work vigorously to roll back burdensome regulations that plague our banking system, especially those impacting small-town banks and the average-Tennessean. It is time to stand up for job-creators, empower community banks, and create lasting reform that will decrease the federal government’s involvement in our daily personal and business lives.”

Rose, a first-time office-holder, campaigned on “Tennessee Values,” which he cited as those conservative measures taken on the state level to make Tennessee one of the top states in the nation to own a business, raise a family and retire. A seat on the powerful Financial Services Committee will give him the chance to be actively involved in some of the most meaningful debate and work in Washington.

“I am absolutely thrilled John will be joining Financial Services. His leadership comes at a critical time for our country’s prosperity,” said Tommy Whittaker, President of The Farmers Bank, which serves Sumner and Robertson counties. “John’s a strong fiscal conservative, pragmatic businessman, and well-versed in the challenges community banks face. He will bring Tennessee’s common sense approach to solving these challenges. John understands small business owners because he is one and he understands the financial decisions Americans make when raising a family because he has a young family of his own. I am proud the Sixth District will be well-represented on such a powerful committee.”

The ranking Republican on Financial Services, Congressman Patrick McHenry (R – NC), applauded Congressman Rose’s appointment, saying, “As a former Commissioner of Agriculture as well as a business owner and director of a national bank, John will provide critical input and diverse expertise to the Financial Services Committee. I’m glad to see him, and his fellow freshman members, recommended to join so we can continue to build on the gains we’ve already achieved for hardworking taxpayers. I look forward to working alongside him in the 116th Congress.”

The 6th District includes 19 counties that stretch from parts of Cheatham County and all of Robertson County down to Coffee County and across the Cumberland Plateau. John Rose is the eighth generation in his family to call the 6th District home. He is a conservative small business owner and farmer who lives with his wife Chelsea and their son Guy in Cookeville.

Congressman-Elect John Rose taps former Congressman Van Hilleary as Chief of Staff

Former Congressman Van Hilleary (left) has been tapped as chief of staff for Tennessee’s 6th District Congressman-Elect John Rose (right).

COOKEVILLE, TN – Congressman-Elect John Rose (TN-6) has tapped former Congressman Van Hilleary as his chief of staff. Hilleary was asked to lead the new Congressman’s staff as Rose aims to make timely, effective constituent services the cornerstone of his service to the people of Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District.

Van Hilleary knows about connecting with constituents; he served as the congressman for Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District from 1995 to 2003. He built a solid conservative record in support of a strong national defense, balanced budgets, tax cuts, business deregulation, the Second Amendment, and rights of the unborn. He left office to run for Governor of Tennessee in 2002 on an education reform and anti-income tax platform, but fell just short in a close race to now former Governor Phil Bredesen.

Congressman-elect Rose, a small businessman and farmer, was a first-time candidate for elective office in 2018. Rose stated, “Having an experienced person like Van Hilleary agree to serve as my chief of staff will greatly benefit me and my constituents from day one. He will bring the Washington know-how to our team, but is not a Washington insider. He is my friend and I could not be more proud to have him on board. Together, we will work to bring the highest level of service to this office so the people I serve are represented in the fullest manner possible.”

State Representative and House Republican Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton of Crossville added, “As a member of his campaign staff in 2002, I was an up-close witness to then-Congressman Hilleary’s renowned work ethic, knowledge of public policy, and respect for the people of Tennessee. I believe Congressman-elect Rose’s inspired selection of such an experienced and accomplished public servant as his chief of staff will pay dividends for him and the people of Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District.”

Also commenting on the selection, State Senator Paul Bailey of Sparta said, “Van Hilleary was a popular and respected congressman in his old congressional district, and a number of those counties are now included in our 6th district. I think he will be a great right hand to Congressman-elect Rose as he seeks to hit the ground

running in Washington, while at the same time making sure his constituents’ needs are addressed in an effective and timely manner.”

Hilleary said, “The day Congressman Diane Black announced she was retiring to run for governor, my first thought was that John Rose should run for that seat. His irreproachable character; background as a successful businessman, lawyer, and farmer; thoughtful approach to public policy issues, and the sincere faith-based life he leads make John Rose exactly the type of person we need in Congress – maybe now more than ever. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him and his family, appreciate the friendship we have formed over many years, and am honored to have the opportunity he has extended to me to again serve the people of Tennessee. I look forward to supporting his efforts in any way I can to help him be the most effective Member of Congress possible and an agent of consequential, positive change for our state and nation.”

The 6th District includes 19 counties that stretch from parts of Cheatham County and all of Robertson County down to Coffee County and across the Cumberland Plateau. John Rose is the eighth generation in his family to call the 6th District home. He is a conservative small business owner and farmer who lives with his wife Chelsea and their son Guy in Cookeville. Rose will be sworn in January 3rd during the opening session of the 116th Congress.

Watts appointed to fill vacant council seat, elected Vice-Mayor of Carthage City Council

Matthew Watts was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Carthage City Council during the meeting of the council on Thursday, December 6, 2018.

A seat on the council was vacated by Councilman Randy Dennis, who chose to step down due to health issues. 

The City of Carthage issued a public notice on November 29, 2018, to inform Carthage citizens that the council would appoint a new member at its next meeting. Qualified citizens were encouraged to submit letters of interest.

Five Carthage citizens—Matthew Watts, Mark Grover, Phillip Kinslow, Roy Ethridge, and Kevin Burris—submitted letters expressing interest in the position. Each potential candidate was given three minutes to address the council and explain why they wished to serve on the Carthage City Council.

After hearing from all the candidates, the council voted 4-1 to appoint Matthew Watts to fill the unexpired term. 

Watts has previously served on the Carthage City Council, and his name appeared as an incumbent on the November 6, 2018, ballot. He received a total of 204 votes, coming in behind Cole Ebel (314 votes), Sam Petty (260), and Billy K. Reece (254 votes).

Watts was sworn in following the council’s vote. Watts’s term began on December 6, 2018, and will continue until November 3, 2020.

The Carthage City Council also elected a Vice-Mayor during the December 6 meeting. 

Councilwoman Barbara Kanappel was initially nominated for the position but respectfully declined the nomination.

Councilman Watts, Councilwoman Scott, and Councilman Ebel expressed interest in the Vice-Mayor position, and the council took a vote on those three candidates. 

The Carthage City Council voted 5-1 to elect Matthew Watts to serve as Vice-Mayor of the Carthage City Council. 

The following members currently sit on the Carthage City Council:

  • Mayor Sarah Marie Smith
  • Vice-Mayor Matt Watts
  • Councilwoman Barbara Kannapel
  • Councilwoman Jacquelyn M. Scott
  • Councilman Sam Petty
  • Councilman Bill K. Reece
  • Councilman Cole Ebel

The Carthage City Council meets at 6:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month inside the James A. Clay Municipal Building in Carthage, Tennessee.

The next meeting of the Carthage City Council will be held on Thursday, January 3, 2019. This meeting will be live-streamed by Smith County Insider.

Interested citizens can stay updated on the Town of Carthage by visiting this website or checking the town’s Facebook page.

November 6, 2018 General Election Results

CARTHAGE, Tenn.—Results are in for the November 6, 2018, General Election in Smith County, Tennessee. Polls were open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on November 6, and voters had the opportunity to vote early between October 17 and November 1.

Early voting numbers were strong all across the state. Across Tennessee, 1,378,840 voters cast their vote early. 3,810 of those voters were from Smith County.

On Election Day, many more Tennesseans made their voices heard. In Smith County, 2,795  voters showed up to the polls on November 6, bringing the total number of votes cast in Smith County to 6,605. This amounts to a voter turnout of 55.87%. 

Reports from the Smith County Election Commission detailing local election results began to come in around 7:45 p.m. on the night of November 6.

Results from the City of Carthage were among the first to come in. 

Sarah Marie Smith was elected Mayor of Carthage. She narrowly edged out her opponent, Incumbent Mayor Donnie Dennis by a total of 27 votes. Smith received 313 votes, compared to 286 votes for Dennis. 

Cole Ebel, Sam Petty, and Billy “Bill” K. Reece were elected Aldermen of Carthage.

369 (72.64%) Carthage citizens voted for the sale of wine in food stores, compared to 139 (27.36%) who voted against the referendum. 

Voters in the city of Gordonsville also elected three city Aldermen. John Potts, Michael Harpe, and Charles Proffit will now sit on the Gordonsville City Council. 

County-wide, voters voted for the repeal of the Sales Tax Referendum by a total of 3412 (58.36%) votes in favor and 2434 (41.64%) votes against.

Additionally, Terri Lynn Weaver will retain her seat as Tennessee State Representative. Weaver ran unopposed and received 4885 votes in Smith County, totaling 95.39% of votes cast in the county.

Mark Pody will also retain his seat as State Senator for District 17 in Tennessee. He won over Democratic opponent Mari Alice Carfi. In Smith County, Pody received 4052 votes (67.28%), compared to 1966 votes (32.64%) cast for Carfi.

John Rose has officially been declared the winner of the United States House of Representatives race. Rose will be the next Representative for Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. Rose won out over Democratic opponent Dr. Dawn Barlow and Independent opponents David Ross and Lloyd Dunn. In Smith County, Rose received 4576 votes (75.81%). 

Marsha Blackburn emerged victorious over her opponent Phil Bredesen in the highly contested U.S. Senate race. Blackburn received 4310 votes (66.20%) in Smith County, compared to 2108 (32.38%) votes for Bredesen. 

Bill Lee was elected Governor of Tennessee, emerging victorious over Democratic opponent Karl Dean. Lee carried 72.38% of the vote in Smith County, compared to 26.78% for Dean.

For a complete list of election percentages and results in Smith County, visit the Smith County Election Commission website. 

For state-wide totals, visit the website of the Tennessee Secretary of State.

John Rose wins Tennessee’s 6th Congressional Seat

COOKEVILLE, TN – John Rose has won the race for Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. The race was called shortly after 7pm with Rose ahead by 41%. Rose was the Republican nominee for the open seat held by Congressman Diane Black that includes all or part of 19 counties east and northeast of Nashville.

“I am excited to get to work in Congress for the people of the 6th District,” Rose said. Rose is a solid conservative who is a native of the district. He is a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, endorsed by the NRA, and is 100% pro-life.

Rose has pledged to take Tennessee values to Washington and get Washington out of Tennessee by using a common-sense approach to solving the nation’s problems. Rose stated, “We need to take on our debt issue instead of shy away from it, build the wall, support our president, and create a healthcare system that works for all Americans. We have a lot of work to do, but I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

The Rose Campaign knocked on over 60,000 doors and made over 80,000 phone calls to voters over the course of the campaign. Rose attended hundreds of events across the district and will keep that same energy of meeting constituents in the future. “I am honored by the support I have received in this race and I will do my absolute best to represent my family, friends, and community here in the 6th District,” Rose said.

Sarah Marie Smith elected Mayor of Carthage

CARTHAGE, Tenn.—Results are in for the highly contested mayor race in Carthage, Tennessee. On November 6, 2018, voters in Carthage decided that Sarah Marie Smith would be the next mayor of their town.

Sarah Marie Smith narrowly emerged victorious over her opponent, Incumbent Mayor Donnie Dennis. 

Smith received a total of 313 votes, amounting to 51.74% of votes cast in the mayoral race. Dennis received 286 votes, amounting to 47.27%.

Early voting turnout strong ahead of November 6 election

CARTHAGE, Tenn.— Many Smith County citizens took advantage of early voting ahead of tomorrow’s General Election. According to reports published by the Tennessee Secretary of State, a grand total of 3,793 Smith County voters participated in early voting.

Four years ago, only 2,274 voters chose to vote early in the November 2014 General Election, accounting for just under half of total votes cast.

Early voting in this election cycle began on October 17 and continued through November 1. 

Election Day is set for Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Registered voters will be able to cast their votes at their precinct location anytime between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Read below to see the voting locations for all 8 Districts in Smith County:

District 1 – Defeated 

The Carver Barn

315 Defeated Creek Highway

Carthage, TN 37030


District 2 – Tanglewood 

Smith County Motor Company

211 Dixon Springs Highway

Carthage, TN 37030


District 3 – New Middleton

New Middleton Elementary School

402 New Middleton Highway

Gordonsville, TN 38563


District 4 – Rock City

Union Heights Elementary School

663 Lebanon Highway

Carthage, TN 37030


District 5 – Gordonsville

Gordonsville Municipal Building

63 Main Street East

Gordonsville, TN 38563


District 6 – Carthage 

Chamber of Commerce

939 Upper Ferry Road 

Carthage, TN 37030


District 7 – South Carthage

Senior Citizens Building

120 Pauline Gore Way, Suite B

Carthage, TN 37030


District 8 – Elmwood

Forks River Elementary School

611 Cookeville Highway

Elmwood, TN 38560


The November 2018 ballot will include candidates for Tennessee Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives (6th Congressional District), TN State Senate (17th District), and TN House of Representatives (40th District). Smith County citizens will also be able to vote for or against the Sales Tax Referendum.

Citizens of Carthage will cast their votes for Mayor of Carthage and three City Aldermen. They will also be able to vote for or against the sale of wine at retail and food stores in Carthage. 

Citizens of Gordonsville will vote for three City Aldermen. 

Please remember that Smith County residents must be registered to vote and must be able to present a valid photo ID issued by the Tennessee or U.S. government in order to vote in the November 6 election. 

For more information, visit the Smith County Election Commission website.

Community Update: Carthage Mayor, Donnie Dennis

Since Donnie Dennis has taken over as Mayor of Carthage, the town has seen vast improvements throughout all of the city.

Recently, SCI had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Mayor Dennis about these accomplishments, and what his plans are for the town in the future.

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John Potts announces candidacy for Gordonsville City Council

My name is John Potts and I am running for Gordonsville’s town council. I was nominated for the vacated seat of town council two years ago and gladly accepted. I’m offered a unique view of the town and its residents because I’m an employee of the town. I see their individual needs and hear each individual concern.

I have been blessed to grow up in our small town and know the importance of it’s small town values. However, change is coming to our town. We are at a crossroad of growth, both commercial and residential. I want to see Gordonsville be on the forefront of growth in Smith County with our unique access to the interstate. I’d like to see Gordonsville communicate and work closer with the county, Carthage and South Carthage as well as the entire Upper Cumberland region. I know we will have our growing pains, but I will do all I can to keep Gordonsville a wonderful place to work and raise a family. I would like to better utilize government agencies that are available to small growing communities like ours.

I’m married to Heather Potts and we have two kids. Ethan is 20 and Trinity is 16.  Heather, Ethan and I have all graduated from GHS as Trinity will in 2020. We are members of Gordonsville First Baptist.

I’m invested in our town as much as I possibly can be. As always, I will be available when needed to the town and its residents. I look forward to being able to continue my service. I appreciate your support.

Sam Petty announces candidacy for Carthage City Council

Sam Petty

I am Sam Petty, and I am announcing my candidacy for Alderman of Carthage.

I am a 3rd generation lifelong citizen of our town. My wife, Pam, and I have raised two children, our son Matt, and our daughter Lindsey Petty Dixon. Both children were educated at our local schools.

I have 39 years experience running businesses as well as 28 years involved with Chambers of Commerce in Tennessee. These experiences have, I believe, helped me to understand that Carthage is not an island, but we are operating in a regional and “global” world. These experiences will lend help toward addressing Carthage’s future problems. 

My experiences with 14 counties has revealed to me that Carthage over the years has been a very well run town. That being said, we are facing some infrastructure situations which I hope I can help to address with my regional experience.

I will not clutter our town with yard signs and will not bang on your door interrupting your family time asking for your vote. I do hope you will think about my experience, my love for this town, and my willingness to do my best at all times to work toward a common goal: to keep Carthage the growing, friendly, and safe place that we are proud to call home. 

Early Voting Begins Across Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Early voting for the Nov. 6 election begins Wed., Oct. 17.

Early voting runs Mondays through Saturdays and ends Thursday, Nov. 1. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. The voter registration deadline ahead of this election was Tuesday, Oct. 9.

“Tennesseans broke August early voting records as they selected nominees and elected county officials, and I know interest remains high as voters prepare to select leaders across all levels of government on the November ballot,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “Early voting offers voters more opportunities to find a convenient time to cast their ballots.”

Voters can download the GoVoteTN app, available in the App Store or Google Play, to view voter-specific information. Voters can find early voting and Election Day polling locations, view and mark sample ballots and much more. The platform is also available at GoVoteTN.com.

“Each county election commission sets their own locations and hours for early voting, and voters can check information for their county before they head to the polls by using our app,” Secretary Hargett said.

State law requires polling locations and the area within a 100-foot boundary surrounding each entrance remain campaign-free zones. Tennessee law prohibits the display or distribution of campaign materials and the solicitation of votes for or against any person, party or question on the ballot in these areas.

Tennesseans voting early or on Election Day should remember to bring valid photo identification with them to the polls. A driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security as well as photo IDs issued by Tennessee state government or the federal government are acceptable even if they are expired. College student IDs are not acceptable.

More information about what types of ID are acceptable can be found here: What ID is required when voting? <https://t.e2ma.net/click/izk9l0/uklxtt/at2wcgh> or by calling toll free 1-877-850-4959.

Smith County Republican Picnic set for October 11, 2018

The Smith County GOP and the Smith County Young Republicans will host a Smith County Republican Picnic on Thursday, October 11, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. The picnic will be held at Dr. David McDonald’s farm in South Carthage at 137 McCall Street.

The picnic menu will feature barbecue, chips, drinks, and desserts.

All republican political candidates are invited to attend.

Senator Mark Pody, Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, and Congressional candidate Mr. John Rose have confirmed that they will be in attendance.

You can RSVP and learn more about the picnic on Facebook.

Smith County Insider Candidate Forum and Meet & Greet set for October 15

The Smith County Insider Candidate Forum and Meet & Greet will be held on Monday night, October 15, 2018. The event will begin with a Meet and Greet at 6:00pm, followed by a Forum led and moderated by Matthew Inyart at 7:00pm. The event will take place at the Smith County Ag Center located at 159 Ag Center Lane – Carthage, TN 37030.

The Smith County Candidate Forum and Meet & Greet offers Smith County community members the opportunity to become more informed citizens. *ALL candidates are invited to attend, but must register with Smith County Insider by October 12, 2018. A list of confirmed candidates will be updated and listed leading up to the event.

All candidates running for Gordonsville and Carthage Alderman, Carthage Mayor, State Representative, State Senator, U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, and Governor of Tennessee are invited to attend.

The event is sponsored by the Smith County Democratic Party and the Smith County Young Republicans.

Candidates will have the opportunity to speak for 3 minutes.


Tennessee Secretary of State Cautions Voters Against Misleading Election Information

Below is a press release issued by Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett concerning voter registration:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett is warning voters to be aware of misleading information regarding voter registration as the deadline to register for the November election approaches on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

The Office of the Secretary of State has received reports of groups contacting registered voters and telling them that they are not registered to vote. Others have reported receiving pre-populated voter registration forms for individuals who are deceased and have been removed from the voting rolls.

The National Association of Secretaries of State has warned states about a scam where an organization is making calls and offering to register voters by phone. While these calls have not been reported in Tennessee, voters should be aware that they cannot register by talking to a person on the phone.

“To avoid misleading information, I urge voters to come straight to the source,” Secretary Hargett said. “Tennessee’s election officials are dedicated to making sure voters have all the information they need to participate in the November election.”

For accurate information regarding voter registration in Tennessee, voters are encouraged to visit GoVoteTN.com to register to vote or check their registration status. Voters can also contact the Division of Elections at 1-877-850-4959 or their county election commission with any questions about voter registration.

Registering to vote is easy in Tennessee. Tennessee citizens may register by-mail or online.  Online voter registration allows any U.S. citizen with a driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security to register online.

Voters can also download the GoVoteTN app, available in the App Store or Google Play, to view voter-specific information. Voters can find early voting and Election Day polling locations, view and mark sample ballots and much more.


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