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John Rose Announces Run for 6th District U.S. House Seat

John Rose of Temperance Hall announced Thursday he will be seeking the Republican nomination for Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Rose is a small business owner and farmer who was raised in Cookeville and has spent his life in the 6th district. In fact, he is the eighth generation in his family to own and operate the family farm in DeKalb and Smith Counties.

Rose is a not a career politician and plans to use his fresh perspective to effect change on the federal level.

“We have spoken loud and clear in this district with our votes that we want conservative values at the center of our government; such as working to stop illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, repealing Obamacare, protection of our 2nd Amendment rights, and support for our military and law enforcement,” says Rose. “I will have President Trump’s back and fight the Washington liberals and elites, while putting Tennesseans first every single day.”

Aside from farming, Rose owns Boson Software and Training, an information technology company focused on helping IT professionals gain skills critical to the workforce. He also co- founded Transcender Corp., a software company that created and led the IT certification training niche for several years before the company was sold in 2000.

Rose holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in agriculture from Tennessee Tech University and Purdue University, respectively. He also earned a Law Degree from Vanderbilt University in 1993. Though he maintains his law license, Rose only practiced a short time before seizing an opportunity to follow his lifelong passion for agriculture by moving to and operating his family’s farm.

In 2002, at the age of 37, Rose was appointed Tennessee’s 33rd Commissioner of Agriculture. He has also been chairman for the Tennessee Future Farmers of America (FFA) Foundation and the Tennessee Tech University Foundation and is presently chairman for the Tennessee State Fair Association. These are a few of many volunteer roles Rose has assumed over the years, which also include board positions with the Tennessee Board of Regents, the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission. He is also a voting

member of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and a life member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Rose is married to Macon County native, Chelsea (Doss) Rose. They are expecting their first child in October. The couple attends church at Buffalo Valley Church of Christ in Putnam County and are actively involved in their community, most recently hosting the 13th Annual Lancaster Independence Day Parade on their farm.

Rose cites his optimism for a better America as his impetus for running. “I know America can be great again and will be great again. It takes leaders willing to make the right call, sometimes the tough call,” said Rose. “I am prepared to take bold action in Washington that will make life better for Tennesseans across the nineteen counties that make up the sixth district.”

Rose says he has already visited with many civic and business leaders throughout the district and plans to make visits in every county in the district by the end of August. Information about his campaign can be found at

Tennessee’s sixth district seat is currently held by Diane Black (R – Gallatin) who announced recently that she will be running for Governor in 2018.


Farmer and small business owner John Rose (above) of Temperance Hall announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District.

Paid for by John Rose for Tennessee

Conservative Diane Black Marches into Governor’s Race

GALLATIN, Tennessee – Diane Black first hit the stage in Tennessee as a toughminded legislator who bucked her own party’s Governor to help stop a state income tax. Now, Black herself is aiming for that job with a commitment to keep her independent streak.

The former nurse from Gallatin and the first woman in history to Chair the House Budget Committee, Black announced she will run for Governor one year from the date of the 2018 Republican primary with a video sent to Tennessee Republicans.

Most people in politics say the right things, but never fight for the right things.  They’re too meek – or maybe too weak,” Black said. “We believe in absolute truths. Right is right. Wrong is wrong. Truth is truth. God is God. A life is a life. And we don’t back down from any of it. That’s exactly the kind of Governor I will be.”

Black has a strong following among conservatives in Middle Tennessee and has never lost a primary or an election. As Budget Chair, she has been a key ally of President Donald Trump and one of Congress’s most successful pro-life legislators.

In Tennessee, Black not only helped defeat the state income tax, she passed the legislation that led to the adoption of Tennessee’s strong pro-life Constitutional amendment.

Black has succeeded by running grass-roots focused campaigns and she starts her campaign with an appeal to expand that volunteer army. “If you are ready for a Governor who fights for what’s right, then I need you on my team,” Black said to close her video.

Check out


Judd Matheny enters race for 6th Congressional District

Judd Matheny, an eight term Tennessee State Representative, formally announces that he is a candidate in the Republican primary for Congress in Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District.

Matheny is a Veteran of the Tennessee Army National Guard, and a Veteran of local and state law enforcement.  He has been one of Tennessee’s most consistently conservative legislators and activists.

Judd has been on the front lines fighting the prescription drug abuse and methamphetamine epidemics in Tennessee.

He has a perfect record protecting the unborn and our Second Amendment.

Judd opposes illegal immigration and was just recently responsible for leading the successful fight to stop Nashville City Council ‘s attempt to become a sanctuary city.

During the forced attempt to implement Common Core by establishment Republicans, Matheny orchestrated a maneuver to stop the initiative with only a handful of fellow House conservatives.

Judd has been a leader in bringing awareness to the needs of our burgeoning senior population and fought relentlessly to provide better housing, transportation and healthcare for the rapidly growing demographic.

As a strong advocate in federalism and the sovereign authority of states as defined in our Constitution, Matheny has constantly worked to improve dialogue, cooperation and the restoration of the balance of powers between not only the federal and state governments but also their respective, individual branches.

As the next Congressman from Tennessee, Matheny will be the only federally elected official to have a full time staff member in Nashville to liaise on a day-to-day basis with the Tennessee General Assembly, during legislative sessions.  This arrangement will help ensure Tennessee and Washington, D.C. are in constant communication and that there is cooperation between the two governing bodies. Judd Matheny has been delivering the messages and implementing the declared policies of President Trump for over 15 years:

  1. Lower taxes
  2. Fewer regulations
  3. Reined in government spending
  4. Private sector economic growth
  5. Enforcement of the rule of law
  6. Authority to the individual states
  7. Individual responsibility and economic freedom
  8. Providing strong security to protect Americans.

Matheny also believes, along with the voters in the 6th Congressional District, that our Federal Government must not be allowed to dictate Tennessee’s definition of marriage, our bathroom policies or the makings of a school lunch.  Citizens of Tennessee must not be forced to follow distorted ideas of social justice from organizations that actively vow to destroy our conservative way of life by forcing these and similar policies into our daily lives, businesses and institutions. In addition, Judd does not believe we should be forced to accept refugees from America’s enemies who don’t and will not respect our values or way of life. Judd Matheny is married to his wife, Christy, of 18 years.   They have two children in high school and all three have been full supporters of his years in politics.

For more information, contact Jennifer Hamblin, (615) 504-0244

Town of Gordonsville is now accepting bids on new fire station


This project consists of the construction of a new Fire Station to serve the Town of Gordonsville, Smith County, Tennessee. The proposed construction includes the following:

  1. Construction of Fire Station: Includes all materials, roofing, demolition, building, concrete, erection, insulation, electrical, heating, lighting, HVAC, painting, and all other work incidental to completing the building construction as shown on the plans and included in the specifications. The building will include approximately 1,250 square feet of office/open space and approximately 2,450 square feet for three apparatus bays.
  2. Paving Work: Includes all asphalt paving, striping, and all other related work incidental to complete the work as shown on the site plans and included in the specifications.
  3. Concrete Work: Includes all concrete paving and concrete sidewalk and all other work incidental to completing the work as shown on the plans and included in the specifications.

**NOTE: Site and Utility work, including all grading, stone, site work, and utility work shall be done by others as a separate contract. The contractor for the building will connect to the lines installed by others at a minimum of 5 feet outside the building.

The construction and installation includes all materials, labor, equipment and all other items necessary to complete the work. Each Bidder shall note that any request for interpretation regarding the plans, specifications or other bidding documents shall be received at least five (5) days prior (Friday, July 7, 2017) to the date fixed for the opening of bids.

Sealed bids will be received by the Town of Gordonsville, 63 East Main Street, Gordonsville, Tennessee 38563 until
2:00 p.m. local time, Thursday, July 13, 2017, and then will be publicly opened and read aloud. All bids must be made out on the Bid Form found in the Contract Documents. The instructions to Bidders, Form of Agreement, Specifications and other bidding instruments may be examined at the following locations:

Town of Gordonsville
63 East Main Street Gordonsville, Tennessee 38563

Warren and Associates Engineering, PLLC 109 Pennsylvania Avenue
Lebanon, Tennessee 37087

Questions concerning the plans or bidding documents should be directed to the attention of Jerry B. Warren, P.E. of Warren and Associates, Telephone: 615-444-2996, Fax: 615-444-2961. Copies of the bidding instruments may be obtained at the Engineer’s Office in Lebanon, Tennessee for the non-refundable fee of $200 per set.

With bid, each Bidder must deposit security in the amount of five percent (5%) of the amount of the bid, subject to the conditions stated in the Instructions to Bidders. Performance and Labor and Material Bond each in the amount of one hundred percent (100%) of the contract sum will be required of the successful Contractor. Bids may not be withdrawn for a period of 60 days after bid opening.

All Bidders must be licensed Contractors as required by Chapter 6 of Title 62 of the Tennessee Codes Annotated). In accordance with Tennessee Codes Annotated 62-6-119, no bid will be opened unless the outside of the sealed envelope containing the bid provides the following information: the Contractor’s license number, the date of the license’s expiration, and a quotation of that part of his classification applying to the bid. In the case of joint ventures, this information must be provided by each party submitting the bid.

The successful Bidder must agree to fully complete the project within 180 consecutive calendar days from and including the day of issuance of the Notice to Proceed from the Town of Gordonsville.

Bidder must agree to pay, as liquidated damages, the sum of $1,000.00 per each calendar day thereafter as hereinafter provided.

The Town of Gordonsville reserves the right to reject any or all bids and to waive any informalities in bids, to evaluate bids and to accept any bid which, in the Owner’s opinion, may be in the best interest of the Owner.

No contract is given or implied to the successful Bidder until the project is fully funded and a written contract is offered by the Town of Gordonsville and signed by all parties.

Event marks signing of resolution sponsored by Sen. Beavers and Rep. Weaver recognizing pornography as a public health hazard in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, (June 2017) –  An event marking Governor Bill Haslam’s signing of a resolution recognizing pornography as a public health hazard in the State of Tennessee took place on Wednesday at the State Capitol in Nashville.  Senate Joint Resolution 35, sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), acknowledges that it leads to a broad spectrum of individual and societal harms.  It also acknowledges the need for education, prevention, research and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address it.

“This resolution acknowledges the problems that we face with pornography in Tennessee today,” said Senator Beavers.  “It is destructive to the health and well-being of our society as a whole, particularly the children who are increasingly exposed to it.”

“I was honored to carry this vital piece of legislation on the House side,” said Rep. Weaver.  “In Tennessee and all around the world, our culture is inundated with pornography that harms children and our society as a whole for generations to come.  I am very pleased this resolution has passed.”

Beavers and Weaver said the resolution particularly stresses the harm pornography poses to children due to advances in technology and the universal availability of the internet which has led to young children being exposed at an alarming rate.  Twenty-seven percent of millennials reported they first viewed pornography before reaching puberty. Internet safety is the 4th top ranked issue on the list of health concerns for U.S. children.

Utah, South Dakota, Arkansas and Virginia have also declared the pornography industry to be a public health crisis.


Mark Pody Enters Race for the 17th Senatorial Seat

Mark Pody

Lebanon, Tenn. – Mark Pody, a businessman, insurance agency owner, and current state representative, launched his highly anticipated campaign for Tennessee’s 17th State Senate District on Friday, announced the Pody campaign.

Looking at the future of middle Tennessee, Mark Pody is focused on two priorities. The first is conservative fiscal policies. “We need to limit the size and scope of government. Not every good idea should be a government idea,” said Pody. “Many good ideas are best done by individuals, church and non-profits, not by state government.” Pody believes government has a limited role and taxpayer money needs to be spent effectively on only programs that fit that role of government.

The second priority for Pody is bringing high paying quality jobs to the district. He feels the best way to gain these high paying jobs is to create an environment in the state where businesses want to relocate and expand. This is done by having a highly educated workforce, commonsense regulations, and favorable tax policies for incoming businesses.

Mark Pody has more than three decades of experience fighting as a small business owner against the overreaching of our government. Pody believes in smaller government that is as close to the local level as possible. As a Tennessee Representative, he led the charge to stand against growing government. He has fought to slow the growth of government where ever possible. Living in middle Tennessee for over 32 years Pody has witnessed the economic down turns and the tremendous economic growth of middle Tennessee. With that fluctuation in our economy in mind, Mark Pody strongly advocates for a state rainy day fund of at least 1 BILLION dollars. That will help tax payers through the up and down economic turns of the future.

Mark Pody is married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara. They have just celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary. They have two adult children, Kristina and Amy. Tennessee’s 17th state senate district includes the counties of Wilson, Cannon, Dekalb, Clay, Smith and Macon.


Tennessee’s Public Infrastructure Needs Increased to $43.4 Billion

Smith County’s Share Is $101.9 million

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee needs at least $43.4 billion of public infrastructure improvements to be in some stage of development during the five-year period of July 2015 through June 2020. Public infrastructure improvements for Smith County total $101.9 million, a decrease of $11.0 million (9.8%) since last year’s report, according to a new report released by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR).

The current report, which is based on information provided by state and local officials, shows an increase of $29.7 billion in the entire state’s infrastructure needs since the first inventory was published in 1998 and an increase of $3 billion (7.4%) from the August 2016 report.

Statewide, the top three areas of need are

  •   Transportation at $24.4 billion,
  •   Post-secondary education at $4.8 billion, and
  •   Water and wastewater at $4.3 billion.

    Officials report Smith County’s top three areas of need as

  •   Transportation at $87.1 million,
  •   Water and wastewater at $6.1 million, and
  •   New public schools & additions at $5.6 million.

    The county’s total estimated cost for new or improved infrastructure is $5,284 per capita, compared with $6,578 per capita statewide. Smith County’s estimated transportation needs per capita amount to $4,512, higher than the statewide estimate of $3,702 per capita. Smith County reported water and wastewater infrastructure needs at $314 per capita, lower than the statewide average of $647 per capita. As for new public schools & additions infrastructure improvements, Smith County reported $288 per capita, which is lower than the statewide average of $369 per capita.

    Less than half of the money needed to meet Tennessee’s public infrastructure needs has been identified. Of the $33.9 billion in needs for which the availability of funding was reported statewide, officials are confident that $12.5 billion (37%) of that amount will be available. About $18.4 million (19.6%) of the $94.1 million total funding needed to meet Smith County’s infrastructure needs has been identified.

Among Tennessee’s 95 counties, Smith County ranked

  •   65th in total population (19,295),
  •   53rd in population change between 2000 and 2015 (1,479),
  •   43rd in population growth rate since 2000 (8.3%),
  •   52nd in population density at 61 people per square mile,
  •   70th in total estimated infrastructure needs ($101.9 million),
  •   59th in total estimated infrastructure needs per capita ($5,284), and
  •   43rd in total public school needs per student ($2,491).

    This report is the only source of statewide information on the condition of public school buildings and the cost to put them all in good or better condition. According to local school officials, 91.9% of local public schools are now in good or excellent condition. However, they estimate the cost to put the remaining 8.1% in good or better condition and keep the others in good or excellent condition at $2.0 billion, which is a $235 million increase from the cost reported in the previous inventory.

    Officials in Smith County did not rate any of their school buildings as less than good overall. This compares favorably with the statewide figure of 8.1% of school buildings that are in less than good condition. Local officials estimate the cost to upgrade or maintain existing schools to good or better condition at $7.0 million for the Smith County school system. The cost to bring all areas of all Tennessee public school buildings up to good condition is $2,314 per student statewide compared with $647 per student in Smith County.

    This years’ report is organized differently than in previous years. A single statewide overview chapter provides information by type of infrastructure, the condition and needs of our public school facilities, the availability of funding to meet reported needs, and a comparison of county-area needs. Following that section, one-page summaries for each county-area lists the estimated cost for all types of infrastructure by stage of development. The summaries also highlight the top three types of infrastructure improvements needed in each county based on total estimated cost and provide comparisons of the infrastructure needed at public school systems to student enrollment. Further detailed county-area information about each type of infrastructure in the inventory, along with relevant legislation, inventory forms, and a glossary of terms, can be found in the appendixes to the report.

    TACIR Mission

    TACIR’s mission is to serve as a forum for the discussion and resolution of intergovernmental problems, provide high quality research support to state and local government officials in order to improve the overall quality of government in Tennessee, and to improve the effectiveness of the intergovernmental system to better serve the citizens of Tennessee.

Transportation Coalition of Tennessee Launches Statewide Media Tour to Detail Improve Act Projects

Provides $29,841,647 in Transportation Infrastructure Projects in Smith County

NASHVILLE (May 15, 2017)– The Transportation Coalition of Tennessee held a series of news conferences today to discuss the impact of the IMPROVE Act’s projects on different areas of the state. As part of the series, a press conference was held to detail how specific projects will affect Smith County residents.

The total impact for Smith County is $8,762,647 for the combined revenue to cities and counties as well as the Tennessee Department of Transportation road and bridge projects, totaling $21,079,000 from the IMPROVE Act.

Materials were distributed showing the twelve TDOT-funded projects in Smith County.

The day marks the kick-off of a 95-county tour to discuss specific projects in every area of the state.

The IMPROVE Act creates a long-term, dedicated funding source to fix outdated transportation infrastructure by making a modest increase to the user fees on its roads and bridges while providing a tax cut to the grocery, business and Hall income taxes.

The increase in the user fees means Tennessee residents won’t shoulder the entire burden alone, as revenue will be captured from visiting tourists and the trucks that move goods through the state. This continues Tennessee’s history as a pay-as-you-go state, meaning the people who use the roads pay for their upkeep.

“Governor Bill Haslam’s IMPROVE Act is the fiscally responsible way to fund transportation infrastructure projects, using an increase in the user fee offset by giving Tennessee residents the largest tax cut in our state’s history,” said Susie Alcorn, executive director of the Tennessee Infrastructure Alliance.

The IMPROVE Act prioritizes 962 projects across all of Tennessee’s 95 counties, addressing a $10.5 billion backlog in repairs and updates. The legislation also includes a local option for municipalities to hold their own referendums for tax increases to fund local transportation needs and provides property tax relief to veterans and the elderly.

The link to the resource web page is

For more information or to join the Transportation Coalition of Tennessee, visit its website at

About the Transportation Coalition of Tennessee

The Transportation Coalition of Tennessee was created to educate the public and state legislators as it seeks an increase of and reform in Tennessee’s transportation fees. The coalition aims to recruit other interested parties to join in seeking a comprehensive funding solution to maintain and expand Tennessee’s critical transportation system.

Participants in the Transportation Coalition of Tennessee include businesses, citizens, community leaders, public officials and organizations that are interested in continuing Tennessee’s transportation infrastructure for the long haul.

The Transportation Coalition steering committee includes representatives from the Tennessee Infrastructure Alliance, Auto Club Group/AAA Tennessee, Tennessee Public Transportation Association, Tennessee Trucking Association, Tennessee County Highway Officials Association, Tennessee Municipal League, Tennessee City Management Association, American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee and Tennessee Road Builders Association.

Tennessee is a pay-as-you-go state, with transportation projects funded primarily by state and federal fuel tax revenues. The dollars are apportioned for state and local projects, which include maintenance, repair and new construction.

For more information or to join the Transportation Coalition of Tennessee, visit the website at

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New County Commissioner elected to fill vacant seat

(Smith County Insider Press) Carthage, Tenn. – On Monday night, May 8, at the Smith County Commission meeting, a new member of the commission was elected to fill the vacant seat for District 4 (Rome/Rock City), formerly held by Josh Kirby. Matthew J. Inyart was elected by the commission with at 22 to 1 vote to fill the vacant seat. The only two individuals that submitted their names and resumes for consideration to fill the empty seat were Matthew J. Inyart and Erika Ebel.

Josh Kirby resigned his seat on the County Commission on April 6, 2017. In a letter to Mayor Nesbitt, Kirby stated, “It has been my honor to serve as a county commissioner for District 4.” Kirby went on to say the due to his growing business and spending time with his children, he felt that it affected him to serve his fullest potential as county commissioner.

Matthew J. Inyart was sworn into office the following day at the Smith County Mayor’s office. Matthew and his wife Stephanie reside in the Rome Community with their son Cooper. Matthew is a member of the Southside Lions Club, Gordonsville UMC, Carthage Masonic Lodge, Al Menah Shrine and New Middleton Masonic Lodge.

Mathew J. Inyart (District 4 Commissioner) and Michael Nesbitt – Smith County Mayor

$50 wheel tax on course to be repealed

(Smith County Insider Press) Carthage, Tenn. –  On Monday night, May 8, the Smith County Commission unanimously voted on the first reading of a resolution to repeal the $50 privilege tax or “wheel tax” for motor vehicles and to repeal the $25 privilege tax for motorcycles.

In 1999 the Smith County Commission adopted and approved a resolution to levy a county-wide wheel tax in the amount of $50 and a $25 wheel tax for motorcycles in 2006. These taxes were to be used exclusively for school bond debt retirement and indebtedness.The wheel tax along with a portion of property and sales tax revenue and an annual payment of $296,000 from the Smith County Board of Education were used to fund the 26.2 million dollar school building project which resulted in new high schools in Gordonsville and Carthage. The resolutions from 1999 and 2006 were put on a referendum for public vote, and both passed by the voters of Smith County.

The current budget and finance committee and Smith County Mayor, Michael Nesbitt, researched and determined that the remaining portion of the school debt could be paid off without needing the wheel tax revenue. The wheel tax revenue for motor vehicles and motorcycles accumulated approximately $900,000 in annual revenue.

If the resolution passes the second reading at the June 2017 County Commission Meeting, then the repeal of the wheel tax will take effect on October 1, 2017. 

The school debt was scheduled to be paid in full by 2021, but is now estimated to be paid off early in 2019.



Senator Paul Bailey and Representative Ryan Williams Receive “Legislator of the Year” Awards

TDDA Honors Area Legislators

NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 15, 2017 – Senator Paul Bailey and Representative Ryan Williams have received “Legislator of the Year” Awards from the Tennessee Development District Association (TDDA). The awards were made by the Upper Cumberland Development District and several Upper Cumberland mayors on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 during TDDA’s Day on the Hill.

The TDDA is an association of Tennessee’s nine development districts, which are regional planning and economic development organizations. These policy boards within each District are made up of the state’s 95 counties and 340 municipalities. Development districts assist with regional issues including planning and economic development coordination, transportation, solid waste, loans and grants for critical infrastructure such as water and sewer systems, housing, tourism, economic development loans, environmental quality and natural resources planning, workforce development and services to the elderly.

“The awards are given based on nominations from each of the nine development districts to those legislators who have shown leadership and put forth considerable effort on behalf of their cities and counties,” said Mark Farley, Executive Director of Upper Cumberland Development District. “Both Senator Bailey and Representative Williams understand the needs of our rural region and continue to advocate, sponsor and support needed changes in economic development to bring success to the people and businesses of the Upper Cumberland.”

“We appreciate the support Senator Bailey and Representative Williams have given our local governments in the legislature,” said Richard Driver, TDDA President and City of Lafayette Mayor.

The Upper Cumberland Development District provides regional planning and assistance to the 14-county Upper Cumberland region to promote economic growth and community enhancement. Find UCDD on the web at and at

Pictured left to right: Sarah Cunningham, UCDD Legislative & Communications Coordinator; Tommy Lee, UCDD Economic & Community Development Director; Donnie Dennis, Mayor of Carthage; Dale Raegan, Clay County Executive; Ben Danner, Overton County Executive; Representative Ryan Williams; Steve Jones, Macon County Executive; Denny Wayne Robinson, White County Executive; Mark Farley, UCDD Executive Director; and Megan Choate, UCDD Lending & Economic Development Director.

Pictured left to right: Megan Choate, UCDD Lending & Economic Development Director; Donnie Dennis, Mayor of Carthage; Dale Raegan, Clay County Executive; Senator Paul Bailey; Steve Jones, Macon County Executive; Denny Wayne Robinson, White County Executive; Ben Danner, Overton County Executive, Mark Farley, UCDD Executive Director; and Tommy Lee, UCDD Economic & Community Development Director.


2017 Reagan Dinner Featuring Speaker Keni Thomas: Army Ranger During Operation “Restore Hope,” Immortalized in “Black Hawk Down”

The Smith County GOP just announced the speaker for their 2017 Reagan Dinner. The speaker is scheduled to be Keni Thomas. The annual Reagan Dinner will be held at the Smith County Ag Center on March 17, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Ticket price is $40 per person. To purchase tickets, call (615) 489-5594 or (615) 418-6098.

Keni Thomas Bio:

In the summer of 1993 Staff Sergeant Keni Thomas was deployed to Mogadishu Somalia with the 3rd Ranger Battalion as part of an elite special operations package called Task Force Ranger. Their mission was to find and capture a criminal warlord named Mohammed Farrah Aidid. On the 3rd of October, Keni and his fellow rangers distinguished themselves in an eighteen hour fire-fight that would later be recounted in the highly successful book and movie “Blackhawk Down”. Nineteen Americans gave their lives and 78 were wounded in the worst urban combat seen by US troops since WWII.

A powerful speaker, Keni captivates audiences from beginning to end as he tells the incredible story of extraordinary individuals and how they fought to bring each other home. Drawing from his experiences on the battlefield, Keni inspires people to achieve greatness by stressing the importance of outstanding leadership at every level, even if the only person you are leading is yourself. His message of “Train as you fight – Fight as you train and Lead By Example” epitomizes the Ranger motto “Rangers Lead the Way!”

Keni sums it up like this, “Leadership has never been about the rank or the position you hold. It’s about the example you set. There are people to your left and to your right who are counting on you and its up to you to deliver. But you will only be as good as you prepared yourself to be.”

After Mogadishu, Staff Sergeant Thomas volunteered for one more enlistment in the Army. He became an assistant team leader for a six-man ranger reconnaissance team. He earned his master parachutist rating with over 400 military free fall jumps. He completed the Special Forces Combat Diver course, became an Advanced EMT and was one of ten Americans to complete the Belgium Commando Course.

Keni got out of the Army to pursue his music career and now works full-time as an award winning country music recording artist and songwriter in Nashville. He and his band Cornbread were featured in the movie “Sweet Home Alabama” and his music can be heard on country stations nationwide. Keni continues to serve our troops with regular tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.

He is a regular guest on all the major news networks as a military analyst and was also a military advisor for the Mel Gibson movie “We Were Soldiers”. He has been recognized by the President of the United States, by Congress and has been awarded the American Patriot Award. But Keni is most proud of his appointment as a national spokesman for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. They provide college educations to the children of our special operations personnel killed in combat or training.

“Our special operations warriors are the tip of the spear. Their’s is a dangerous and high risk mission” says Thomas. “Because of that, they’re losses are disproportionately high when compared to the rest of our military. Taking care of their kids, is the least we can do. It’s what those dads would have wanted.”

Keni Thomas is a graduate of the University of Florida, and the recipient of the bronze star for valor.

Click here to visit Keni’s website to learn more about his life. 

Governor Haslam to Visit Smith County on Friday; Public Invited

(Smith County Insider Press) Carthage, Tenn. – Governor Bill Haslam plans to make a trip to Smith County this Friday, February 10. Haslam will be speaking at the Smith County Agriculture Center beginning at noon. Haslam plans to inform Smith Countians how his “Improve Act” can provide more long-term funding to Smith County for roads and bridges.

This meeting is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend. The capacity for the event is 450 people due to fire codes. If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can watch live via Facebook LIVE at

Smith County would receive an additional $618,283.57 per year to use for roads if the proposal passes. That would be $168,197.85 in diesel tax and $450,085.72 in gas tax. 

Carthage would receive a total of $25,053.61 with diesel and gas tax combined. 

Gordonsville would receive a total of $13,178.68 with diesel and gas tax combined.

South Carthage would receive a total of $14,362.92 with diesel and gas tax combined. 

Click link to read more about the Haslam’s “Improve Act” and see footage of the full proposal:

Smith County to Receive $618,283.57 for Roads Under Governor’s IMPROVE Act

NASHVILLE – Joined by mayors from across the state and leaders in the manufacturing and trucking industries, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a comprehensive and strategic plan to cut taxes on food and manufacturing while updating how the state provides Tennesseans the safe and reliable transportation network needed to support future job growth.

The IMPROVE Act, “Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy,” is the first piece of Haslam’s NextTennessee legislative plan, policy proposals aimed at building and sustaining economic growth and the state’s competitiveness for the next generation of Tennesseans.

The IMPROVE Act increases the road user fee by 7 cents for a gallon of gas and 12 cents for a gallon of diesel and increases car registration fees by $5 for the average passenger vehicle. It places an annual road user fee on electric vehicles and increases charges on vehicles using alternative fuels. The proposal also includes a 3 percent charge on rental cars and changes the state’s open container law to allow the Tennessee Department of Transportation flexibility to use $18 million in existing federal dollars on roads. Fuel taxes would be indexed – but also capped – to the Consumer Price Index in order to keep up with the rate of inflation.

The IMPROVE Act would bring in $278 million in new dollars to the state for projects while limiting the impact on the average Tennessee motorist to approximately $4 a month. All funds would go toward transportation, including the 2 percent typically reverted to the General Fund, to provide funding for 962 projects across all 95 counties plus an additional $39 million to cities and $78 million to counties. The legislation would also allow municipalities, only if approved by local voters through referendum, to impose a surcharge on their sales tax rate that would be solely dedicated to public transit projects.

The governor also announced that his FY 2017-2018 budget proposal would use surplus one-time funds to finish repaying the Highway Fund by transferring $120 million from the General Fund.

Smith County would receive an additional $618,283.57 per year to use for roads if the proposal passes. That would be $168,197.85 in diesel tax and $450,085.72 in gas tax. 

Carthage would receive a total of $25,053.61 with diesel and gas tax combined. 

Gordonsville would receive a total of $13,178.68 with diesel and gas tax combined.

South Carthage would receive a total of $14,362.92 with diesel and gas tax combined. 

Watch full proposal below, including Mayor Michael Nesbitt Speaking:

Smith County Republican Party Election of Officers

The Smith County Republican Party Executive Committee is scheduled to meet on January 24th at 7pm to elect new officers. The meeting will be held at the Historic Smith County Court House located on the square in Carthage, Tennessee.

The meeting is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend.

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