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Map Shows Closeup View of State Representative Redistricting Split in Smithville Area

February 2, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

As WJLE has reported in recent weeks, State Representative Mark Pody's district will take in about a third of DeKalb county including all of the sixth district, almost all of the seventh district including part of the City of Smithville, and portions of the second and fifth districts. Representative Terri Lynn Weaver will represent the rest of DeKalb County.

Click the following PDF link to see a closeup view of the Smithville area split between Pody's 46th district (Yellow) and Weaver's 40th district (Purple)

DekalbHouse Maps 42x56.pdf (1.51 MB)

Voter Registration Deadline Approaching for March 6 Primaries, Election Commission Releases Sample Ballot

February 2, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission reminds persons wanting to vote in the March 6 DeKalb County Democratic Primary and Tennessee Presidential Preference Primaries that Monday, February 6 is the deadline for voter registration in person.

The election commission office is open Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the first floor of the courthouse, room 104. The phone number is 597-4146.

Meanwhile, Early Voting for the March 6 elections begins on Wednesday, February 15 and ends on Tuesday, February 28. Early voting hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.; Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until noon. All early voting will take place in the basement courtroom of the DeKalb County Courthouse. Closed February 20 for President's Day.

Remember, as a voter you must declare which primary in which you intend to vote. For example, if you declare your intention to vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary, you cannot vote in either the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary or the DeKalb County Democratic Primary (for Assessor of Property and Constable). Likewise, if you choose to vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary and the DeKalb County Democratic Primary (for Assessor of Property and Constable), you cannot vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary

The election commission has also released a sample ballot. Click the PDF link below to view the sample ballot.

DekalbPPP-Newspaper.pdf (26.99 KB)

If you choose to vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary you may vote for one of the following candidates:

Michele Bachman
Newt Gingrich
Jon Huntsman
Gary Johnson
Ron Paul
Rick Perry
Charles "Buddy" Roemer
Mitt Romney
Rick Santorum
Uncommitted

The Republican ballot also lists the names of Delegates At Large for Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney (Committed and Uncommitted) as well as Delegates in the 6th Congressional District for Gingrich, Paul, Perry, and Romney (Committed and Uncommitted).

If you choose to vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary, the only name listed is Barack Obama and Uncommitted.

The DeKalb County Democratic Primary ballot features the Assessor of Property race. The candidates are listed as follows:

Timothy "Fud" Banks
Scott E. Cantrell
Bryan Keith

Constable candidates are on the ballot in the following districts:

3rd District:
Wayne Vanderpool

4th District:
Paul Cantrell

5th District:
Mark Milam

6th District:
Richard Bullard
Carl Lee Webb

7th District
Johnny King

2012 DeKalb Relay for Life Kickoff Coaches vs Cancer Basketball Game

February 1, 2012
Relay for Life

The 2012 DeKalb Relay for Life Kickoff Coaches vs Cancer Basketball game will be held at DeKalb County High School on Tuesday, February 7 at 6:00 p.m. DCHS will be hosting Cannon County. Everyone has been affected in some way by cancer. It’s a terrible disease and has no respect of a person. The American Cancer Society’s dedication to research, their lobbying of insurance companies for free early detection screenings such as mammograms, pap test and colonoscopies, providing wigs for ladies undergoing chemotherapy treatment, prosthesis for mastectomy patients and so many other wonderful services have brought health and hope to so many people. These services are provided by the generosity of hard working volunteers and to those that unselfishly give their money to insure that the American Cancer Society continues to be a friend to all, whether you are a cancer patient, survivor, or a caregiver of a patient.

Please come out to the ballgame to show your support for this wonderful non-profit organization and to say thanks to DeKalb County High School boys and girls’ basketball teams and the cheerleaders for participating in the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer basketball game.

The American Cancer Society staff and volunteers will be in the lobby of the gym with information on how you can participate in DeKalb County’s Relay For Life to be held on June 8th, 2012 at Greenbrook Park. Lilac colored bracelets (lilac is the color for ALL cancers) with a “cancer saying”, plus purple and white pom-pom shakers will be sold to raise money and a donation bucket will be passed throughout the crowd at the ballgame.

Everyone is encouraged to wear pink (for breast cancer awareness), and survivors are encouraged to wear purple. Thank you DeKalb County for all you do to support your county’s Relay For Life!

For more information on how you can get involved check out www.facebook.com/DeKalbRelay or email us at dekalbrelay@gmail.com.

Teachers of the Year Named at Each School

January 31, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary Teacher of Year-Beth Cantrell
Northside Elementary Teacher of Year-Bethany Rigsby
DeKalb West School Teacher of Year-Jane Watson
DeKalb Middle School Teacher of Year-Karen Pelham
Donna Emmons-DCHS Teacher of the Year

The DeKalb County School System has announced it's "Teachers of the Year" at each of the five schools in the county.

This year's honoree are Beth Cantrell, a kindergarten teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Bethany Rigsby, a third grade teacher at Northside Elementary School; Karen Pelham, an eighth grade teacher at DeKalb Middle School; Jane Watson, a fifth grade teacher at DeKalb West School; and Donna Emmons, a teacher at DeKalb County High School.

Three of these five teachers will soon be selected at the system-wide level to compete for regional honors in the Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for grades Pre-K to 6 said "Again this year, we're going to participate in the Teacher of the Year program, which begins on the school level, moves to the system level, the regional level, and finally to the state level.

"In pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, Teachers of the year are Beth Cantrell from Smithville Elementary and Bethany Rigsby from Northside Elementary. One of them will be selected to represent DeKalb County at the regional level.

"In grades 5 through 8, the teachers of the year are Jane Watson from DeKalb West School and Karen Pelham from DeKalb Middle School and one of them will represent DeKalb County at the regional level."

"In the 9th through 12th grade, which is DeKalb County High School, Donna Emmons is the Teacher of the Year and she will represent DeKalb County at the regional competition. Emmons teaches English I, Journalism, and advises the student media program, Tiger Media. She has been a teacher in the freshman academy since its inception (now in its 6th year).

Should these teachers win at the regional, they will represent DeKalb County at the state level in March.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program is designed to promote recognition, respect and appreciation for teachers; to stimulate interest in teaching as a career; and to encourage public involvement in education.

This program is sponsored annually by the Tennessee Department of Education and the Niswonger Foundation.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year represents Tennessee at the National Teacher of the Year competition, which is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic, Inc.

Teachers of the Year are selected competitively through five cycles: Building, System, Field Service Center Region, Grand Division and State; and from three categories (levels of teaching); Grades Pre K-4, 5-8, 9-12.

Teachers selected at each cycle receive local recognition and awards underwritten by local sources. State recognition/awards include a banquet honoring the nine State Teacher of the Year finalists and certificates of appreciation from the Governor. In addition, the State Finalists and the State Teacher of the Year receive cash awards from the Niswonger Foundation.

County Property Tax Collections at 46.5% as of January 31

January 31, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Trustee Sean Driver

DeKalb Countians have less than a month to pay their property taxes for 2011 without penalty.

Taxes are due to the trustee's office by Wednesday, February, 29th. After that date,
penalty and interest begin to accrue at a rate of 1.5 percent per month.

Property taxes from 2010 may be paid at the trustee's office through March 31st. After that, they will be turned over to the clerk and master's office and subject to additional fees.

Trustee Sean Driver said about $3.4 million of the expected $7.4 million-plus in tax rolls have been collected so far or 46.5% as of Tuesday, January 31. But, Driver added that collections are expected to pick up significantly during the next four weeks.

Driver said taxes may be mailed in, paid in person, or by debit or credit card either in the trustee's office or on-line at www.tennesseetrustee.com. " We are offering credit and debit card processing through the Business Information Systems for the property owners of DeKalb County. You may pay your property taxes using a VISA, MASTERCARD, or DISCOVER card. It can be handled on-line, in the Trustee's Office, or by phone."

Driver explained that a 2.75% convenience fee will be added to your tax bill, if you take advantage of on-line payment with a debit or credit card or 1.5% by e-check, but the county does not collect it (additional fee). "If you want to do those payments on line, it is fast, easy, and secure. On-line payments may be made at www.tennesseetrustee.com. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may also pay your taxes in our office at 732 South Congress Boulevard, Room 103. Our phone number is 615-597-5176. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m."

Payments can also be placed in a drop box on the outside wall of the new county office complex on South Congress Boulevard. "If the last day comes and you can't make it to the post office to postmark your payment, we do have a drop box on the outside wall of our new location," said Driver.

Seniors, be sure to check with the office on the state property tax relief program. The income limit is $26,830 for single or combined household incomes. If a senior qualifies for the state program, they will also qualify for some assistance through the county. Disabled veterans and disabled homeowners may qualify for tax relief as well. If you meet the requirements you may apply in the Trustee's Office. The deadline to apply is 35 days after February 29th, 2012 or April 5th, 2012.

If you have any additional questions, come by the Trustee's office or call 597-5176.

Three cities to hold elections this year

January 31, 2012
Dennis Stanley

Three of DeKalb County’s municipalities have elections planned for the 2012 calendar year.

First on the calendar is the Smithville Municipal Election on June 19th. A mayor and two aldermen will be elected. The seats are currently held by Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger.

The qualifying deadline for the Smithville Election is NOON March 15. The last day to register to vote in that election is May 21.

Dowelltown and Liberty will have elections on August 2. In Dowelltown, a mayor and two aldermen will be elected. The seats are currently held by Mayor Gerald Bailiff and Aldermen Joe Bogle and Elizabeth Redmon.

The qualifying deadline for the Dowelltown election is NOON April 5 and the last day to register to vote is July 3.

In Liberty, three aldermen will be elected. The seats are held by Todd Dodd, Dwight Mathis and Paul M. Neal

The qualifying deadline is NOON April 5 and the last day to register to vote in that election is July 3.

Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley said there are two important messages voters should remember before going to the polls on Election Day or for early voting.

“If your address has changed since the last time you voted, you should contact the local election office to begin the process of updating your records,” Stanley said. “If you show up at the polls with a voter’s card that has an address different than where you currently live, you will have to fill out a ‘Fail-Safe’ form and you may even be sent to another location to vote.”

“Also, voters are reminded that with all elections in 2012, voters will have to have a valid federal or state government issued photo i.d. to vote on the machines,” he added.

Acceptable forms of photo identification, even if expired, are any of the following: a Tennessee Driver License with your photo; a United States Passport; Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security photo I.D.; a Photo I.D. issued by the federal or state government, such as an employee I.D. from the U.S. Department of Energy with your photo; United States Military photo I.D., including a Veteran Identification Card; and a state-issued handgun carry permit card with your photo.

“If you do not bring a photo I.D. to the polls, you will vote a Provisional Ballot,” Stanley said. “Then you will have two business days after Election Day to return to the election commission office to show a valid photo I.D. If not, the ballot will not be counted.”

School Board Races Look to be Contested in August

January 31, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

School board races in the fifth and sixth districts will be contested in the August 2nd DeKalb County General Election.

The DeKalb County Election Commission reports that Doug Stephens and Boyd Trapp have both picked up qualifying petitions to run for the school board seat in the sixth district.

In the fifth district Incumbent school board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III has picked up a petition to seek re-election while Kevin D. Hale, who plans to challenge Evins for the seat, has also obtained a petition.

Petitions for the fifth and sixth district school board races can now be picked up at the DeKalb County Election Commission office.

School board members, who run as non-partisan candidates, are elected in even-numbered years in August with the membership being staggered. In August 2012, members in Districts 5 and 6 are to be elected. The qualifying deadline for this election is NOON, April 5.

Dyal Charged in Local Theft Investigation

January 30, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kenny Waymon Dyal, Jr.
Michael Odell Bly
Bobby Jason Taylor
Paul David Johnson

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested a Smithville man in a local theft investigation.

25 year old Kenny Waymon Dyal, Jr. of Floyd Drive, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000 and evading arrest. Dyal is also cited for simple possession of a schedule III and IV controlled substance. His bond is $15,000 and he will be in court on February 16.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Dyal became a suspect after a deputy went to take a theft report at a residence on Oak Drive in Smithville on Wednesday, January 25. The officer then went to Dyal's grandmother's home on Andrew Street in Smithville, where Dyal was staying. After Dyal's grandmother gave the deputy consent to search the home, he found in the living room a 50 inch Samsung television and three remote controls, which were taken from the residence on Oak Drive

Later, a deputy spotted Dyal on foot at Tommy Harrell Street and called out for him to stop. The deputy wanted to question Dyal about the theft. But when he saw the officer, Dyal began running. Another officer, who was in the area, caught Dyal at the back of a residence. Dyal was searched and a white bottle was found in his left front pocket. The bottle contained half of a pill believed to be suboxone and two pills believed to be xanax.

23 year old Cory Alan Bradford of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence and cited for failure to maintain lane of travel, failure to change the address on his drivers license, violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), and violation of the registration law.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, January 25 Bradford was operating a motor vehicle on the Old Blue Springs Road when he was stopped by a deputy for failing to maintain a lane of travel. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Bradford performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks and he submitted to a blood test. Bradford admitted to drinking beer and taking a hydrocodone pill. He could not provide proof of vehicle registration or financial responsibility. He had also failed to change the address on his drivers license.

24 year old Amanda Brooke Washer of Ike Adcock Road is cited for failing to maintain lane of travel and texting while driving. She will be in court on February 1. Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, January 25 a deputy spotted Washer driving a vehicle and weaving on the roadway. At one point, she allegedly went halfway across the oncoming lane. She was stopped at the intersection of Highway 70 east and Smith Road. Washer admitted to texting while driving. Washer had a passenger with her, 35 year old Michael Odell Bly of Bell Street, Smithville. A K-9 officer from the Smithville Police Department came to the scene and his dog made a pass around Washer's vehicle. The dog alerted on the automobile. Bly, who was pulled from the vehicle, jerked away from the officers as they started to search him. Officers forced Bly to the ground and found on him around the crotch area three used hypodermic needles and a used straw. Bly was charged with resisting arrest and cited for simple possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on February 2.

32 year old Bobby Jason Taylor of North Mill Street, Dowelltown is charged with hindering a secured creditor. He was arrested on Thursday, January 26. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on February 2. Sheriff Ray said that Taylor sold a Polaris four wheeler, valued at more than $1,000 but then reported it stolen on Sunday, January 15. After investigating, a sheriff's department detective learned that Taylor had sold the four wheeler but that Liberty State Bank was the lien holder and the pay off on the loan was $3,857.

44 year old Paul David Johnson of Old Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. He was also cited for running a stop sign, violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on February 9. According to Sheriff Ray, on Sunday January 29, Johnson was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 when he was stopped by a deputy for running two stop signs at Midway Road and Smith Road. He gave the officer consent to search and found in the center console was a metal box containing marijuana in a bag. Johnson could not provide proof of insurance and upon a search of the vehicle, the deputy found rolling papers along with 3.5 ounces of marijuana.

44 year old William Boyce Butler of Lee Braswell Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on February 9. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, January 29, Butler allegedly assaulted his girlfriend by choking her, pulling out some of her hair, and throwing her to the ground.

Capitol Hill Week From Senator Mae Beavers

January 30, 2012
State Senator Mae Beavers

Major legislation attacking the growing problem of synthetic or “designer” drug abuse was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. The action comes as poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement officers in Tennessee report a sharp increase in the number of persons who have suffered harmful effects from using various synthetic drug products. Senate Bill 2172, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), increases penalties for those convicted of selling or producing synthetic drugs and defines it in such a way that manufacturers cannot skirt the law to avoid prosecution.

Synthetic drug products, which have become increasingly popular among teens and young adults, are sold at a variety of retail outlets like convenience stores, smoke shops and over the Internet. They commonly feature cartoon characters on package labels. Some law enforcement authorities have even said that due to the huge increase, the dangerous substance has the potential to eclipse methamphetamine as the most dangerous drug in Tennessee unless action is taken.

The products are sold under the guise of “bath salts” or “plant food” but are comprised of a class of chemicals perceived as mimics of cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine. The effects include impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia and violent episodes. Experts say the long-term physical and psychological effects of the drug are unknown but warn they could be severe.

“The General Assembly passed legislation to ban the chemical compound used in synthetic drugs; however, unscrupulous chemists manufacturing the drugs continue to modify molecules in the organic compound to avoid prosecution,” said Senator Beavers. “By the time a new synthetic drug is discovered and banned, another altered form of the compound has taken its place.”

The bill approved by the committee this week defines synthetic drugs in such a way as to capture any analogues. An analogue is a chemical compound having a similar structure to the banned drug. In determining if a synthetic drug is an “analogue controlled substance,” there are four law enforcement factors that must be considered and eight scientific factors which serve to define them. These include whether an analogue has a stimulant, depressant or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system. Another important factor is the price difference between the substance for sale and the actual price of the legitimate product which is described in packaging or marketing the product.

“For example, consumers can purchase approximately 10 pounds of actual bath salts or plant food for what one gram of a synthetic substance packaged as these products costs,” added Beavers. “The price differential also puts sellers on notice that what they might think is legal to sell may really be a controlled substance analogue.”

The legislation increases penalties for selling, manufacturing or possessing a synthetic drug or controlled substance analogue from a misdemeanor to a Class D felony. The penalties would increase to a Class C felony if it is a second or subsequent offense or if the analogue is sold to a minor. Simple possession of 1 gram or less would be a Class A misdemeanor under the bill as would representing something as a controlled substance analogue when it is not.

“We are very hopeful that the new definition will give clarity regarding what constitutes the illegal drug, while strengthening penalties will make certain that these substances are out of reach of Tennessee’s youth,” said Senator Beavers.

Meth Registry -- In similar action, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to tighten a loophole in the state’s Meth Registry. Senate Bill 2190, sponsored by Senator Beavers, adds those convicted of promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine and those who initiated a process intended to result in the manufacture of meth to the state’s Registry. In addition, the legislation requires the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to collect a driver’s license number or another identification number from those listed on the Registry so innocent citizens with similar names and birthdates do not run into a roadblock when they purchase pseudoephedrine.

Bills help teachers address student discipline

Two bills have been filed in the Tennessee General Assembly to give teachers more authority and protection in disciplining students. One proposal, Senate Bill 3122, would give teachers protection from civil liability when defending themselves or when they have to intervene in a physical altercation. The other measure, Senate Bill 3116, gives teachers basic rights to control their classroom and remove consistently disruptive or violent students.

Senate Bill 3116 requires local Boards of Educations to establish clearly a complete policy regarding a teacher’s ability to remove a student from the classroom and relocate the student to another educational location for the student’s safety or the safety of others. The bill allows the use of reasonable or justifiable force as long as it is done in accordance to school policy and Tennessee law. The bill also allows teachers to intervene in a physical altercation between two or more students or a student and another school employee if necessary to end the fight.

The legislation applies to altercations on school property, as well as at official school functions or sporting events. Under the proposal, the teacher must file a brief report with the principal regarding the situation and actions taken. The student would then be subject to additional disciplinary action that could include suspension or expulsion from school. Finally, the bill requires principals to support the authority of teachers who take such action if it is done in accordance with the proposed law and the school’s policies.

Teachers have told lawmakers that many are at a disadvantage in being able to maintain discipline in the classroom due to rules on removal of consistently disruptive students. They say that this problem can hamper student progress and put teachers at a disadvantage in achieving their evaluative goals. Senate Bill 3116 aims to give teachers the ability to manage their classrooms and even remove a student if it gets to the point where the behavior is persistently disruptive.

Meet State Representative Mark Pody

January 28, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
State Representative Mark Pody

With redistricting, DeKalb County will have two state representatives, Terri Lynn Weaver (R) of Lancaster in the 40th district and Mark Pody (R) of Lebanon in the 46th district.

Representative Pody's district will take in about a third of the county including all of the sixth district, almost all of the seventh district including part of the City of Smithville, and portions of the second and fifth districts. Representative Weaver will represent the rest of DeKalb County.

In an effort to get to know DeKalb County better, Representative Pody is beginning to attend local events to meet and greet residents here as he gears up for re-election later this year. Pody and his wife Barbara attended Saturday night's annual banquet of the DeKalb County Fire Department and made brief remarks.

Pody's district will include a large portion of Wilson County, all of Cannon County, and a portion of DeKalb County.

In an interview with WJLE after the banquet, Representative Pody said he is looking forward to serving DeKalb County along with State Representative Weaver. "My current district is the eastern half of Wilson County. I have all of Cannon County and I have Trousdale County. But with the new redistricting I will be losing Trousdale County and I'm going to be coming into DeKalb County so Terri Lynn Weaver and myself will be sharing the county. I want to know exactly what the issues are here that's affecting DeKalb County and what I can do or what the state can do to help. I know Terri Lynn Weaver and Senator Mae Beavers have done a great job down here but I feel it very incumbent upon me to find out myself so that's why I've been down here a couple of times already and I'm here tonight getting to know people and meet them. I am excited about being here. I am the type of individual that I'll even pass out my personal cell phone number 390-2444. I am available and I answer that phone myself . I want to be able to talk and be responsive to the needs that somebody has," said Pody.

The following is the WJLE question and answer interview of Representative Pody:

Question: Are you pleased with the redistricting plan?

Pody: "Yes I am. I'm very happy with the two counties that I have down here. Cannon and DeKalb are very close and very similar so I am very comfortable with it. My kids grew up in Watertown and went to school in Watertown so I'm very excited about it"

Question: Can you tell us about yourself?

Pody: "I am very new to politics. I was elected last year (2010) when this session started. I am a business owner. I have an office in Knoxville and one in Murfreesboro. I do insurance, however I meet payroll every single week and I just decided that there has been so much regulation that has been put on the business people and the local communities that I said ‘enough is enough' I want to try to do something about that so I went ahead and ran (for state representative) and I was elected."

Question: What about your family?

Pody: "I married my high school sweetheart. Its ironic. We were in high school and my wife and I eloped from Wisconsin. The first state that would marry us was Tennessee so we got married in Tennessee. We were both actually underage but we've been married ever since which is 39 years. I have two children and they both live in Wilson County. One is in Watertown and the other one is in Lebanon. I also have eight grandchildren. I am very excited to have my family close to me. We love it. We see them all the time."

Question: Do you live in Lebanon?

Pody: "I live just south of Lebanon on Highway 231 South."

Question: Where are you originally from?

Pody: "I was actually born in the state of Washington. My father was in the Air Force so I was born on the base in Washington but we moved to Wisconsin shortly thereafter."

Question: Are you enjoying your experience in the legislature?

Pody: "I wouldn't say ‘enjoying" but I can see that we are making a difference. The most exciting thing is when somebody calls our office and they're having issues with a state department somewhere and we can cut through the red tape and help get that problem solved for them. We've been able to help them save homes. We've been able to help people get benefits that they deserve. We've been able to help with individual things where they've fought with a state department for months or possibly even years and were not able to get anything on their own. We have been able to get something done for them. That gives me a lot of gratification that I know I'm making a difference. I am disappointed sometimes on how slow things can happen at the capitol because of political infighting or whatever when I know good things need to be done. It just doesn't get done as quickly as I would hope."

Question: What would you like to see done legislatively this year?

Pody: There's a couple of bills that I'm running. I'm not going to run a lot of bills. I don't think we need a lot more laws or regulations. That's not one of my main focuses. But one thing that I am going to be doing is try to get an English Only bill for drivers licenses. I think if we have people who are driving, they need to be able to take that test in English and read our signs. I believe that is just a very basic safety issue. I have a couple of other bills that I'm working on. One of them is a state day of prayer. I know we have a national day of prayer but I believe that in Tennessee I'd like us to have a state day of prayer as well. My faith is very important to me and I want to stand up for that wherever I can."

The DeKalb County Republican Party is hosting a Meet and Greet with State Representative Pody, State Representative Weaver, and State Senator Beavers on Thursday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m. at the Smithville City Hall building. Representative Pody said he hopes everyone who can will come out for a visit. "I would love to see you to introduce myself personally. I feel that since DeKalb County is going to have two state representatives and for the size that we are here (DeKalb County) and the population it will give us a little extra strength and voice in Nashville. If you only have one person (representative), that is only one voice. But at this point, Terri Lynn Weaver and myself will be fighting for the county to get whatever we need done. Its easier to lobby other legislators if we want something done by having two representatives. It should benefit the county," said Representative Pody.

Representative Pody's office is located at 203 War Memorial Boulevard, Nashville. The phone number is 615-741-7086. His email address is rep.mark.pody@capitol.tn.gov.

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