The DeKalb County Republican Party may have as many as five candidates for county offices in the August General Election along with three candidates for the county commission and two candidates for vacant constable positions.
Members of the party met Saturday morning at the courthouse to select delegates to the DeKalb County Republican Party Convention and to give candidates an opportunity to announce their intentions.
In addition to Sheriff Patrick Ray and Trustee Sean Driver, who are each seeking their third terms, three other candidates announced for other offices during the mass meeting.
Butch Agee, local supervisor for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, asked for the party's nomination to run for DeKalb County Road Supervisor to succeed Kenny Edge, who is not seeking re-election.
Former County Commissioner Chris Smithson is seeking the Republican Party nomination for County Mayor while local attorney Mingy Bryant is looking to become the GOP candidate for General Sessions Judge.
Incumbent Republican County Commissioners Mason Carter in the first district, Bobby Joines in the second district, and Jerry Adcock in the fifth district also spoke during the mass meeting and asked for the party's nomination to run for re-election in August.
Two Republicans, Chris Tramel in the second district and Lee Plummer in the first district are seeking the party's nomination to run for vacant constable positions. Jonathan Low also announced plans to run for constable in the second district but he has already filed his qualifying petition with the election commission to run as an Independent. The terms of the vacant constable positions expire in 2016.
Republican candidates for offices in the 13th Judicial District also made announcements Saturday including Gary McKenzie of Putnam County for Criminal Court Judge Part I, Jonathan Young of Putnam County for Circuit Court Judge Part II, Wesley Bray of Putnam County for Criminal Court Judge Part I, Bryant Dunaway of Putnam County for District Attorney General, Shawn Fry of Putnam County for District Attorney General, and John Meadows of White County for District Public Defender. They will be seeking the Republican nomination for those offices in the May 6th GOP Primary in the 13th Judicial District, which includes DeKalb and six other counties.
In making his announcement to run for Road Supervisor, Agee named members of his family and spoke of his qualifications for the job. "I would like to be your candidate for Road Supervisor. I am the son of the Johnnie Agee Taylor and the late Grady Agee. My step-father was C.B. Taylor. I have one sister, Wanda. I am married to the former Cynthia Cook of Alexandria. She is the daughter of Jean Cook and the late Buddy Cook. She has one brother. We live in Liberty and attend Salem Baptist Church. We have two sons, Josh and Joey. Josh is married to the former January Zaderiko and they have one daughter. Joey is married to the former Casey Bogle and they have two daughters. I have been with TDOT for seventeen years. I have been supervisor for thirteen years. I have had all kinds of training and certifications. I did get my certification from the Tennessee Highway Certification Board," he said.
Agee also praised Edge for the job he has done as Road Supervisor. " I'd like to say that Mr. Edge has done an excellent job and whoever gets this job, whether it be me or someone else, has some big shoes to fill," said Agee.
Smithson promised to run an office that would be open and transparent, if elected County Mayor. "I promise you'll have an open and transparent county government where anybody who wants to know what is happening can find out". Smithson also said he'd like to "keep our tax increases to a minimum."
In announcing her candidacy for General Sessions Judge, Bryant spoke of her family and educational background. "I am a resident of DeKalb County and have been since I was seventeen years old. I have a law practice here across the street from the jail. I am married to Chad Bryant. I am a Republican and so is he. I am running for General Sessions Judge of DeKalb County. I am here today asking you as delegates to choose me. I graduated from MTSU with a Bachelors Degree. I went to the Nashville School of Law where I achieved my Doctorate of Jurisprudence," she said.
(PLAY VIDEO BELOW TO VIEW CHRIS SMITHSON, PATRICK RAY, BUTCH AGEE, SEAN DRIVER, MASON CARTER, BOBBY JOINES, JERRY ADCOCK, LEE PLUMMER, CHRIS TRAMEL, AND JONATHAN LOW)
Bryant also spoke of her convictions as to how a judge should serve. "I believe a judge should be neutral and to leave out all biases when they approach the bench. They should apply the laws fairly across the board no matter what station in life you come from. I believe if you're given a chance and the opportunity to be on probation and you violate that opportunity then you should serve the time that you did originally. I don't believe that people who violate probation or bond should be allowed to continue to run around on the streets. I believe our community and county should send a strong message to criminals that if you want to continue in your life of crime you should pick a new county because DeKalb County will not tolerate it," said Bryant.
(PLAY VIDEO BELOW OF CANDIDATES FOR JUDGES, DISTRICT ATTORNEY GENERAL, AND DISTRICT PUBLIC DEFENDER INCLUDING BRYANT DUNAWAY, MINGY BRYANT, GARY MCKENZIE, SHAWN FRY, JONATHAN YOUNG, JOHN MEADOWS, AND WESLEY BRAY)
In making a bid for another term, Sheriff Ray thanked the party faithful for their trust and confidence in him. "I consider it a true honor to be able to work as your Sheriff. I want to thank you for your support and the confidence that you've shown me, not only at election time but throughout my tenure thus far. Today, I ask for your continued support and trust by allowing me to be your candidate for the office of Sheriff. My pledge to you remains unchanged. I promise and commit myself to direct the Sheriff's Department with honesty, integrity, and in the professional manner that you expect and deserve. I humbly ask for your support for the nomination of Sheriff in the August General Election," he said.
Trustee Sean Driver, in making his announcement for another term, spoke of the conveniences he has brought to the office. "When I ran in 2006, a lot of the voters wanted the office automated. We've got it fully automated now. Voters wanted to see on-line payments. We have established that now through the office at www.tennesseetrustee.com. We also accept partial payments in the office. When this term finishes September 1, I will have brought in to the county with your tax dollars and other monies over three million dollars in investment and interest monies," he said.
Driver thanked the party for its support as he asked for the nomination to run again. "I look at myself first and foremost as a servant to this county but I would like to thank this party because you have stood behind me and I would appreciate the nomination once again to run for DeKalb County Trustee," said Driver.
A plaque was presented by the DeKalb County Republican Party to Road Supervisor Edge for his twenty four years of service to the county. The plaque reads as follows: "Presented to Kenny Edge, Road Supervisor 1990-2014. In appreciation for your loyal and dedicated service to the citizens of DeKalb County and your loyalty to the DeKalb County Republican Party. Retirement is a time to look forward. Yet we look back at your many accomplishments with pride and admiration. Thank you for a job truly well done".
"I want to thank the Republican Party," said Edge in a brief address at the Mass Meeting. "I've really enjoyed serving everybody. Once you get elected, politics don't matter. You've got to serve each and everyone. I've enjoyed working with the people of this county. Like I've said, I don't own the highway department. It's theirs (the public) and it's their services. I've tried to do it the best that I can. I thank each of you," said Edge.
Meanwhile, Party Chairperson Jennifer Winfree announced that she will be a candidate for Republican State Executive Committeewoman in the 17th Senatorial District during the Tennessee Republican Primary this August.
The DeKalb County Republican Convention will caucus next Saturday, January 18th at 10:00 a.m. at the courthouse to formally nominate GOP candidates to run for offices in the August General Election. WJLE plans LIVE coverage.