State Rep. Doug Overbey (R-Tenn.) announced Wednesday morning that he will run for the Tennessee State Senate, challenging incumbent Sen. Raymond Finney.
Finney, a first-term senator representing Blount and Sevier counties, announced in early fall his intentions to run for re-election and picked up a petition for the office last week (see page 18).
Overbey, who represents Maryville in the State House of Representatives, said running for the state senate wasn’t something he aspired to do. “I’ve always been interested in public service, in trying to make a positive difference in the community,” he said. “I would say this really crystallized over the course of the past year as I’ve talked with people, and they have indicated to me that they would be supportive. That’s what has led me to this point.”
“This decision comes after seeking the advice and counsel of a lot of folks in Sevier and Blount counties and thoughtful consideration and prayer,” Overbey said. “All across the district I hear people saying they want a senator who will stand up for them, represents their conservative values, and who has the ability to work effectively to bring about positive change in our State.”
As for challenging an incumbent, Overbey said it is never easy.
“As in life, there’s never any guarantee in seeking political office,” he said. “It’s never easy to challenge an incumbent because there are certain benefits from incumbency. None-the-less, there are times when that should be done and needs to be done.”
Overbey is entering his eighth year in the State House of Representatives. “I have thoroughly enjoyed it most days. We’ve had challenges over these past eight years. It has been a great opportunity to try to work through these challenges and try to deal with legislation that will have a positive impact on our state,” he said.
Overbey said one of the most important pieces of legislation he has helped get into law in his term was the law requiring smoke detectors and sprinkler systems in long-term care facilities following the Home Away from Home fire in January of 2004.
“I’ll certainly never forget being at Vanderbilt Medical Center and meeting with families of victims of the fire in Blount County and listening and talking to them,” he said. “Then we tried to take that unfortunate and tragic situation and make something good happen and somehow make it to where we can help prevent a similar situation in the future.”
Overbey said he was also proud of the Safe Haven Law that gave mothers protection to surrender newborn babies without fear of prosecution. This law was passed in July of 2001 after two Blount County women discovered a newborn girl who had been abandoned in a shed. The child wasn’t found in time and had died of severe dehydration.
“To have played a role in the passing of the Safe Haven law was important. I think that is an important piece of legislation,” Overbey said. “I played a small role in helping that.”
Overbey said that in the 2007 session he got to help provide the mechanism for funding a network of trauma hospitals around the state. “It ensures that if folks anywhere across the state should be in an accident, there will be Level One, Two or Three trauma centers for them,” he said.
Most recently, Overbey said he also was proud of the veteran’s bills he helped pass. “With the war Iraq, I felt it very important to extend property tax relief to surviving spouses of members of the armed forced killed in combat,” he said.
Overbey has represented the 20th house district in the 102nd, 103rd, 104th, and 105th General Assemblies, where he is a member of the Finance, Ways & Means Committee, Health & Human Resources Committee, Select Committee on Ethics, and Joint Select Committee on Children and Youth. He is Chairman of the House Health Care Facilities Subcommittee and a member of the Budget Subcommittee.
In 2007, Rep. Overbey was named “Statesman of the Year” by the 650-member Tennessee Optometric Association. On July 20, 2006, Rep. Overbey was recognized by the Tennessee Silica Justice Coalition for his sponsorship and passage of the Silica Claims Priority Act. Also in 2006, he received the Tennessee Legislator of the Year award from the American Physical Therapy Association.
Overbey and wife, Kay, reside in Maryville. He graduated magna cum laude from Carson-Newman College in 1976 with a B.A. degree and was first in his class from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1979, where he was named to the Order of the Coif and Phi Delta Phi, Roosevelt Inn, Graduate of the Year. Rep. Overbey served two terms on the Blount County Commission from 1982 to 1990.
Overbey is in his twenty-ninth year of the practice of law and is a senior partner in the firm of Robertson, Overbey, Wilson & Beeler, which he co-founded in 1982. He is a member of the American, Tennessee, Knoxville and Blount County Bar Associations, has served as a member of the House of Delegates of the Tennessee Bar Association, and been a presenter at many continuing legal education seminars, including annual legislative updates for the Knoxville and Blount County Bar Associations.
In the community, Overbey has served as president of Maryville Kiwanis, president of the United Way of Blount County, chairman of Maryville-Alcoa College Community Orchestra, chairman of the Johnson Girls Group Home and board member of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and Knoxville Museum of Art. He has also served on the Maryville College Board of Church Visitors and on the board of Success By Six.
He currently serves on the boards of New Hope - Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center, A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee, and SunTrust Bank of East Tennessee Advisory Board. Doug is a member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and served ten years as Chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee. He is the only layperson to serve as President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of East Tennessee.
Rep. Overbey’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.