Marital status: Divorced with five adult children: Cathie Mynatt, Christian Hendricks, Nick Hendricks, Josh Hendricks and Sara Hendricks.
Occupation: Blount County attorney for Legal Aid of East Tennessee.
Laura Rule is the Blount County attorney for Legal Aid of East Tennessee, a job she says gives Blount County citizens who can’t afford a lawyer, have been abused or are elderly a voice. “If someone is mistreating them or unjustly dragging them into court, I’m there to defend them and represent them and make sure they have an equal access to justice.”
Rule says that while the agency isn’t considered a Christian organization, her Christian faith shapes her view of life. “It’s like the emergency room. Instead of brain surgery, we’re applying bandages. Everyone needs an equal voice. We are all equal under the law. I also have a great love for our constitution. It’s a great document but it is only as meaningful as we make it meaningful for all our citizens.”
Here is Laura Rule:
What was your first paying job?
“My first job was cutting the grass along the sidewalk with clippers. My grandfather would pay me fifty cents. My first ‘real’ job was as a waitress at Peerless Pantry in Gatlinburg.”
If you could do one impulsive thing, unrestricted by cost, what would it be?
“I would buy a villa in Tuscany while maintaining my home here in the middle of God’s country.”
What are you guilty of?
“Too often being a romantic and an idealist.”
What is one thing you have always wanted to do but haven’t?
“Visit Scotland. I belong to the Clan McBeth Society of North America.”
What are you reading currently?
“ ‘The Last Campaign,’ by Thurston Clark. Robert Kennedy is one of my heroes, and it’s about his campaign for president in 1968.”
Who has been the most influential person in the 20th century?
“Franklin Roosevelt. He was on the world scene for a good portion of the 20th Century. He steered us out of the Great Depression, served this country during World War II, where we were very successful. He also gave the go-ahead for the Manhattan Project and introduced nuclear weaponry and power. That changed the shape of diplomacy and the way countries interact with each other to this day. I think he’s had a profound influence on the whole world.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“When I was 16, I was on a first date with this guy whose mom was a friend of my aunt. I got carsick and threw up all over him. It was also my last date with him.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Zealous. When I’m for something or I’m representing someone, I do whatever I can to the best of my ability to achieve the end I am after.”
When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
“A cowgirl like Dale Evans.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“My total inability to carry a tune. Some people get paid to sing. People will pay me not to sing.”
What is your passion?
“Life and my family. I could go on and on about things I love to do but it comes down to living every moment of life to fullest extent possible and enjoying as much as you can. Family is the most important thing to me.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“My parents and grandparents. Oh, and if you would invite Bobby Kennedy to join us, that would be great.”
What do you hate?
“Seeing people or animals who can’t defend themselves being taken advantage of, and no one doing anything about it.”
What is your all-time favorite movie?
“ ‘Braveheart.’ It was about one of my favorite topics - Scottish heritage and Scottish independence. I had read quite a bit about William Wallace. Mel Gibson made the movie. In that last scene, they said if he wouldn’t suffer if he would just ask for mercy, and he yelled, ‘Freedom!’”
What is the best book you’ve ever read?
“ ‘Exodus,’ the novel. I read it at impressionable age. It gives context and history, and touches on so many aspects of the Holocaust and the fight for Israel’s independence. I thought it was a great book.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“July, 1965, and we would have that lunch you just asked me about.”
What character in a book or movie would you most like to be?
“Scarlet O’Hara - but I wouldn’t let Rhett get away.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“In January, 1964, my great aunt was living in Great Britain. She sent me a surprise package, which contained the Beatles album, “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” and a Beatles sweatshirt with a picture of the four Beatles on it. When I opened it, I said, ‘Who in the world are the Beatles?’ I soon found out.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?
“Yes, my second grade teacher paddled my hand with a ruler for talking. It was so unfair. Another little girl at my table was talking to me. All I did was tell her to quit talking to me, or we would get in trouble. We got in trouble.”
Who is your hero?
“My grandmother, Blanche Roach, who believed you could do anything if you tried. My great aunt, Anna Rule, the one in Great Britain who was born with a port wine birthmark across her face at a time when there was nothing that could be done about it, and turned her experience into a lifetime of helping others. My aunt, Laura Keny, who was born mentally challenged, but she taught herself to read. She reads the paper from front to back every day. She is a blessing to everyone whose life she touches.”
What was your first car?
“A red Corvair convertible. It never ran. It would die. It was straight shift, and I can remember going down Gay Street in Knoxville, and it dying. I’d be pushing with one foot and trying to get it going fast enough to get started. It was an interesting car.”