Family: Married to Jules McCord since 1992. They have two children: Morgan, their 14-year-old daughter and Clay, their 10-year-old son.
Occupation: District VIII State Representative in his fifth term; Family business: Lost Sea, McCord Farms, Chilhowee Properties.
State Rep. Joe McCord knows one disadvantage to having children who attend the same schools he did with some of the same teachers he had.
“I wasn’t as good a student as my children. It’s really nice to go into the same school and have the same teachers and principals in place as when I was a kid,” he said. “The down side is I can’t lie and tell them what a great student and how well-behaved I was.”
McCord said residents are fortunate to have the three systems that operate in Blount County. “They’re great. In all three systems, you get a private school academic value but with the social value you can never get from a private school. You get a broad base,” he said.
The state representative said his son goes to the Sam Houston Elementary, just as he did. “Everybody talks about Maryville being such a rich system and that’s not true. I think its 38 percent free and reduced lunch. There’s a misconception these are just rich children of parents who are economically advantaged and that’s not true,” he said. “There is a diversity you won’t get at a Webb School or private schools. If you don’t grow up with that, you don’t know how to relate to a diverse population.”
The state lawmaker said his daughter will be a freshman next year and recently he and his wife and daughter were playing cards at home and discussing courses she should take. “These school systems locally will challenge you,” he said. “Maryville, Blount County and Alcoa have expectations in place for students.”
Regarding the current state budget crisis, McCord said the governor won’t present his budget until later this month. Lawmakers are waiting to see the details of the federal stimulus package and what parts have “strings” attached concerning how the money can be spent.
“The biggest thing I personally worry about -- and this is at the federal, local and personal level -- is that we don’t make permanent decisions for temporary problems. We will come out of this cycle, and we’ll need to keep that in mind,” he said. “Don’t make permanent solutions to temporary problems.”
What the current budget crisis is showing lawmakers and individuals is a need to re-assess priorities. “Gov. Bredesen says you’re a better manager in tough times. I agree with that, both personally and from a state perspective,” McCord said. “You get back to basics. We have responsibilities for education, transportation, infrastructure, safety. Those are your basics. Reestablish focus on those things.”
McCord said being a husband and father are his first priorities. “Then your work is your second concern. After that, it depends. In the summer, I don’t get much free time. In the winter, I get a little more. I like to hunt about every weekend through the winter. In summer, I occasionally get to go trout fishing. If I don’t have real work, living on a farm takes up any spare time.”
McCord is also pursuing a new hobby. “I got my pilot’s license and my instrument rating,” he said.
25 Random Things About Joe McCord
1. I have been married to Jules since 1992.
2. I am a father to two children: Morgan and Clay.
3. This is my fifth term in the state House of Representatives.
4. I am a pilot.
5. I love to fly fish.
6. I am a fox hunter.
7. I am an avid reader.
8. At the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, my major was anthropology.
9. I haven’t watched network television in 10 years. Reality TV is stupid.
10. I’m addicted to the Weather Channel and the History Channel.
11. I usually wear hiking boots with suits.
12. I can’t sit still. I am a pacer.
13. I read all e-mails but am horrible with computers and would rather call.
14. I absolutely can’t text.
15. I’m sure a professional would diagnose me with ADHD.
16. I buy my clothes at Co-op.
17. I constantly embarrass my wife and kids, but I do make them laugh.
18. I’m a licensed realtor and contractor.
19. We have Great Dane that sleeps in bed with us.
20. I embrace my rural heritage.
21. My favorite authors are Hemmingway, Jim Harrison, Tom Robbins and Larry McMurtry.
22. My favorite musicians are Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Goose Creek Symphony and the Drive by Truckers.
23. The worst thing about serving in Legislature is time away from family. I have never been a coach for my kids’ teams, and I am very thankful to all of you who volunteer their time.
24. I think the main requirement to serve in the Legislature is to have an understanding family and employer and a wife who is able to juggle 10 balls in the air all at once, every day.
25. I have a strong faith.