More than 200 people braved heat and humidity to show their support for Art Swann as he campaigns for the Republican nomination for the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Swann was a state representative for District 20 from 1985 to 1989. Now he is running to fill the seat currently held by Rep. Joe McCord, who has decided not to run for re-election.
Family members and friends were on hand at the Springbrook Pavilion on June 17 to hear the candidate and enjoy the fellowship.
Joe Swann said when his brother was in the House for two terms, he was gaining experience, becoming a leader, but he was also committed to helping Joe Swann revitalize Cherokee Lumber Co. Eventually Art had to come home to help with the business, said his brother.
“He absolutely loved (the House),” Joe Swann said. “He was great at what he did. He was a natural in that environment, and he is as good as it gets at getting things done.”
Swann said he and his brother took a trip back to tour the Nashville Capitol before Art Swann committed to running again. “He knew so many people down there! He still had connections, which will help him be effective from the beginning,” Joe Swann said.
John Berry said he has known the Swanns more than 30 years. “If I were going to send someone to represent me, those two are it. They know what the issues are, and they have well-thought out ways to address the issues. I trust them,” he said.
Denny Mayes said Art is needed in Nashville. “We need to send another great person to Nashville to represent our district. He’s what we need, someone to control spending.
Rob Goddard said he knows Swann served on county commission and then in the state legislature. “I do not see any real comparison as to his experience and leadership,” said Goddard.
Randy Massey also praised Swann’s leadership abilities. “I’m a huge Art Swann fan,” said Massey. “I hope people get out and vote -- that’s the whole key. It’s hot out here so people must love him. It’s a great turnout for such a hot Thursday.”
Gene Law of Maryville said he is definitely supporting Art Swann. “First thing, he’s dedicated to the job and he will do his job, and he has experience,” he said.
Loren Bledsoe of Alcoa said Art Swann has served in the State House in the past. “He’s been there, he knows what to do and he’s got experience. We need someone who has experience in Nashville,” Bledsoe said.
Tim Richards, Maryville, said Swann is the most experienced candidate. “The next few years are not the time for on the job training where people get elected and then ask themselves, ‘Now what do we do?’
Connie Keeble, wife of outgoing Blount County commissioner John Keeble, praised Swann. “I think it’s wonderful he is running,” she said. “He will do a good job.”
Vicki Watlington of Blount County was impressed. “I think I’m going to vote for him,” Watlington said. “I think he’s a good guy. He’s been around a long time. It’s important having someone who knows their way around Nashville.”
Gladys McKinsey of Blount County said Swann comes from a good family. “Experience is vitally important,” she said. “He knows the drill.”
Dusten Tipton, who opted to pull out of the state House race and support Swann, said Swann has the experience in the State House to do a good job.
“He knows what the people of the 8th District want, and he will do everything he can,” she said.
Tipton said she pulled out of the race because she wanted to build her career and gain more experience. “Art is a family friend, and I didn’t want anyone else to represent us in Nashville,” she said.
Swann is running in the Republican primary in August, as are Scott Hughes of Seymour, Geoff King and Joe McCulley of Maryville. The winner in August will advance to face Marvin Pratt of Gatlinburg, who is the only Democrat in the Democratic primary, in November.