More than 125 people turned out to support Republican nominee for District 8 State Rep. Art Swann during a reception Tuesday evening at Peggy and John Lambert’s home.
The drop-in fundraiser drew people from throughout the area as well as state and federal lawmakers. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and U.S. Rep. John Duncan, Jr. stopped by to greet guests.
Lt. Gov. Ramsey said Republicans have the opportunity to strengthen the majorities in both the State House and Senate this year but cautioned those at the reception to not take the elections for granted. “We can’t take chances. We have a shot at gaining 10 seats in the House, and I’m excited,” he said. “I get chills when I think about this opportunity.”
Susan Mills, Blount County Republican chair, said about 125 showed for the reception. “I was really pleased with the turnout,” she said. “I think (Swann) will definitely be our next state representative.”
District 5-A Blount County Commissioner Peggy Lambert said she has known Art Swann for 25 years. “He’s a man of character, honor and principle, and he will truly be there to represent the people,” she said.
District 20 State Rep. Bob Ramsey praised Swann. “It’s extremely important we have all the experience we can gather in the State House, and Art Swann is an exceptionally dedicated public servant who will be invaluable to the welfare of the entire state,” he said.
Outgoing District 8 State Rep. Joe McCord also voiced his support for Swann. “The people of Blount and Sevier counties are very fortunate Art is running. He brings business experience, local and state government experience, and he understands the legislative process. He is truly there to represent the people,” he said. “He’s not going to have a learning curve.”
Art Swann thanked everyone for coming. “I appreciate Peggy and John for hosting this event, and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Congressman John Duncan for showing up. We had a great turnout from all directions. Now all we need is for people to get out and vote,” he said.
Circuit Court Judge Dale Young spoke highly of the candidate. “Art Swann is my friend. He did a tremendous job when he was in the State House before, and I’m behind him 100 percent,” the judge said.
Former Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham and wife Janis were on hand and Cunningham said he was very pleased when Swann decided to run for the state legislature. “I know the caliber of man he is and know the quality of representation he gave. Art is very dedicated and talented, a person who has a deep love for Blount County,” he said. “The Swann family goes back a couple generations and are deeply rooted in the history of Blount County. Art’s brother Joe has also served Maryville well.”
Joe Swann, Maryville city councilman, said when his brother was in the state legislature during the 1980s, Democrats controlled the General Assembly. “It was very difficult to get anything done if you were a Republican. He was very effective, but this time it will be much easier with an expected Republican majority,” he said.
Roy Crawford, Sr., of Maryville said he feels confident Art Swann will be elected, if no other reason than he did a good job when he was in the State House in the 1980s. “He was an excellent representative then, and I’m confident he’ll do so again,” Crawford said.
Sheriff James Berrong praised Art Swann. “He’ll be a great representative of Blount County,” he said.
Blount County commissioner Jerome Moon, District 4-C, said it is important to have someone like Swann who has legislative experience working for this community in Nashville. “He understands how the legislative process works, and he will benefit all of Blount County,” Moon said.
Peggy McCord said she’s behind Swann 100 percent. “The people of Blount County are lucky he’s running,” she said. “He’ll be a good representative.”
District 19 State Rep. Harry Brooks praised Art Swann. “He has experience in local and state government, he’s level-headed, and he’s a good decision-maker. I look forward to working with him,” he said.
Chuck Alexander of Maryville said Art Swann is a life-long friend. “He’s the best man for the job, and I’m delighted to support him,” he said.
David Caldwell of Maryville said Art Swann has been a friend and mentor to him for years. “I couldn’t think of a finer person to represent us on a state level,” he said.
Ted Boyatt of Maryville said in this political climate with the economy where it is, people are coming to realize conservative government is very much needed, and Art Swann is a true conservative,” he said.
Rob Goddard of Maryville said he has known Art Swann since he served on the county commission and then in the state legislature. “Art has the integrity, leadership skills and experience to handle some of the tough problems we will face economically and otherwise,” he said.
Carl Koella of Rockford said, “He did a good job for Blount County in the past, and he’ll do a good job in the future,” Koella said. “Art knows his way around Nashville, he knows what is important to Blount County, and he’ll be an excellent representative.”
Dustin J. Tipton, who made a brief run in the Republican primary, said she’s proud to support Swann. “We’re going to keep working hard,” she said of Swann’s campaign as election day nears.
Kathy Wilbanks said people are happy to see Swann on the ballot. “The people I run into are enthusiastic about Art running,” she said. “I think Art will do a good job for Blount and Sevier counties.”