Franklin Next Stop on Campaign Trail for Gubernatorial Candidate Boyd

AUTHOR: Kerri Bartlett
SOURCE: The Williamson Herald

After awaking at 4:30 a.m. to run about six miles Wednesday morning in Murfreesboro, gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd found time to stop at Puckett’s Grocery in Williamson County, as part of his quest to run a portion of all of Tennessee’s 95 counties, or 537.3 miles on the campaign trail.

Brentwood Mayor Jill Burgin, school board member Sheila Cleveland, and Franklin resident Mindy Tate, to name a few, joined Boyd for lunch to hear about his campaign platform and to ask questions. Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson and Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, also greeted Boyd at Puckett’s.

Boyd, previous state economic development commissioner, said education is an issue on the forefront of his mind and campaign initiatives. Boyd said he helped Gov. Bill Haslam “author and create” Drive 55, and he plans “to finish it.” Drive 55 is an initiative to get 55 percent of Tennessee adults to go back to school to obtain higher-level certification or a degree.

Boyd said “no one in the state is happy” with the current Basic Education Plan (BEP), the funding formula that distributes funding to school districts, and he believes it needs to be tweaked to be more efficient.

“Williamson County has a great educational system, though there are growth challenges and the BEP formula needs to be looked at to accommodate a growing community,” Boyd said.

Boyd also called Williamson County a model for others in many areas.

”Williamson County is an economic driver and an epicenter of education and jobs,” he said. “It can serve as a model for others and is one to duplicate.”

Boyd said he has a goal of helping impoverished counties in Tennessee so that eventually there are “no distressed counties in Tennessee.”

“We are only as rich as our poorest neighbor,” he said.

Burgin said she appreciated Boyd listening to her concerns.

 “I like it when candidates come to visit Williamson County,” she said. “I wanted to come to remind him about the importance of local control.”

Tate said she is impressed with Boyd’s leadership.

“He is a strong leader. He served as economic development commissioner,” she said. “He has good ideas for the state in the area of education and he can help us bridge the gaps between various counties in Tennessee.”