Randy Boyd, former Economic and Community Development Commissioner under Governor Bill Haslam, announced on Monday that he is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of Tennessee.
“I’m running for governor to truly make Tennessee THE state of opportunity. Please join us on this opportunity of a lifetime,” Boyd said in a statement released on his campaign website.
“There is not a better time to live and work in Tennessee, but not everyone is sharing in that success. My campaign will be about expanding opportunities for every Tennessee family and community,” Boyd added.
Boyd dodged taking a position on Gov. Haslam’s controversial proposal to increase the gas tax by 7 cents per gallon to fund more road construction.
“In terms of the ongoing discussion on the state’s infrastructure needs, which has led to Haslam proposing a gas tax increase, Boyd said he preferred to let the governor and the Legislature move forward with their efforts,” the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
“The only thing I would say is they must come up with a solution . . . It has to be solved. We are underfunding our roads,” Boyd told the News Sentinel.
The former Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner has an impressive record in business prior to his entry into the political arena.
“Boyd is the chairman of Radio Systems Corp., the invisible dog-fence company he founded more than 25 years ago. As of 2015, the company had $350 million of annual revenue and offices in seven countries,” the Nashville Business Journal reports.
“My goals are clear,” Boyd says on his campaign website:
1. To Complete the Drive to 55
We need to ensure every Tennessean, whether a high school graduate or adult, has the opportunity to get the education they need for the jobs now and in the future. For our state to be successful, we must achieve our mission of the Drive to 55, meaning 55 percent of the population has some credential past high school by the year 2025. We are only at 39 percent now, so we have a lot of work ahead of us.
2. To Be #1 in the Southeast for High Quality Jobs
As every businessman knows, your best return on investment is taking care of the customers you already have, and we will continue to support our existing businesses. But, we have the highest business taxes in the Southeast. Not only does it hurt us in attracting new business, but it makes it hard on existing businesses to grow and stay in Tennessee.
The future also belongs to our small businesses and entrepreneurs just getting started. We want to be the best state in the country for small business start-ups and the way we do that is reduce restrictions, regulations and red tape. Sometimes the way government helps business the most, is to just get out of the way.
I’m running for governor to truly make Tennessee THE state of opportunity.
3. To Have Zero Distressed Counties by 2025
By nearly every statewide measure, we’re living in the best time in our state’s history, but that’s not true for everyone. In fact, 17 of our 95 counties are classified as distressed, meaning they are in the bottom 10 percent in the country in poverty, income and unemployment. There is similar economic distress in many areas of our cities. We are only successful if we are successful together, and we have some neighbors who are struggling. We must double down, and then triple down, until no community is left behind.
“In addition to Boyd announcing his bid, the East Tennessean has hired a campaign team that includes Chip Saltsman, Scott Niswonger, John Crisp and Bonnie Brezina,” the News Sentinel reports:
Saltsman, who previously served as chairman of the state Republican Party, will manage the campaign. The chairman and founder of LandAir, Niswonger will serve as treasurer. Crisp, who has consulted former U.S. Reps. Zach Wamp and Bill Jenkins, will serve as communications adviser. Brezina will serve as political director. She previously was involved in several campaigns, including for U.S. Rep. David Kustoff and Sens. Green, Ed Jackson and Richard Briggs.
Boyd is the first Republican to formally announce. State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) has filed the paperwork to run, and has said he will make a formal announcement at the end of the current session of the Tennessee General Assembly.
On the Democratic side, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has announced his candidacy.