Montgomery County Commissioner Tommy Vallejos says he plans to run for state Sen. Mark Green’s vacated seat.
Green (R-Clarksville) was recently nominated by President Trump to become secretary of the army. There will be a special election to replace Green once he is confirmed.
Vallejos, a county commissioner since first getting elected in 2010, also serves as board chairman for Latinos For Tennessee, a group that promotes conservative values and policies. A retired army veteran, he is an associate pastor at Faith Outreach Church in Clarksville and has been involved in prison ministries and gang awareness and prevention.
Vallejos told The Tennessee Star he wouldn’t run as a Republican but then legislate as a liberal once at the Capitol.
“We have too many RINOs there now,” he said, referring to the moniker Republicans in Name Only. “I don’t want to be one of those. You’ve got to stand on principles.”
Vallejos, 54, lives in Clarksville and has been married almost 35 years. He and his wife have four children and seven grandchildren. He is a native of New Mexico.
Early in the 2016 presidential election cycle, Vallejos campaigned for Ted Cruz but later stood by Trump after he became the Republican Party nominee.
A lifelong Republican, Vallejos said his positions are similar to those of Green, who has worked closely with Latinos For Tennessee. The group seeks to protect the unborn child and the sanctity of marriage, and has supported Trump’s immigration policies. The group also advocates for free markets and fiscal responsibility.
Vallejos said he is against raising the tax on gas to fund road improvements.
“Let’s look at waste,” he said. “Why tax the citizens of Tennessee again?”