EXCLUSIVE Interview With State Rep. Jimmy Matlock On Announcement He Is Running For 2nd Congressional District Seat

State Representative Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City), citing Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan’s (R-TN-02) announcement Monday that he will not seek re-election to Congress, announced his organization of a campaign to run for the 2nd District Congressional seat.

In an exclusive interview with The Tennessee Star, Rep. Matlock shared that his official announcement “Is really my heart, and I tried to share why I felt like I have the abilities through my business, through my 11 years of public service. The really the body of work, the opportunities that come across my day in this business and in my public service are so varied and so much unique, that I think I can transition that into the Congressional seat.”

Matlock relayed parallel scenarios in his business and political life, saying “I can take a phone call in this business from a multi-million dollar banker and the next phone call would be from a single mom who needs to hold a check for $35 until Friday. With constituent work, you can talk with the Governor of the state and hang up from there and have a veteran on the phone who can’t get his benefits right.”

“You’ve got to be able to do both those things with the same amount of compassion and the same desire to get a result. And I can do both those well with the same intent to help,” Matlock told The Star, adding “God’s blessed me with that gift and twice the amount of energy of a normal person.”

Matlock says he can “go long and hard” getting up early and “work and work and work.” Those are things Matlock thinks people want in an elected official, along with getting a paycheck outside of government and having been responsible for providing paychecks.

Matlock, a small business owner of four tire service and auto repair locations, has served in the Tennessee House of Representatives since 2007 and was a former Chair of the Loudon County Republican Party.

Last year, Matlock, endorsed by then anticipated Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge), made the unusual move of challenging Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), widely criticized for her handling of a number of issues in the 109th General Assembly. Harwell defeated Matlock and later replaced him as Chairman of the House Transportation Committee with Rep. Barry Doss (R-Leoma), who was the House sponsor of the gas-tax increasing IMPROVE Act as HB 534, which Matlock voted against when it reached the full House.

As a business owner, Matlock has firsthand experience with “the catastrophic failure of Obamacare on many levels,” and, as such he is “determined to see it repealed and, once it’s gone, I promise to do everything in my power to ensure that our healthcare is never again taken hostage by the federal government.”

As a state representative for the past 11 years known for his soft spokenness, Matlock says, “I don’t need to be seen or heard,” but has focused instead on being “a good listener, talking very little and working very hard” which sometimes is just a matter of “simply trying to connect that person to the goal line.”

One little-known example, as told by former House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) during a May 4, 2017, Republican caucus meeting held during the battle over the state’s budget, goes back to 2008 and 2010 when Jimmy Matlock “didn’t just raise money, he wrote us a significant personal check, and it came at a great time” to finally achieve a Republican majority in the House for the first time in four decades.

Term-limited Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett filed Statement of Candidacy paperwork with the FEC for the office of U.S. Representative for Tennessee’s 2nd District dated July 29 and plans to make his announcement on Saturday, August 5.

Matlock’s full announcement can be found below and on his campaign website:

East Tennessee, August 3, 2017– On Monday my dear friend Congressman Jimmy Duncan announced that he will not seek re-election to Congress. It has been an honor to watch him serve and lead our community over the years.

Since his announcement I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the flood of contacts I’ve received from people encouraging me to fill the void that will be left by his departure. In light of this encouragement and after much prayer, today I am announcing the organization of a campaign for Tennessee’s Second Congressional District.

We live in serious times that require serious leadership. Health care is in critical condition, we’re in dire need of immigration reform, and our fiscal house is a disaster, leaving our children and grandchildren buried under a mountain of debt. While these challenges are daunting, they can be overcome through solid, consistent, and serious conservative leadership.

As a small businessman, I’ve experienced the catastrophic failure of Obamacare on many levels. I am determined to see it repealed and, once it’s gone, I promise to do everything in my power to ensure that our healthcare is never again taken hostage by the federal government.

33 years of marriage, 35 years spent earning the trust of thousands of customers, and 11 years spent serving the people of the 21st District in the Tennessee House of Representatives have taught me the value of consistently applying conservative principles in every area of life.

Anyone can talk like a conservative. What we need is someone who’s going to act like one. We don’t need more empty rhetoric. DC is filled with enough hot air already. Nor do we need politicians who have little or no experience building anything of substance in the real world. DC is already loaded with those, too. What we need now is solid, serious conservative leadership and character that’s been shaped and tested through real world experience.

When a presumed candidate publicly speculates about “which office to run for next”, they model an attitude that most hard working Tennesseans find repugnant. We don’t need another politician looking for the next place to land in a career loaded with political experience but lacking any private sector accomplishment. We don’t need another smooth political entertainer. We need a tried, tested, and true business leader with real world accomplishments.

Having built a business over 35 years of long days filled with hard work that began well before sunrise, I understand what it means to pour blood, sweat, and tears into a mission that lives or dies by how well it serves others. Having had to dive into that work at an early age in order to provide for my family, I understand what it means to sacrifice ease, comfort, and short-term goals for the benefit, security, and prosperity of others. Having been blessed by God with a wife of 33 years and three children to raise through often lean, hard times, I appreciate the necessity of healthy families to our culture.

I enter this race inspired by a passion to help secure a better, brighter future for the people, families, and businesses of East Tennessee.

I look forward to the campaign ahead and the opportunity to fight for a vision that celebrates the values of the hard working people who make East Tennessee great.

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  1. […] referring to State Representative Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City), who beat Burchett to the punch by announcing his organization of a campaign to run for the 2nd District Congressional seat two days before […]

  2. […] Representative Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City), who announced August 3 his campaign to run for the 2nd District Congressional seat, following Representative John […]

  3. […] an exclusive statement to The Tennessee Star regarding the announcement by Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City) that he will be running for the 2nd Congressional District, […]