Menda Holmes, a candidate for the District 46 seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives, called on the Wilson County Commission to appoint a “place holder” to serve in the seat vacated last month held by former State Rep. Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) since the 107th General Assembly in 2011.
Pody was elected to represent State Senate District 17 in a special election held on December 19, 2017. He will now serve in the State Senate seat vacated by gubernatorial candidate and former State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet).
With less than twelve months remaining before the next general election for legislators, the Tennessee Constitution Article II Section 15 (b) calls for the “successor to be elected by the legislative body of the replaced legislator’s county of residence at the time of his or her election.”
As Pody’s county of residence, Wilson County’s Board of Commissioners will make the appointment. A Special Called Meeting of the Wilson County Commission has been set for Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 6 p.m. for the sole purpose of appointing the 46th District Representative, which consists of Cannon County and portions of Wilson and Dekalb counties.
Holmes, in her email, stated that “In all fairness to the citizens of the District, I believe the appropriate course of action for the Wilson County Commissioners is to nominate a place holder, not a declared candidate, for this interim period.”
As such, Holmes committed, “I will not be submitting my name for this appointment, because I feel it is ultimately the responsibility of the people of the 46th District to choose their State Representative.”
Holmes, through her call to action, urges a phone call or email be made to the Wilson County Commissioners encouraging them to appoint a place holder for the interim period, not a declared candidate.
Two issues arise from an interim appointment by a county commission. The first is that only the county where the departing legislator resides makes the interim appointment, leaving other counties within the district without a vote as to the interim appointee.
The second issue is relative to the appointment of a declared candidate, which has the potential to give the candidate an advantage in the election, running as the incumbent, and can also put the appointee in an obligatory position with the county commission for such incumbent advantage.
Open Secrets reports that being the incumbent is a significant advantage at the national level, where, from 1964 to 2016, incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives were re-elected at a rate of greater than 80 percent and U.S. Senators to a lesser degree, but 20 out of 27 elections the rate was at or greater than 80 percent.
The full text of Menda Holmes’ email can be read here:
CALL TO ACTION
Please call or email your Wilson County Commissioner
Now that Senator Mark Pody has won the 17th District Senate seat, the 46th District House seat he held is open. Since there is not enough time to hold a special election before the next legislative session, the Wilson County Commission will appoint an interim representative to fill the seat until the general election on November 6, 2018.
I will not be submitting my name for this appointment because I feel it is ultimately the responsibility of the people of the 46th District to choose their State Representative. In all fairness to the citizens of the District, I believe the appropriate course of action for the Wilson County Commissioners is to nominate a place holder, not a declared candidate, for this interim period. This has been done before in other state legislative appointments such as District 94 in 2016.
PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL YOUR COUNTY COMMISSIONER THIS WEEK and encourage them to appoint a place holder for this interim period, not a declared candidate. A place holder is someone willing to actively serve as a State Representative for this session only, and not run as a candidate in the 2018 election. The Wilson County commission will be making this appointment on January 10th.
Click here for Wilson County Commissioner phone numbers. Simply click on the commissioner’s name if you wish to contact them by email. For those of you who live in the 46th District outside of Wilson County please direct your correspondence to County Mayor Randall Hutto.
Thank you for your support.