Rusty Grills, a Dyer County conservative, has announced his campaign in the special election primary for State House District 77 scheduled for November 5.
The state’s northwest seat was vacated by Republican Representative Bill Sanderson, who was elected in 2018 to his fifth term, when he announced his resignation effective September 5.
Sanderson publicly stated that his resignation was due to the illness of his son-in-law and wanting to devote more time to his business, White Squirrel Winery. However, Sanderson’s resignation coincided with unconfirmed reports that the legislator had taken to the gay dating and hook-up app, Grindr, seeking younger men.
Grills, a 9th generation farmer and Dyer County Commissioner since 2010, believes his experience “in both the private and public sector will pay dividends as a public servant in the state legislature.”
“Faith, family and farming are the driving force behind Rusty’s belief system,” says Grills’ press release on his campaign announcement.
“Guided by his faith and conservative principles,” Grills says he is pro-life, pro-adoption and, as a lifetime member of the Tennessee Firearms Association, supports the 2nd Amendment.
Grills says his priorities as State Representative will be to invest wisely in education, empowering parents and students, promote entrepreneurship and preserve traditional Tennessee values.
“My blueprint for success is simple. If we keep taxes low and invest in education, the result will be more job opportunities for the people of Dyer, Obion and Lake counties,” Grills said of the area represented in Tennessee’s 77th House District.
As a county commissioner, Grills has stood against local property tax increases and believes that government should work for the people, not the other way around.
Grills says his philosophy has always been, “Listen to the people you serve, work hard to make government accountable to them, and use common sense in making decisions.”
Besides being a member of Governor Bill Lee’s conservative grassroots advisory council, Grills is a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump.
In addition to serving on the Dyer County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and holding numerous leadership positions with the county and state farm bureaus, Grills has served in numerous volunteer causes such as the Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome, Crisis Pregnancy Center, County Youth AG Day, local firefighters’ fundraisers, FFA and youth baseball coach, according to his website.
Grills has been married to his wife Christi, a registered nurse, for 13 years and together they have two daughters. They are members of the Lenox Baptist Church, where the couple teaches Sunday School and work in the children’s ministry.
Grills told The Tennessee Star he would be honored to serve the community that he grew up in and his family has been a part of. He feels that, at this point in his life, “This is the direction God has called me to go and has opened the path.”
The party primary for the special election will be held on Tuesday, November 5, with early voting running from October 16 to 31.
The special election will be held on December 19, 2019. Candidates running in the District 77 special election are required to file the necessary paperwork by September 26.
The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance campaign finance database is not currently set up for viewing disclosure reports submitted by candidates for the District 77 special election.
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Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.