Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Tennessee State Representative Johnny Garrett to the newsmakers line to discuss his background and love of American baseball.
Leahy: We are joined on the newsmaker line by State Representative Johnny Garrett from Sumner County. Good morning Representative Garrett.
Garrett: Good morning. Thank you for having me on. I appreciate it.
Leahy: We are very happy to have you on. A very interesting background. It looks like to me you are a rising star in the Tennessee Republican Party. Were you just named in this recent session the majority whip in the House?
Garrett: I was. I actually took over as majority whip in my first legislative session sort of midway through. Our former whip had to step down for various reasons. And we ended up electing another one and I believe I was probably the first freshman legislator to become the majority whip. And then I ran again for it in my second term. And that’s where I stand in our leadership.
Leahy: That’s quite impressive for a freshman legislator to be named majority whip. I’m looking at your background, Johnny and I think I can see why. You’re an attorney and got your J.D. here from the Nashville School of Law. And it looks like you practice sort of the nuts and bolts of law for entrepreneurs and small businesses and you have a strong background in probate and estate planning and things of that nature. I’ve looked at the bills you’ve introduced and they seem to be they all seem to kind of focus on tightening up little loopholes and various elements of the law. Do I have that right?
Garrett: You do. And of course, any time someone interacts with the judicial system or anytime someone interacts with our government it’s my opinion you want that interaction to be as small as possible or as easy as possible. And I enjoy that aspect of my background in order to take that experience to the General Assembly to make people interact with the government or your business or anyone else in the most limited way possible to make it easier. I enjoy being able to present bills that make it a little bit easier to function.
Leahy: That’s it. That’s a very good way of putting it. (Garrett chuckles) I read through all those bills and I said, I think that that’s what this guy’s about. Making it easier and making it common sense. Or codifying common sense. That seems to be kind of what you’re about. I’m looking at your bio here state Representative Johnny Garrett.
A lifetime member of the National Rifle Association past member of Ducks Unlimited. Here’s what I like. You enjoy spending time with your family hunting, golf, and anything baseball. Okay, so here we go. (Garrett bellows) Hey, so here we go. I love baseball. Tell me about baseball.
Garrett: Well one job that I wanted to keep you know, as we as you build a law practice and get yourself a little known around the community you spend a lot of time with nonprofits and whatnot trying to help others. And ever since I guess my son was four he played in the Goodletteseville baseball program where I played growing up.
And so I had been president of the Goodlettsville Little League since probably 2013. And when I ran for office I begged the board to please let me keep this if I possibly can even though when we’re in session, that’s when our season is going. And so I have been president of the Goodlettsville Baseball League since 2013 and have been part of that program gosh since I was probably five years old.
We’ve been to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania twice. And actually in 2012 and were the U.S. National Championship Champions from Goodlettsville. And so baseball is one of my passions. My son is now 17 and he plays baseball in high school and he is a really good player. And so I just enjoy the game now.
Leahy: Did you play yourself?
Garrett: I did I played through high school and then I didn’t play beyond high school. I started doing other things, but I’ve been in and around baseball in some form or fashion for my entire life. And my dad died at what I would I consider a very young age and very sudden about thirteen years ago and that was one thing.
Well, it was one of the many things that we had in common. But that was one thing that we enjoyed doing together. And so it’s kind of the way I remember him as well by staying connected to this community and baseball. And it’s just a way that people connect that I like to be a part of. That’s a little brief of my baseball history.
Leahy: Let me just say anybody who’s the president of the local little league is a great guy. I’ll tell you that right now.
Garrett: That’s nice of you. (Chuckles)
Leahy: Well look. It’s America, isn’t it? It’s kids playing sports and learning how to be on a team. I recall the very first time that I played baseball again it was a little league tryout. It was so exciting. I was probably 5 years old, maybe six years old. I grew up in Plattsburgh, New York that a beautiful field. I visited it actually a couple of summers ago. The field is still there and still in great condition and kids still play baseball. I remember how exciting here was like a five or six-year-old to get on the field in a uniform and have somebody hit a ground ball to me and throw him out. It was just great.
Garrett: Oh, there’s nothing like it. I kid folks that the house we bought five years ago in Goodletteseville actually has a baseball field. And so I tell people that I bought a baseball field and I bought a house. So I’m on a baseball field with a house.
Leahy: There you go. Well, here’s something, have you talked to the guys at Music City Baseball?
Garrett: I have not actually. I should.
Leahy: They’re trying to bring Major League Baseball to Nashville. I have question marks about it for any number of reasons, that’s right.
Garrett: I do too. I agree. I hope that that happens. Well obviously I’m a big fan of sports but you know, the big question is will gosh where’s the room? Can we support it? Can Nashville support it? I mean it’s a big undertaking but I have been following that. But I certainly haven’t talked to any folks. But they need to come out to Goodlettesvlile and see our kids.
Leahy: Well now that’s a very interesting comment because I’ve been talking to the guy that is the managing director of Music City Baseball John Loar. He’s been a guest on the program. Before that, it was Dave Dombrowski who’s now the head of baseball operations for the Philadelphia Phillies. He had been the head of the Red Sox, Tigers, and Marlins.
Great guy. So but I expressed my curiosity about this to Johnny Loar and here’s what he’s thinking. I’m going to plant this seed with you. He was thinking well, maybe we just do a big old baseball complex in Williamson County or let’s say Sumner County. And the thought that I had is yeah a baseball complex with a major league stadium and dozens of Little League fields. What do you think about that?
Garrett: Oh, I think wherever that might go, I’d love for it to come to Sumner County. That would be a sight to see.
Leahy: We’ll plant that seed with you and maybe we can have a conversation with you and the Music City Baseball guys.
Garrett: I’d love to do it.
Leahy: State Representative Johnny Garrett thanks for joining us come and studio sometime and we’ll talk a little bit more.
Garrett: I’ll be glad to I love to do this in person.
Leahy: Okay, that sounds great state Representative Johnny Garrett, majority whip of the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Listen to the full first hour here:
– – –