Incumbent Jeff Joines will face challenger Jason Henry in the Aug. 7 race for District 14 Wilson County commissioner.
Joines seeks his third term as District 14 commissioner. First elected in 2006, he was re-elected in 2010 while serving a second tour in Iraq with the Tennessee Army National Guard.
Joines continues to serve with the 269th Military Police Co. and is also employed by CSX Transportation in Nashville.
Joines has been married to Debbie Joines, a manager with the University of Tennessee Extension Service, for the past 26 years. They have two children, Audrey and Cole, and one grandson, Jackson.
Henry is an emergency room physician’s assistant at Summit Medical Center. He has 14 years of experience in the military and continues to serve in the Tennessee National Guard. He was an enlisted Navy Corpsman and served as a Marine Corpsman in the reserves, as well. As a commissioned officer in the Tennessee Army National Guard in 2011, Henry served as a medical officer for an infantry company in Afghanistan and earned his combat medic badge.
Henry has been married to Dina Henry for the past 13 years, and they have three sons, Nick, Sam and Vinny. The Henrys have lived in Wilson County for the past eight years.
What prompted you to seek office? Was it a personal initiative or did others encourage you?
Joines: While serving my first tour in Iraq in 2003-04, the overwhelming support my community showed my family and I showed me I needed to give back. When I ran in 2006, I had a lot of folks who lived in this district asked me to run. I was re-elected in 2010 while serving my second term in Iraq. In this election, I’ve had many encourage me to run again and continue to represent the Glade.
Henry: I was encouraged to run by neighbors, family, co-workers and some local public officials who felt we needed some fresh ideas in county government to help manage the ever-changing needs of our community. Mindful of my past experience in the service to our country and my current commitment to emergency health care, they were aware I am always willing to serve. Additionally, I have a strong bond to Wilson County. I have a family to raise here, and I feel this is a great place to live and want to contribute to the growth and prosperity now and in the future.
What are the most important issues in your race, and how do you plan to address them?
Joines: Growth in our district and across Wilson County will be the No. 1 issue for this campaign and many more to come. Growth means new development and strains on infrastructure, school systems, law enforcement and WEMA. We need to do our due diligence with taxpayer’s money and ensure growth offsets cost of increased needs. The decisions that are made in education, infrastructure and quality of life will determine how successful we will become in Wilson County.
Henry: I call my platform PACT. Prosperity – Working with the three cities in Wilson County to maximize the county’s potential for economic growth and responsible development. Accountability – It is my goal to make county government accountable to the needs of the citizens and increase citizen participation in commission meetings and community affairs. Clarity – I have a clear vision to interface the needs of my personal constituents with others in the county to ensure that all of their desires are represented when we are conducting government business. Transparency – I will encourage the recording of commission meetings and push to have all meeting streamed live on the county website. I would also like to see all documents going before the commission posted online at least 24 hours before they are presented. I hope that this will increase citizen awareness of our needs and theirs, too. I also believe in a strong school system that is financed properly along with the rest of the county budgets.
What would you say to voters opposed to your running for office to convince them you are the most qualified?
Joines: I have eight years of experience as the 14th District county commissioner and additionally serve on the Road Commission and Urban Type Facilities Board. Working along with other commissioners, I’ve been successful in getting things done for our district, such as establishing a growth area around the Gladeville community and upgrading services. This will prevent Gladeville from going into the Lebanon or Mt. Juliet growth areas. The partnership I have with other commissioners will enable me to better serve my constituents in the next four years.
Henry: I am aware that we have some very fine individuals in county government today. But our county is growing, and we need new faces in government. I am not a county employee. I feel that is very important. I will show no favoritism or nepotism. I have a military and medical management background and am disciplined to make the right decisions for the right reasons without emotional attachment. I have had to make immediate judgmental decisions without hesitation to save lives. I am used to working under budgetary and time constraints, and I have demonstrated that I can perform well under duress and pressure to meet deadlines for the common good of all. Furthermore, I currently work closely with our state officials and key citizen groups who will assist me in protecting our needs at the state legislature.
What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?
Joines: I bring my experience as a county commissioner of the 14th District and my proven track record. Experience is a great thing to have, but it’s a son of a gun to get. Potential changes and growth in the next four years could be life changing in our community, especially if the wrong decisions are made. You want somebody in there you know has a proven track record of doing what’s best for our community.
Henry: I bring youth, a proven successful military record of achievements in defending the constitution and the rights of our citizens. I am a strong fiscal conservative, which reflects the political makeup of the voters and elected state officers in this county. I am not a county employee and will not let any personal interests influence my decisions. I am a fresh face in politics. I have the virtue of running on a clean slate without business or departmental attachments. I am independent of prejudicial judgments. I have no favors to pay back to anyone. I am here for one reason, to serve in the people’s government as I have done throughout my life.
How is your experience – or lack of experience – a plus or minus for the position you are seeking?
Joines: During the last two terms, I’ve been able to develop relationships with other commissioners and leaders in county government to be able to cut through red tape and get things accomplished for our district and Wilson County. Serving on committees, including Road Commission, Ag Center Management as chairman, Education Committee, public works, planning and zoning, enables my constituents to have a powerful voice in county government.
Henry: Although I have never been an elected official, I have been a proven leader in the military, and I have demonstrated that I can adapt quickly to any situation that calls for immediate action and reaction. I have also always participated in local government affairs and citizen community groups. Some very astute and honorable public servants have mentored me. I have no special interest groups to be accountable to. I am an outsider with new ideas to introduce and implement to address our ever-changing growth and developmental needs.