Senate candidate Jon Henry, left, of Riddleton speaks with WTNK’s Jerry Richmond.

Jon Henry of Riddleton is tossing his name into the pool of candidates seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

Henry spent 27 years in the Marine Corps, rising to the rank of Sergeant Major and serving in both Iraq wars during his military career. He grew up in Riddleton, raising tobacco, crops, cattle and pigs.

His wife, Renee, is from Hartsville and the couple has two children, Kristian and Jonathan, and a grandson, Kolton. Henry recently was a guest on WTNK’s “Lunchtime with Eleanor” show and spoke with hosts Jerry Richmond and Eleanor Ford.

“I married her right out of high school and headed off to the military, 27 years in the Marine Corps,” Henry said. “It helped me figure out who I was and developed who I am. You build a lot of character in the Marine Corps and (I also had) the backdrop of hard work on the farm…”

Since leaving the Marines, Henry has returned to Smith County and has been building his own home.

Asked why he wanted to jump into politics, Henry said, “The media these days omit so much and distorts what comes out of a politician’s mouth, what they stand for… We as Americans don’t hear exactly what goes on…

“We just felt compelled, after a lot of prayer, that that’s what we were supposed to do. We need somebody with my background, my upbringing as our next senator.”

Henry has been campaigning across Tennessee and noted that he does not have the name recognition, but said he hopes to build grassroots support.

“They’ve got a million dollars; I’ve got combat boots taking a million steps,” he said. “I’m focusing on things I know: agriculture and the military. Everywhere we go, I try to talk to farmers… You either are a farmer, know a farmer, or are kin to a farmer in Tennessee.”

Henry said he wants to protect small family farmers and encourage small business by reducing government regulations.

“I think food and farmers run this country,” he said.

Henry also said he felt some of Americans’ rights were endangered, such as the right to carry arms and the ability to practice religion publicly.

“The minority should not make the majority follow their beck and call,” he said. “Government should stay out of a lot of people’s business.”

Henry also promotes strong national defense and term limits for politicians. He also said he supports public education but says the testing mentality needs to change.

“It takes a lot of the initiative out and I think education should be at the state level… instead of being pushed down from Washington, D.C. one size fits all,” Henry said.

To learn more about Henry’s campaign, visit his website at jonhenryforsenate.com. The Republican primary will be held on Aug. 6.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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