By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd stopped in Hartsville on Tuesday as part of a 95-county bus tour.

Boyd met with voters at the Community Center for about an hour and discussed the campaign and his platform for the state’s top job.

Boyd, a businessman from Knoxville, spoke first on improving education.

“One of the things I want to do as governor is making sure every kid has the opportunity to graduate not just with a high school diploma, but with a certificate in some kind of job and skills.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Randy Boyd, center, met with voters in Hartsville on Tuesday as part of his campaign for governor of Tennessee.

Boyd said he wanted to provide free dual enrollment opportunities at Tennessee’s Colleges of Applied Technology statewide. Trousdale County currently has such a program in place with TCAT Hartsville.

He said he also envisions satellite TCAT campuses in high schools across the state to better enable opportunities for students.

Boyd helped create Gov. Bill Haslam’s ‘Drive to 44’ initiative, designed to have 55 percent of Tennessee adults have a college degree or certificate by 2025. He also helped create the Tennessee Promise, which uses lottery funds to provide two free years of education to graduating high school seniors in Tennessee.

The opioid crisis was another area Boyd touched upon, as he has previously called for working to reduce overprescribing and better education on the dangers of opioids.

“I published a 10-point plan with three big things,” Boyd said. “First we need to declare a state of emergency and put someone in charge. Second, we need to keep people from getting addicted in the first place. Finally, we have to do a better job with recovery… sending people to get the treatment they need.”

Boyd touted his experience as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, saying Tennessee brought in 50,000 jobs and $11 billion in capital investment during his tenure there.

“We’re a state of haves and have-nots,” he said. “You get to rural Tennessee and a lot of counties aren’t doing so well. We need to invest in their education, their industrial parks, broadband… and tourism.”

Boyd also touted his Christian faith and conservative credentials after being the subject of attack ads in recent weeks questioning his support of the president and referring to him as a moderate.

“I’m a Christian. Jenny (wife) and I have been going to the same Presbyterian church and sitting in the same pew for the last 34 years,” he said. “I believe God has given us more than we’ve ever expected, and my life is about trying to give back. That’s why I’m running for governor.”

Asked what separated him from the other Republican candidates (Diane Black, Beth Harwell and Bill Lee), Boyd touted both his experience as an entrepreneur in private business and his executive experience as a part of the Haslam administration.

“I started my own company – the only one that has done that out of the group,” Boyd said. “The governor has 42,000 employees and a $37 billion budget. You want someone who has run something before.

“Of all the candidates, no one has any executive branch experience. It’s one thing to be a legislator, but as governor you’re in charge of getting things done. I know how to create educational opportunities in our state. I’ve proven I can be a job creator in the private sector and in the public sector. Our goal is to make Tennessee the state of opportunity.”

More information about Boyd’s campaign is available online at randyboyd.com.

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