Pinion contacted about state Senate post

Pinion contacted about state Senate post
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
State Sen. Roy Herron’s recent announcement he would not be seeking re-election in the fall has left open a strategic seat in the upper house of the state Legislature.
There has been one very interesting development that has emerged in the wake of Herron’s announcement last week.
Former state Rep. Phillip Pinion told The Messenger he has been approached about running for Herron’s Senate seat.
He said he has been approached by both political parties to run for Herron’s seat in the state Senate.
“I’m enjoying what I’m doing right now,” Pinion told The Messenger today. “I haven’t made a decision yet. … It’s too early.”
The longtime Union City Democrat retired from the state House of Represen-tatives in 2008 after serving this district for nearly 20 years.
His experience in state government apparently made him an appealing candidate for the Senate seat. However, Pinion told The Messenger he hasn’t made a definite decision about running for the seat but said he is leaning toward not running.
He said he plans on continuing his work as a consultant for TRC Worldwide Engineering of Brentwood.
Meanwhile, there is considerable speculation about who will run for Herron’s seat.
It is a strategic seat in that it represents a district that is in a state of transition on several levels.
Specifically, Obion County is relying on several ongoing projects — I-69, Cates Landing and developments taking place at Everett-Stewart Regional Airport — to help the region recover from last year’s shutdown of the Union City Goodyear plant.
The tire plant employed about 1,800 workers from across northwest Tennessee and southwest Kentucky when it was shut down last fall.
The economic impact has been significant.
Obion County has been ranked as having the second highest unemployment rate in the state for the past five consecutive months. Other counties in the region have also suffered with high unemployment rates in the wake of the Goodyear plant’s closure.
Several strategies have been implemented through the Tennessee Valley Authority and the state Department of Economic and Community Development, but having key political representation at the state and federal levels are considered important factors in the region’s recovery.
That’s where the Dresden Democrat’s state Senate seat comes into play, as far as securing vital state support for local projects.
The qualifying deadline for Herron’s seat is noon April 5, according to Obion County Administrator of Election Leah Schlager. She told The Messenger candidates for the seat have to wait until Monday to pick up a petition and petitions must have the signatures of at least 25 registered voters to have the candidate’s name listed on the ballot for the Aug. 2 primary.
Candidates from the two main political parties, as well as others, will be listed on the Aug. 2 ballot and the winners from the primary will then advance to the state General Election (which coincides with this year’s Presidential Election) on Nov. 6.
Under the new 24th Senatorial District, Herron lost Lake, Stewart, Henderson, Decatur and Perry counties. The 24th district now consists of Obion, Weakley, Henry, Benton, Carroll and Gibson counties.
The qualifications to be considered for serving in the state Senate include being a Tennessee resident for at least three years, at least 30 years old, a U.S. citizen, a resident of one of the counties in the district for at least a year and a qualified voter.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.2.12

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