Randy Boyd visits area during bus tour

Published 4:44 pm Monday, June 25, 2018

With the Republican Primary a little over a month away for the state’s gubernatorial race, Randy Boyd is hitting the road to meet with voters.

Boyd and his wife, Jenny, made the stop in Carter County Saturday afternoon as part of the candidate’s six-week, 95-county bus tour.

Visiting rural communities is one of the key focal points for the campaign, according to the businessman.

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“It’s been a great day,” Boyd said about visiting Northeast Tennessee. “We stopped by Washington County today for lunch and that was my 17th visit there. We went to Johnson County this morning, that was my fifth visit there, and now we’re here in Carter County, which is our eighth visit here.

“I think it’s important for the next governor to know the people of the state,” he continued. “The only way you can know them is to come visit with them. Every time we make these stops, we’re able to listen and learn about the concerns from citizens and make new friends, meet again with old ones … it really has been a great couple of days.”

Residents and local leaders joined together Saturday to hear Boyd’s message, which focused on the development of rural communities. Boyd was quick to praise the efforts of TCAT – Elizabethton and other technical schools, adding one initiative for a Boyd administration would be to create satellite technical school sites to allow easier access for potential students across the area and promote technical education at the high school level.

“We’re going to be focusing on all of rural Tennessee,” Boyd said. “We want to bring broadband to every part of the state and make sure we bring great educational opportunities to these communities. If we have a trained workforce with broadband, we can bring great jobs to the state. In the end, we want to make sure everyone has an opportunity for a great job.”

One of the issues brought up by both county and city schools is a declining population for the area, which Boyd took note of. The gubernatorial candidate said the initiatives could pay dividends for job creation and allow residents to stay home for better-paying jobs.

“If we have the right workforce with the right skills, companies will come and create jobs,” Boyd said. “People will then want to come back to their communities.”

A focus on tourism is also important for rural communities, Boyd added. Another asset a Boyd administration would look at is entrepreneurship and supporting small business creation in areas like Elizabethton.

Entrepreneurship is a part of the campaign Boyd knows all too well. The candidate shared the story of when he and his wife put their savings in Radio Systems Corporation, which, according to the candidate’s website, has produced over 4,600 pet products and has over 700 employees with annual revenues of $400 million.

Boyd’s sports management company also has a presence locally, managing the Johnson City Cardinals, Smokies and Greeneville Reds. Along with the business side, Boyd also worked with Gov. Bill Haslam to create the Drive to 55 and Tennessee Promise.

As far as his message to undecided voters, Boyd added that his business experience can be dividends for the state.

“I’m a businessman, not a politician,” Boyd said. “But I’ve had executive experience by helping create the Tennessee Promise and recruit 50,000 jobs to the state. I’m the candidate that has the most experience creating jobs and developing a workforce. If you want a job creator, I’m your man.”