Boyd touts experience during campaign stops

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Gubernatorial hopeful Randy Boyd made two stops in Carter County over the weekend as he continues his tour across the state campaigning for the Republican nomination.

Saturday morning, Boyd stopped to meet with voters, local candidates, and campaign workers outside of the Carter County Election Commission during early voting. Boyd mingled and spoke with residents outside the campaign boundary.

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After stopping by early voting, Boyd made his way into downtown Elizabethton for a meet-and-greet event at the Carter County Republican Headquarters.

During the event, Boyd spoke to voters and touted his experience as a businessman as well as his experience working to improve education and economic development across the state.

“I’m the only one running for governor who has had some State Executive Branch experience before,” Boyd said.

Boyd has served in two executive positions under Governor Bill Haslam — first as a special advisor on higher education and most recently as Commissioner of Economic and Community Development for the state.

During his tenure in those positions, Boyd said he was instrumental in helping to develop Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative to get 55 percent of Tennesseans equipped with a college degree or certificate by the year 2025. As part of that initiative, Boyd and other state officials launched the Tennessee Promise program that provides two years of free community college or technical school to every graduating high school senior and the Tennessee Reconnect Program providing those same services for adults hoping to gain new skills, advance in their workplace, or earn a degree or credential.

“There are some of those things I started that I want to help finish,” Boyd said. “I want to make Tennessee the state of opportunity — the opportunity for a better education and opportunity for better jobs.”

The Knoxville native also touted his experience as a conservative businessman. Boyd founded his company, Radio Systems Corporation, at the age of 31. In the early days of the company, he sold the company’s products door-to-door and at feed and hardware stores, working out of his van and often sleeping there. The business grew, and according to Boyd the company now employs more than 700 people, has annual revenues of $400 million, and produces more than 4,600 pet products under brand names such as Invisible Fence, PetSafe, and SportDOG.

“I think it’s important that the next governor be someone who has managed an organization before, ran a business,” Boyd said. “The state of Tennessee has 42,000 employees and a $37 billion budget.”

“It will be good to have somebody who has actually operated a business,” he continued. “It will be good to have somebody who has made a payroll before.”

And, Boyd said, he knows that East Tennessee doesn’t stop at Knoxville, a comment he said he had heard many times before. Boyd said he and his wife Jenny are frequent visitors to Northeast Tennessee and the Tri-Cities. The couple owns the Johnson City Cardinals as well as the Greeneville Reds.

“We are very invested here, and we come up here a lot,” Boyd said. “It’s a very important part of our life.”