Randy Boyd is running for governor in Tennessee, but he’s also a self-described “serial entrepreneur,” and old habits are hard to break. He talked about one of those habits, setting goals and metrics, at a breakfast held in his honor at Robert G. Campbell and Associates engineering firm in Halls. That habit, he said, might make his “a short-lived political career.”
Boyd said politicos tell him not to set definite measures for success or failure, to instead talk in general terms, but he’s doing it anyway. Those metrics include “Drive to 55,” a push to get 55 percent of Tennesseeans holding some kind of post-secondary degree or certificate instead of the current 39 percent, and an effort to have no economically distressed counties in Tennessee by 2025.
The packed house enjoying coffee and sausage biscuits included mayors from Cocke and Monroe counties, state Sen. Richard Briggs, state Rep. Roger Kane, Anderson County Register of Deeds Tim Shelton, Knox County Commissioner Charles Busler, Ron Williams of the Town of Farragut’s Board of Aldermen, and many folks who are running for office.
Robert Campbell, principal at the firm, welcomed Boyd and praised Boyd’s work in distressed communities as state commissioner of economic development.
“We do a lot of work in small communities, and we’ve been blessed to do that,” said Campbell. “I was led to get on the wagon when I saw what he did in small communities like Hancock County. He gave those people hope for new jobs. Somebody who is willing to help ‘the least of these’ is somebody I want leading my state.
“And it doesn’t hurt that he’s from East Tennessee.”
Boyd said he wants to make Tennessee “the state of opportunity.” That includes making sure people who want to use Tennessee Promise funds have local community colleges or certificate programs and implementing programs aimed at growing the workforce. He also plans to “declare a state of emergency” in the opioid addiction epidemic.
“You’re only as rich as your poorest neighbor, and we’ve got some neighbors in trouble,” he said.