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Mumpower to retire from House; Campbell announces bid for seat

Tennessee House Republican leader, Jason Mumpower announced Thursday that he would not seek reelection. The 14-year veteran of Nashville politics has decided to retire, opening the door for a new face in the Tennessee General Assembly. On the floor of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Mumpower announced, “I am so grateful to the people in Sullivan and Johnson Counties for their support of me. It has been an honor to serve them, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. I’ve lost a lot of hair and put what I can only guess is more than 270,000 interstate miles on my cars driving from Bristol to Nashville to serve the 3rd District. I have made many, many friends, and I thank all of you for those friendships.”
First elected in 1996, Mumpower has had a very successful run as representative and leaves behind some big shoes to fill. In 2006 he was elected to serve as Republican leader and by 2008 was the first to lead a Republican House majority in the history of Tennessee.
According to Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, “Jason Mumpower is my representative, my longtime friend, and my ally. I’m proud he led the House to its first Republican majority in history. I have been proud to call him my representative for these past years.”
While he gave no specific plans for his future, Mumpower stated that he “looks forward to the challenges ahead,” as he serves out the rest of his term. He concluded that, “The benefit of having been first elected at the young age of 23 is that I could serve for 14 years here at the legislature and still be able to start a new phase in my career before I turn 40.”
Mumpower’s retirement paves the way for other young politicians as well. By Monday afternoon Johnson County native Scotty Campbell had filed his intent to run for the position with both the Johnson and Sullivan County election offices. Campbell, 26, was the 2002 Johnson County High School class president and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN. Pursuing masters level work at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Campbell began an internship with Republican Diane  Black of Gallatin, TN. Eventually making interim staff with the state senate office, Campbell switched to the House of Representatives and began working with representative Brian Kelsey of West Tennessee and Debra Maggart of Hendersonville. In 2009 Campbell began working with Speaker of the House Kent Williams, admiring his pro-life, anti abortion, and 2nd amendment gun rights stance. According to Campbell, “I learned a great deal about the legislative process. I want to use those experiences to help represent the people of Johnson and Sullivan counties.”
Campbell has strong ties to both Johnson and Sullivan counties. His father is a retired state trooper, Lynn Campbell and his mother is LPN Shirley Campbel.l Additionally Campbell has a sister, Johnson County High School senior Lindsey Campbell, and two living grandparents still residing in Johnson County, Norman Woodard of Forge Creek and Ardna Campbell of Mountain City.
Campbell has served on the Neva, 1st district (Laurel Bloomery), and 2nd district (Cold Springs/Forge Creek) fire departments. For several years he ran calls with the Johnson County rescue squad and EMS and has been a former on-air personality for Mountain City radio WMCT 1390 and 96.9 WXBQ in Bristol.
When asked what motivated him to run for the office Campbell stated,, “I know that the government can do good things for people and I want to bring a strong, clear, and loud, voice from Johnson and Sullivan counties to the state house in Nashville. Although I am a Republican, this is not about partisan politics. We see what Republicans, Democrats, and others fighting in Washington against one another for so many years has done to our country.”
However Campbell’s bid for the position will not be an easy one. Already Timothy Hill, brother of State Representative Matt Hill, has filed with the Sullivan County commission and Sullivan County Republican Chairman Keith Parker has also shown interest. Additionally one independent and two Democratic candidates have also filed. For his part, Speaker of the House Kent Williams has thrown his support firmly behind Campbell.
Regardless of who ultimately wins the election, one thing is for sure, a new presence will be felt in Nashville. As the long run of Jason Mumpower draws to a close, someone new will step forward to represent the people of Johnson and Sullivan counties.