The White County Commission voted Monday night to appoint Paul Bailey, who is a Republican candidate for the state Senate seat now held by Democratic Sen. Charlotte Burks, to serve out the unexpired term of Democratic state Rep. Charles Curtiss during the 2014 legislative session.
White, himself a county commissioner (and former commission chairman), said in an interview that he abstained from the vote – 7-6 – in a commission evenly split otherwise between Democrats and Republicans.
Bailey said he was “humbled” and “totally shocked” by the appointment, which fellow commissioners had initiated despite “some apprehension on my part;” and that he will not seek election to the House seat following his appointive term.
Bailey said he remains “100 percent committed” instead to seeking election to the Senate District 15 seat now held by Burks, who announced her decision not to seek reelection earlier. (Note: Partial prior post roundup: Burks retirement announcement HERE; Bailey’s announcement as a candidate, HERE. Curtiss announcement that he will resign his seat HERE.)
“Charlie is a good friend of mine,” said Bailey and Burks is “absolutely good friend.”
“I have to say that Charlie and Mrs. Burks have represented the area well, regardless of party lines,” he said.
Bailey said his own inspiration to seek a legislative seat is a desire to advance state and local rights over those of the federal government, in line with the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“The biggest thing (in wanting to become a state legislator) is that the state needs to be saying no… pushing back against all these federal regulations,” he said, adding that he recognizes that process is already underway in the Tennessee Legislature’s Republican supermajority and “I want to be able to join in in protecting states rights and pushing back.”
Under state law, when a legislator resigns his or her seat, the county commission in the resigning legislator’s county of residence picks an interim successor.