Roane County native and real estate broker Joe Caldwell Wednesday announced that he will run for the District 12 seat in the Tennessee Senate that current Sen. Tommy Kilby will vacate in 2008.
Mr. Caldwell's decision comes after State Rep. Dennis Ferguson, D-Harriman, told the Knoxville News Sentinel that he will not run for the seat, instead throwing his support behind Mr. Caldwell's candidacy.
"The people of District 12 have enjoyed a rich history of leadership and support for East Tennessee values with Sens. Anna Belle Clement O'Brien, Lincoln Davis, and Tommy Kilby, and I am running for this office to continue that tradition," Mr. Caldwell said. "I welcome the opportunity to represent every citizen of this district in the efforts to provide a first-rate education to our children and grandchildren, to bring better and higher-paying jobs to the district, and to provide access to high-quality and affordable health care to everyone."
Mr. Caldwell, 28, is the co-owner of Pioneer Realty and a board member of and special projects coordinator for Worldwide Interactive Network, an educational software company. In addition, he is one of three partners in the Ladd Landing development, an 800-acre mixed-use project in Roane County. He is also developing two other 400-acre tracts.
In February 2005, BusinessTN chose Mr. Caldwell as one of its "Top 30 Under 30" in the state, noting that he "lobbied successfully for about $4 million in State and Federal money to build infrastructure to support economic growth in Kingston."
Randy Button, a Roane County native and former chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, called Mr. Caldwell "an asset to our community" and said he will be a State Senator that will make his constituents proud.
"Joe was raised to work hard, to respect himself and others, and to do what's right," Mr. Button said. "He lives by these values, and he'll use them to represent the people of this district to the best of his ability. He'll be a top-notch state senator for us."
Mr. Caldwell said he is driven to run by a desire to improve the lives of the people of Campbell, Fentress, Morgan, Rhea, Roane, and Scott Counties. "My parents taught me to help others and to be of service to others. That's why I'm running for this seat," Mr. Caldwell said. "If you can help someone, you do it, and I believe that our government is designed to help people. I've always had a passion for serving others."
After attending Kingston Elementary School, Mr. Caldwell graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1996. He was a Torchbearer recipient at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, graduating in College Scholars with an emphasis in Marketing, Spanish, and Economics in 2000. He is the son of Dave and Heidi Miller of Oak Ridge and Mike and Merendia Caldwell of Kingston.