Randy Boyd Running For Governor

Files Qualifying Papers; Announces Top Campaign Team

Monday, March 6, 2017
Randy Boyd, Knoxville businessman and philanthropist, former state Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, and architect of the tnAchieves and Tennessee Promise scholarship programs to help more young people go to college, confirmed today his plans to run for Governor of Tennessee in 2018.

“There is not a better time to live and work in Tennessee, but not everyone is sharing in that success.  So my campaign will be about expanding opportunities for every Tennessee family and community,“ Mr.
Boyd said. “The opportunity for a better education - the opportunity for better jobs – and a better opportunity for everyone, regardless of where you live, whether you’re from rural Tennessee, the inner city, or somewhere in between. That’s how I’ve tried to serve in the past, and that is my vision for an even greater, more successful Tennessee.”

Mr. Boyd, who is a lifelong Republican and a seventh-generation Tennessean, was raised in South Knoxville, but has deep roots in rural West Tennessee.  While building his business, giving back to the community, and serving as a member of Governor Bill Haslam’s cabinet as ECD commissioner, and earlier in developing the state’s Drive to 55 initiative and Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect scholarship programs, he has taken a conservative, results-oriented approach to improving the lives of Tennesseans.

"Jenny and I are excited to launch this new adventure. I’m not a professional politician. My background is growing a small business. But I gained enough experience in Nashville to know how to get things done there,” Mr. Boyd said. “While working in Nashville, I traveled to all 95 counties to make sure I was listening to and in touch with what was on the minds of my neighbors. So the early days of this campaign will be a continuation of that listening and learning process, and I could not be more excited about getting started."

Mr. Boyd officially filed his qualifying papers to run last week, and is already raising contributions to fund his campaign. He also announced today an impressive group of state leaders and campaign veterans to help run his campaign, including:

Chip Saltsman - Campaign CEO - who will manage and lead the campaign. Mr. Saltsman, a former chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, has a strong record of helping Republicans win elections in Tennessee, especially in multi-candidate primaries. In 2008, he was the national campaign manager for Mike Huckabee for President, who pulled a major upset in the Iowa primary, and then swept to victory in the multi-candidate Tennessee GOP Primary. More recently, Mr. Saltsman led the campaigns of Tennessee Congressmen David Kustoff in West Tennessee, and Chuck Fleischmann in East Tennessee. He has also held top campaign posts with U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and other top elected officials in Tennessee. Nationally, he is a frequent contributor and commentator for CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and other media outlets.

Scott Niswonger - Campaign Treasurer - Mr. Niswonger is executive chairman and founder of LandAir Transport, Inc., and chairman emeritus of Forward Air Corporation, both in Greeneville, Tn., and he serves on the board of directors of First Horizon Corporation, the parent company of First Tennessee Bank. He is also the founder and chairman of the Niswonger Foundation, focused on educational programs, scholarships, and other charitable activities benefitting Northeast Tennessee, is the leading benefactor of the Niswonger Children's Hospital in Johnson City, and is an active contributor and supporter to numerous other organizations and charities all across the state.

Culver Schmid - Campaign Legal Counsel – Mr. Schmid is the managing shareholder in the Knoxville law offices of Baker Donelson, and a leading business attorney with more than 30 years of experience focused on commercial transactions including real estate development and finance, business acquisitions, secured lending, commercial and residential condominium law, municipal corporations and administrative law.  Founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, and long-time Tennessee GOP leader Lewis Donelson from Memphis, Baker Donelson today has 800 attorneys connected across 24 offices.

Alice Rolli - Senior Advisor - will oversee several operational components of the Boyd campaign. Ms. Rolli first started working in politics in 1995 when she was appointed as a page by Congressman Ed Bryant and later for U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In 2002, she worked for the legendary fundraiser Ted Welch to help elect Lamar Alexander to the U.S. Senate, and in 2014, the National Journal listed her as the only woman in the country to run a campaign for a Republican U.S. Senator, when she served as campaign manager for Senator Lamar Alexander.

John Crisp - Communications Advisor - will help support the campaign with messaging and communications. Mr. Crisp is the president and CEO of Crisp Communications, a full-service advocacy, media, marketing and special events firm in Nashville. A veteran of more than 40 campaigns in Tennessee and across the country, Crisp is a former top aide to Lamar Alexander, served as a campaign consultant to former Congressmen Zach Wamp and Bill Jenkins, and he helped coordinate the 2012 Presidential campaign of Mitt Romney in Tennessee, with Romney winning 60 percent of the vote in the state.

Bonnie Brezina - Political Director – an expert at grassroots organizing for winning Republican campaigns, Ms. Brezina most recently served as campaign manager for newly-elected Congressman David Kustoff from Memphis, and she also led the first winning campaigns for State Sen. Ed Jackson in West Tennessee, State Sen. Mark Green in Middle Tennessee, and State Sen. Richard Briggs in East Tennessee. Ms. Brezina also spent a year as Gov. Mike Huckabee’s Iowa State Director in his 2016 presidential campaign, and she worked for Zach Wamp during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

“I could not be more proud to have such an impressive group of top leaders and campaign veterans to help guide my campaign.  And I look forward to soon announcing several other top leaders who will be leading our statewide finance effort,” Mr. Boyd said. “These folks, and the thousands of other professionals and volunteers we hope to attract, will help me spend the next 20 months listening and learning about the concerns and dreams of Tennesseans, as I get to know voters in all 95 counties across our state.”

Mr. Boyd is the founder and chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, headquartered in Knoxville, with over 700 employees worldwide and with offices in seven countries. First started out of the back of Mr. Boyd’s van, the company today produces over 4,600 pet products under brand names such as Invisible Fence, PetSafe, and SportDOG. It is a privately held corporation with revenues approaching $400 million. Mr. Boyd is also owner of Boyd Sports LLC, owner of the Tennessee Smokies Baseball team, the AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, and the Johnson City Cardinals, a rookie league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Mr. Boyd and his wife Jenny have been married for 32 years and have two children, Harrison and Thomas, a daughter-in-law, Lindsey, and a beloved dog, Oskar.  They reside in Knoxville and are members of Erin Presbyterian Church.

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