By BROOKE WANSER
The field for District 61 State Representative, a seat being given up by current Rep. Charles Sargent, is a packed one.
In October of 2017, Sargent, a former Williamson County Commissioner for six years, announced he would not seek re-election, due to health concerns. Sargent has been the District 61 House representative since 1997.
Candidates began to pick up petitions for the state House race on Friday, Jan. 5; the deadline to file a petition to run is in April.
The district represents north central Williamson County, including much of Brentwood and the northern part of Franklin.
Below are the five candidates currently running for the seat, several of whom have extensive backgrounds in the local political scene.
Rebecca Ann Burke (R), Franklin
Burke has nearly 40 years of government experience through political campaign involvement and public policy advocacy. She is currently the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee woman, and the former vice president of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women, former president of Williamson County Republican Women and former secretary for the Williamson County GOP. She also served on President Donald Trump’s election campaign.
Jeff Ford (R), Brentwood
Ford has been a District 6 county commissioner since 2002, and is a native of Tennessee. He is in the software business for the insurance industry. Ford has said his priorities lie in completing road construction projects, ensuring schools receive proper state funding, and supporting local law enforcement.
Robert Hullett (R), Brentwood
Hullett was appointed the District 7 commissioner in February of 2017, after serving on the Williamson County School Board since 2012. He works in human resources, teaching leadership development for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and has his eye on the education system. Hullett has said he intends to work on fully funding the state’s Basic Education Plan (BEP) and work on healthcare and gun law issues if elected.
Brandon Ogles (R), Franklin
Franklin businessman Ogles, who owns his own construction company, is originally from the Grassland area. Ogles has been an active member of the Grassland Heights Baptist Church for more than 30 years; he and his wife, Grace, have four children. On his Facebook page, Ogles says: “I will carry on this tradition of strong leadership through hard work and stewardship that is both common-sense driven and fiscally conservative.”
Terrence Smith (R), Brentwood
Smith, who also ran for the 61st District seat in 2016, coming in third, is originally from Ohio, but has lived in Tennessee since 2000. Smith became a doctor after serving in the Army and with state law enforcement. In the past, he has noted his concern that state lawmakers are failing to protect citizens’ rights. “The Tennessee general assembly needs to stand firm against the overreaching federal government that just continues to erode states’ rights,” he said in 2016.
Election day is August 2, 2018.