Eddie Yokley, former state Representative from the 11th District, is the Democratic Party candidate for state Representative from the 5th District.
Yokley, 60, of 1046 Old Kentucky Road South, has been married to his wife Carolyn for 33 years.
They have two children: Captain Jordan Yokley, 29, U.S. Army, stationed at the new Walter Reed Medical Center, Washington, D.C., and Tyler Yokley, 24, of Knoxville, an employee of Federal Express.
Yokley is a 1970 graduate of South Greene High School and a 1979 graduate of East Tennessee State University.
He was a member of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army, from 1972-1975 and was a military intelligence photo interpreter.
He served as Greene County Assessor of Property from 1992-2004, and has been designated as a Tennessee Certified Assessor by the State Board of Equalization.
Yokley has also been designated as a Certified Public Administrator by the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service.
He was a real estate broker/auctioneer from 1980-1992, and is a graduate of the Realtors Institute and a Certified Residential Specialist.
Currently, he is a farmer and has an Angus beef and hay farm operation.
Yokley served as state Representative for the 11th District from 2002-2010, and was elected by his legislative peers to the Industrial Impact Committee in 2006-2008.
He is running for election in the 5th District because, after the 2010 U.S. Census, many of the state legislative districts, including the 5th and the 11th, were redrawn by the state legislature. As a result, he now lives in the 5th District rather than the 11th.
During Yokley's legislative service, then-Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed him to the Southeast Regional Education Board. He was a member from 2006-2010.
In addition, then-Tennessee Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh appointed Yokley to the Police Officers Standards and Training Board, of which he was a member from 2006-2010.
As a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, he served as chairman of the Elections Committee from 2008-2010, and as vice chairman of the State and Local Government Committee from 2005-2008.
He was secretary of the State and Local Government Committee as a freshman legislator, from 2003-2005.
Honors and recognition Yokley has received include: 2011 Distinguished Service Award by the Boys & Girls Club of America for providing outstanding service for more than a decade; Greene County Realtor of the Year for 1984 and 1986; selected as one of the Top 10 Jaycee Presidents in Tennessee, 1989; DISCOM Soldier of the Month, 101st Airborn Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; recognized by the Modern Woodmen of America for Public Service; 2003 Legislator of the Year, Boys & Girls Club of Tennessee; and 2004 Greeneville & Greene County Boys & Girls Club Extra Mile Award. In 2006 Yokley received the AmVets (American Veterans) Silver Bayonet Award for Tennessee.
Yokley has been a member of Towering Oaks Baptist Church since 1980; is a 4-H Volunteer Leader for Greene County; and is a past president of the Greeneville Board of Realtors, the Lost State of Franklin Jaycees, the East Tennessee West Point Parents Club, and the Nathanael Greene Museum.
He provided the following responses to these questions asked of all the candidates by The Greeneville Sun:
Sun: Why did you decide to run for this office?
Yokley: I believe that Greeneville/Greene County will best be served by a Representative that is honeset, ethical, educated, experienced, has passion and is willing to work together with Republicans, Democrats and independents to accomplish a common good for all.
This year many citizens encouraged me to run for the 5th District Representative seat. After careful consideration and many prayers I decided to run because I believe I am the right person to serve our community in these times.
My prior legislative experience positions me with knowledge that it took years to learn and that can be an advantage for our community.
Sun: What qualities do you think voters should look for in a state Representative? Why?
Yokley: In my opinion a voter should look for Integrity, good character, a desire to serve, be well rounded, educated, have common-sense, and be committed to service, not themselves.
The Bottom Line is you get who you elect.
Sun: For you personally, what are the one or two most important issues facing the state that you would want to help address if you were elected? What would you try to accomplish relative to each of these issues?
Yokley: We must work to create new jobs and job growth by legislation and support to our communities so they can develop industrial growth and commercial growth.
A quality education that's available and affordable to all citizens so they can prosper.
If we create the needed jobs and our citizens get the proper education (Trade & Academic) for those jobs we will be on the way to correcting many other problems that need attention.
Sun: Beyond the top issues you mentioned in Question #2, please identify up to five other state issues you consider highly important, and explain your position on them.
Yokley: In response to this question, Yokley identified the following five issues: Elderly, Veterans, Farm, Roads, and Welfare. He wrote:
All of these can be addressed if we do [my answer to the previous question] successfully.
Concerning the Elderly, Veterans and Farm, he wrote:
I am supportive of the groups who have carried much of the burden and are a big part of the success of America. I want to make sure they're preserved and given assistance where required.
Concerning Roads, he wrote:
To prosper we must maintain the infrastructure.
Concerning Welfare, he wrote:
Many citizens are in need, and we have a responsibility, but many times the system is being taken advantage of, and we must address this problem.
Sun: In what ways do you believe that you could have a positive impact on Greene County itself if you are elected state Representative?
Yokley: I want to go to Nashville and show we have a leader that will work with and across the aisle to make life better for our citizens in Tennessee.
Sun: In your opinion, what should the State of Tennessee do concerning the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare?
Yokley: We are awaiting action at the federal level. Seems to me that our U.S. Congressmen and U.S. Senators are our representatives since this is a national issue. The state may need to address certain issues at the appropriate time.
One thing I would like to see done is to educate the public on the Affordable Care Act and the truth on what it does and what are the costs to our citizens and what are the benefits to our citizens.
Sun: What is your viewpoint concerning the United Nations program known as Agenda 21?
Yokley: President George H.W. Bush executed Agenda 21 in 1992 which was a United Nations Resolution. Gov. Bill Haslam would not sign a resolution condemning it this year. This leaves me with many questions.
I am against Agenda 21 because I feel it places an unfair burden on America.
I would rather spend my time on Tennessee problems that we can control and not United Nations resolutions that should be addressed in Washington that we have little or no control.
Sun: Abortion has been raised as an issue in the campaign. Please clarify your perspective about abortion nd about the Planned Parenthood organization.
Yokley: I am pro-life and against abortion. My legislative voting record clearly indicates that I am pro-life.
I am against Planned Parenthood when it comes to abortions.
It is a sad day when the GOP plays games and lies about this issue for political gain. PolitiFact found that the GOP accusations were false on the abortion issue. For the truth go to http://www.politifact.com/tennessee/statements/2012/oct/21/tennessee.
Sun: A related question: In 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in the case Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee v. Sundquist that the Tennessee Constitution protects a "fundamental right to abortion." This ruling effectively prevents the enactment of even very modest regulation of abortion in this state. Dissenting Supreme Court Justice William Barker explained that the only way to change the situation is by constitutional amendment.
In 2014, Tennesseeans will be asked to vote on a proposed amendment to the state Constitution which provides that nothing in the Constitution of Tennessee secures or protects the right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.
What is your position on that amendment?
Yokley: I voted and supported SJR127 that we will vote on in 2014.
Sun: Voters are choosing between two candidates in the 5th District race. Please summarize why you believe you are the right person to represent the people of the district in this important position.
Yokley: The citizens of our community want leadership that will work for the common good of our citizens and a person that will work both sides of the aisle to represent us in Nashville.
I have proven my ability to cooperate and get things done in the past and will continue as your state Representative in the future.
I am prepared and qualified, I have the right character and am ready to serve you. That's why I am the best person to be your state Representative.
Short closing comment, if you wish:
Yokley: I would like to ask the citizens of the 5th District to look at my qualifications and professional preparation and compare them to any other candidate.
To date I have been attacked with 12 untrue or misleading mail flyers, thousands of untrue telephone calls, and untrue radio ads. The GOP has spent big dollars trying to character-assassinate me and convince the voters of Greene County of lies about my voting record.
I have always tried to do what I believe is right when I serve you.
I'm asking the voters of Greeneville and Greene County to send a message to Nashville. Your vote for me is a vote to tell them we don't approve of this type of behavior and character assassination.