At our 2020 Convention, we’ll elect our officers and representatives that make up our caucus leadership team. You’ll cast votes for the people you believe will best represent the caucus as we get this organization off the ground.
Here’s the list of offices we’ll be electing:
- Vice Chair
- 2 West Division Representatives
- 2 Middle Division Representatives
- 2 East Division Representatives
As part of their run for office, each candidate was asked three questions:
- Can you share with us who you are and your background?
- Have you done any previous work for the Democratic Party?
- Why are you excited about the Rural Caucus?
You’ll find candidates for each office and their answers below. These are the ones who have sent in their candidacy announcements so far.
As more candidates announce, we’ll add them to this page. Make sure to check back and see who’s working to earn your vote!
Anne Ferrell Quillen
My name is Anne Ferrell Quillen. I live on the Cumberland Plateau in Crossville, Cumberland County. An attorney, I spent most of my professional career working for the TVA Office of the Inspector General. I’m running to be the first Chair of the TNDP Rural Caucus and hope you will support me. Rural Tennesseans have been left behind for far too long and I am passionate about bringing all of us together to work for change.
I have been working for rural Tennesseans for awhile now as Chair of the Cumberland County Democratic Party; as a 2018 candidate for the TN House; as Chair of the Sixth Congressional District County Chairs (an area that makes up 17 rural counties); and as Chair of the Rural Caucus steering committee. In my role as Chair of the Steering Committee, I have:
- Drafted the Provisional By-Laws which are up for consideration at our June 20 convention;
- Taken part in the TNDP Rural Healthcare Tour, visiting all but one of the rural East and Middle Tennessee counties which have lost their hospitals;
- Researched the composition and organizational characteristics of other state Democratic parties’ rural caucuses;
- Looked at various federal definitions and other publications to best determine what is considered rural for the purposes of the TNDP Rural Caucus;
- Helped with a rural issues survey; and
- Taken the lead in creating an initiative to work for our rural TN House and Senate candidates in the time of Covid-19.
In addition, I directed a program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which provided rent and utility assistance to individuals and families affected by the 2008 downturn in the economy. In this position, I helped serve rural Tennesseans in over a dozen counties which surrounded Knox County and saw firsthand the many challenges they faced.
I am excited by the work we are undertaking, working with all of you, and creating change in rural Tennessee. With your support, you will allow me to continue working with the TNDP Rural Caucus as Chair.
I am Caleb Rowland and I am from DeKalb County, I am currently pursuing my B.M.E. from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
I was the Vice Chair of the DeKalb County Young Democrats for one full term, as well as I have been active in the DeKalb County Democratic Party. This past Spring I was a volunteer with the Mike Bloomberg campaign, as well as I have volunteered for Phil Bredesen, Karl Dean, Doug Jones, Jon Ossoff and many local and smaller races here in Tennessee.
I think that it is pertinent that we elect someone that is able to represent Rural Young Democrats from across the state to the Executive Committee of the Rural Caucus. Thousands of college students go to big cities to get their degrees and never return to rural Tennessee – that has got to change. These Young Democrats deserve a place at the table, and I hope to be that voice for them.
I am excited about the Rural Caucus because we need to be supporting our candidates in rural districts across the state, not turning our back to them. If we don’t support the rural candidates, who will?
I ask for your support in my bid for Vice Chair of the TNDP Rural Caucus.
Let’s Get to Work.
My name is Gina Sims-Johnson and I’d like to serve as Secretary within the leadership of the Tennessee Rural Democratic Caucus.
As a resident of Middle Tennessee born and raised, I have witnessed a myriad of changes, some for the betterment of our residents but there is a lot that has not been done that we truly need to address. In the times in which we now live, we need to embrace the diversity and beauty of all the ethnicities and cultures that make up the populous of our great state.
During my service in the US Army, the greatest lesson I learned was that success has many moving parts, that progress is a necessity to reach your goals and effect, positive change. I learned tough lessons in leadership and through those experiences I became a self-motivated person, striving to set my goals high and accept nothing but the best within me. After leaving the Military I started 2 businesses; the first was a consulting firm that aided potential business owners in their quest to fulfill their dreams. I wrote business plans, grant proposals and provided the contacts for the necessary certifications and trainings for the owners and their staff. In my capacity as Chief Operations Consultant in my second business venture, I coordinated and hosted events of all types; from Weddings and Anniversary parties to Business luncheons and Meet and Greets, I strive to ensure that each event is beyond my clients expectations.
In my current capacity as Franklin Co Democratic Party 3rd Chair, I have sought to introduce new, progressive ideas and concepts needed to promote the Democratic platform and its values to people across all color-lines or their socioeconomic status. As the former Vice-President of the Franklin Co Democratic Women of Middle Tennessee, I sought to bring more diversity and new outreach avenues to promote strong female leaders to run for public office, while reintroducing our organization to woman who have for one reason or another felt disconnected and marginalized over time, to let them know that all people are welcome, that we value you no matter your address or the color of your skin.
If given the opportunity to serve you, I would strive to apply the same type of dedication, energy, focus and attention to detail I honed while serving in the US Army to move us as an organization forward, while seeking to find the necessary resources to aid our members in their quest to run for public office as strong Democratic candidates. It is vital that this organization is seen to be a political force, not simply a social club.
This November will mark nine years that I have been engaged in politics. I first got my start working with President Obama’s “Greater Together” campaign that was focused on getting college students engaged in the political process. As someone with pre-existing conditions, I knew that I must do everything in my power to get the President re-elected. I also assisted in data entry in Mary Headrick’s 2014 run against Chuck Fleischmann and was a “super volunteer” for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
I have been active in the following local groups:
- Hamilton County Democratic Party
- General Assembly – 2017-Present
- Executive Committee – 2017-2019
- Hamilton County Young Democrats
- Secretary – 2017-2018
- Acting Vice Chair – 2018
In 2018 I was unopposed in my race for a vacant seat on State Executive Committee representing Senate District 11, northern Hamilton County. In my two years, I have served on the following committees:
- County Party Development Committee
- State Executive Committee Election Review Ad Hoc Committee
- Youth Engagement
I look forward to fostering growth among rural Democrats. In order to reclaim the General Assembly, we cannot ignore territory outside of Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga.
Words matter. Stories matter.
How we lift up voices in rural Tennessee matters.
That’s why I’m excited to run for the communications position with our caucus. We’ve got a great opportunity to help make change happen for our rural communities.
A bit about me – I’m currently the chair of the Lincoln County Democratic Party, a small rural community in southern middle Tennessee. I’m also running for state senate in our 14th district. That’s given me a unique view of how our caucus can help candidates, county parties, and rural communities as a whole.
With communications for a group like ours, I approach it as a way to organize. It’s about sharing voices from rural Tennessee and teaching people how to share their own story. It’s about helping rural candidates find the most effective way to share their values. That’s how we can expand our voting base and build political power to make change happen across our communities.
Division Representatives – West
I am a rising senior at Vanderbilt double majoring in secondary education and political science and minoring in history. I am from Union City and graduated from Obion County Central High School in 2017. I actually moved to Union City when I was around ten years old from Asheville, North Carolina and was born in Tucson, Arizona, but my entire family is from Northwest Tennessee, Knoxville, and Selmer. Some other things I enjoy spending my time doing include serving as a Tour Guide and Student Orientation Leader at Vandy, as well as my new-found quarantine hobby of baking (which, it seems everyone is doing these days).
As far as my work in politics, I have interned with a Nashville City Councilmember for a few years now. I worked on her re-election campaign, as well as campaigns of other Democrat-affiliated Councilmembers. I have also canvassed for the Warren campaign in Dubuque, Iowa and even had the opportunity to check-in guests at one of her principal events (kind of the highlight of my life, not going to lie). And this is not so much “involvement,” but I was lucky enough to attend the Democratic Debate in Atlanta with Vandy Dems, courtesy of Jon Meacham, and got to speak with almost all of the nominees at the time, which was a huge honor!
As a young Democrat in rural Northwest Tennessee, I have been waiting for an organization like the Rural Caucus for a long time. I grew up thinking I was alone in this fight, as most of my friends from Union City are Republicans (and now Trump supporters). It wasn’t until I got to Vanderbilt and met people from around the country and world that I realized that was never the case: there are politically-minded (and Democrat-leaning) young people everywhere–some just need to feel empowered enough to join the fight. I believe the misinformation that plagues small towns and turns them red around election season can absolutely be counteracted by grassroots movements of young people who know how to talk to their neighbors and share Democratic principles and values. Therefore, I believe I am the most excited about engaging other young people in rural Tennessee with our platform and message as a member of the Rural Caucus, and I would certainly love to do that as a Western Region Representative.
Greetings, allow me to introduce myself. I am Regina Nash, a resident of Halls, TN, mother of one, and a licensed Social Worker. Along with those credentials, I am also Eighth Congressional District County Chairs and Chairman of the Lauderdale County Democratic Party.
I am interested in being a part of the Tennessee Rural Caucus because I am rural Tennessee. In my current leadership position, I have seen firsthand the weaknesses in the Rural County Party. There is a disconnect between the State and the Rural County Parties. I have work extremely hard in my travels to the rural meetings to promote, encourage, and reenergize these Rural Parties. My focus in my current position has been to make sure the Rural Democratic Parties are visible and active on the local and State level.
Why should you consider me?
- As Chairman of both the Lauderdale County Democratic Party and the Eighth Congressional District County Chairs, I have worked tirelessly to strengthen the individual parties, while striving to enthuse and energize my fellow Democrats.
- I have attended each chapter meeting within the District and communicate with the chairs regularly.
- I am in constant contact with the leaders of the State Democratic Party to ensure that the members of the Eighth Congressional District, including Lauderdale County, are abreast of all key issues.
- The Lauderdale County Democratic Party routinely hears from speakers of note so as to remain informed on issues of importance to them. This has included District 82’s state legislator, Chris Hurt, the Minority Leader of the House, Karen Camper, and the Elections Administrator for Lauderdale County.
- I am also an elected Joe Biden’s delegate for the Democratic National Convention.
Division Representatives – Middle
My name is Seth Campbell and I am a resident of Petersburg, TN, which is located between Lewisburg and Fayetteville.
I am a high school teacher at Mt. Pleasant High School and specialize in inclusion services for students with various disabilities.
I have taught at Mt. Pleasant for the past three school years and have also coached football and tennis. I am also the sponsor for the Key Club. Before beginning teaching at Mt. Pleasant, I worked with children at Centerstone, which provides mental health and counseling services.
In my free time, I enjoy tending to the various animals on my farm. I am passionate about fostering at-risk dogs and providing love and high-quality care during their stay on my farm. I also have two pairs of bonded donkeys on my pasture and a colony of fixed feral cats living in my barn. During free time, I enjoy gardening, hiking, and working around the farm.
As a Democrat, I fully believe in the importance of a thriving Democratic Rural Caucus. The Democratic Party in Tennessee has largely lost touch with rural voters and if we wish to reclaim prominence on the political landscape it is vitally important to rekindle the relationship with rural Tennesseans. As Chairman of the Maury County Democratic Party, it was my mission to attract members, volunteer within the community, and represent the party at events throughout the county. While people may not agree with all tenants of the Democratic Party platform, they will recognize the community-oriented efforts of the organization. Ideally, the Democratic Party would be highly visible and involved throughout all rural counties in Tennessee.
I am excited at the formation of this caucus and helping rural counties better organize, improve visibility, and share their important message within their communities. If rural-focused Democrats work together, we can strengthen the Democratic Party for the entire state of Tennessee.
I am pleased to submit the following information in support of my candidacy to serve as a Middle Tennessee grand division representative for the TNDP Rural Caucus. I have been pushing whenever I could for the formation of this caucus and for rapid activation of the project, which it appears has finally arrived. I believe I can contribute the knowledge and experience I have gained in more than 50 years engagement in liberal/progressive causes and more than 10 years involvement with the Cheatham County Democratic Party (still active), including six years as county chair and three or four years as Fifth District chair (the latter not being much of a challenge since Davidson County is essentially a district unto itself).
I have lived and worked all over the U.S., including 40 of the last 55 in southern states and the last 22 in Tennessee. (This came while and after earning a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, a J.D. law degree from the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in Montgomery, AL, and an LL.M. (law) from Quinnipiac University School of Law in Connecticut.) I am admitted to practice in the state courts of Alabama and Connecticut; the federal district courts of Alabama (Middle District), Connecticut, and the Eastern and Southern districts of New York, as well as five federal courts of appeals including the Sixth Circuit which covers Tennessee; and the U.S. Supreme Court. I recently received a certificate for 50 years of service from the state bar of Alabama, my first admission in 1969.
In these years, I represented numerous criminal defendants and civil rights protesters in Montgomery, worked on public school desegregation for the (then) U.S. Department of HEW and later in an exhausting four-year struggle over the re-segregation of Nashville/Davidson County schools (2009-2013) after I thought I had retired. We took the Nashville case all the way to the Supreme Court but lost resoundingly, although it resulted in some significant changes nevertheless. I have also been a government and plaintiffs’ attorney–and later one of the court monitors– in the historic and long-running lawsuit against the Willowbrook state institution in New York for persons with mental retardation (1973 to present); and I have litigated or served as court monitor or master in other institution-reform cases in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, and finally, from 1997 to 2008, all across the state of Tennessee. The Tennessee case resulted in the closure of the Nat T. Winston, Clover Bottom, and Greene Valley facilities and the placement of most of their intellectually/developmentally disabled residents into smaller and more normal community settings.
I’m Vice Chair of the Robertson County Democratic party. I’m also on the foster care review board. I’ve coached youth sports for 8 years. I’m a candidate for District 66.
I truly care about the needs of the people I serve and will always give my all to every citizen of this great state
Division Representatives – East
Hi Everyone and thank you for being a part of the TNDP Rural Caucus!
I am grateful you are all here to build representation for our rural families and businesses within the Tennessee Democratic Party. I currently reside in Marion County, a single mom of two boys. I have extensive customer service experience, both in sales and management. My passion is teaching, having taught Esthetics, on an individual as well as a schooling basis.
I grew up in West Tennessee in Shelby County. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, my family relocated to Memphis when I was four years old. I have lived in many states throughout my life, including Missouri, Mississippi, Georgia, and Massachusetts. My sons were born in Boston Mass.; however, we have resided in Fulton/Gwinnett County, Georgia; Fayette County,; and Marion County Tenn.
In 2016, I attended my first Democratic county meeting which was also our County Party Convention. The reception I received was, “You are not a Democrat and cannot be here.” Thankfully, there were other members with a more amicable demeanor and invited me as a new member.
We have a variety of issues in our rural areas which differ from one county to the next. Each county is unique. I would be honored to serve as a Representative for East Tennessee and help all members have an opportunity to become involved. Too many counties are stagnant and do not have a platform for inclusiveness of our diverse communities. Anyone running for Representation in our State needs to actively encourage all voter involvement.
Below is a short synopsis of my history with Democratic Party:
- Fundraised for 2016 Delegates to National Convention – Created and managed grassroots organization that brought in $1.8million for individual expenses at the National Convention.
- 2017-2020 – Chair of Marion County Democratic Party – Organized events, fundraisers, Democratic Candidate support and Votebuilder training. Developed and maintained a website for County Party
- 2018 – Volunteered with various campaigns across TN and the Nation. Acquired and maintained county campaign headquarters for 2018 election.
It would be my honor to work to fill the gap, connect the resources, and hear from every Rural county in East TN on what they need to build and succeed. Tennessee is Rural. It’s time we support everyone and not just the major cities in the Democratic process.
Make sure to check back each week for any new candidates that have announced their run!