State Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, formally announced Thursday he is seeking re-election to the 22nd Legislative District he has represented since 2006.
Calling it an honor to serve the district, which includes rural areas of Bradley County as well as all of Polk and Meigs counties, Watson said in his announcement that during his House tenure "we have taken many steps forward in the 22nd District and I want to continue to serve you and complete the work we have begun together."
The lawmaker said much has changed in the district over the past six years, pointing to economic development such as the $1.8 billion Wacker Polysilicon plant and the building of an Amazon.com distribution center, both in Bradley and both of which received state incentives.
"Whirlpool and Olin committed to remain in our district, which will preserve hundreds of more jobs," Watson added. "Volkswagen suppliers are now looking at our district as a place to locate and possibly create hundreds of additional jobs in the future."
The successes came about through partnerships and cooperative efforts between various state and local officials and agencies, he said. The area's success was recognized by Forbes magazine, he noted.
Watson serves as House Judiciary Committee chairman.
"Tennessee should not be a magnet for illegal aliens," Watson said. "We must make sure that Tennessee law is constructed in a way to make every effort to discourage illegal immigration."
The 22nd District ranks first in transportation funding, Watson said, listing the U.S. 64 extension as well as work on U.S. Highway 411, state Highway 30, state Highway 60 and other roads.
The lawmaker promised he "will continue to fight against state government mandates on our local governments that raise our property taxes and take away our liberties."
He said Tennessee balances its budget every year and underscored this year's action in which "we were able to reduce the budget by 2 percent, balance it, and provide tax cuts for all Tennesseans."
But he noted Meigs, Polk, and Bradley counties will see increases in state appropriated funds despite across-the-board state budget cuts. He pointed to his support of legislation protecting family farms by phasing out the inheritance tax.
House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart of Hendersonville said it is "fortunate to have Rep. Watson serve in the House of Representatives. His conservative leadership and vision for our state is needed now more than ever."
Republican David L. Kimbro of Cleveland has also filed to run in the Aug. 2 GOP primary.
Marital status: Married
Education: Andersonville Theological Seminary, Bachelor's degree; graduate of Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy and Tennessee Sheriff's School at University of Tennessee at Martin.
Political experience: Three state House terms; chairman of Judiciary Committee.