Byrd denies wrongdoing as lawmaker, ‘disappointed’ in Harwell

Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) attends a House committee meeting on March 28, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Statement from State Representative David Byrd (R–Waynesboro):

“First, let me say that I have done nothing wrong or inappropriate during my term as state representative for the 71st District, which I proudly serve. I am disappointed that Speaker Harwell so quickly publicly turned her back on me but understand her political posture.

Second, these recent allegations of inappropriate contact, never before made, date back over three decades ago and are disheartening to me, and my family. One must question the motives of these three former students out of the hundreds of students I have coached.

Conduct over 30 years ago is difficult, at best, to recall, but as a Christian, I have said and I will repeat that if I hurt or emotionally upset any of my students I am truly sorry and apologize.

I do not condone sexually inappropriate behavior and hope that my behavior over the last 30 years bears that out. I ran for office, not for opportunity for myself but for the opportunity to help others and provide a service to this district. I understand that my stances on some issues in the House are controversial and I knew that I would have opponents who would seek to embellish my character.

Currently, I am working hard for the people of this district and I seek to live in a way that reflects my Biblical beliefs. One of these beliefs rests on the premise that we are all God’s children and should be free from abuse of any kind. I do not believe either of these ladies can show that they made a report to the authorities or received any subsequent mental health counseling for what they have alleged but, again, if my acts or omissions cause them distress I am truly sorry.

I have a wonderful wife and 4 children and regret my desire to represent the good people of this district may have caused them the pain these allegations have brought about.

However, I feel I am a man of integrity, faith in God and family and can continue to be the kind of representative the people of the 71st District can trust.

I will have nothing further to say on the matter, and I hope to get back to the business of representing the good people of Hardin, Wayne, Lewis and Lawrence Counties.”

See WSMV-TV’s original report outlining the allegations against Byrd here.

8 Responses to Byrd denies wrongdoing as lawmaker, ‘disappointed’ in Harwell

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    Kay White says:

    We are still, as Americans and as Citizens, Innocent until proven guilty! Where are the accusers? Hiding behind a rock? The Speaker, in my opinion, spoke out of turn and perhaps at the urging of someone who thought this would be to her benefit. However, gossip is just that until otherwise proven. *I am going to pray for this man and for his family. It is so very hurtful to the spouses and children of someone who may be the victim of another person’s quick judgement. Thank you.l

    Kay White

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    Kay White says:

    Think always before speaking on behalf of what someone else has spoken to you! Truth is not always in the words. I have found that even more strongly in this race!

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      Erik Schelzig says:

      I’ve added a link to the original report, which includes the accusers speaking on camera about the allegations.

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    David Collins says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about this guy. If the leader of the Evangelicals gave Trump a Mulligan for all his crotch grabbing [which he admitted, before he denied it] and whoring around, this dude won’t even get a slap on the wrist. Speaker Harwell just hasn’t caught up to the reality that today’s republican party has flushed morals and respectable behavior down the toilet. It no longer matters if you are a crotch grabber, whore-monger or pedophile, as long as there’s an “R” by your name–you get a Mulligan.

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      Misty Pardner says:

      As a Republican it pains me but I have to agree.

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        Jon Parker says:

        As an American and Tennessean, it pains me to see how much we are willing to forgive based on Pary affiliation. Right is right and wrong is wrong regardless of your affiliation!

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    Misty Pardner says:

    “I have not murdered anyone since I have been incarcerated”. Speaker Harwell did the right thing and if there are any other Saints in Nashville that have dirty laundry hanging out there, time to go.

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    Donna Locke says:

    It’s not okay to sexually assault minors. Throw him out.

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