Shelby County Mayor Luttrell backs Boyd for governor

From the Commercial Appeal:

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell on Wednesday endorsed Randy Boyd in the Tennessee gubernatorial Republican primary election.

Standing next to Boyd at Evolve Bank & Trust on Poplar in East Memphis, Luttrell emphasized Boyd’s business background, emphasis on education and heritage in West Tennessee. Boyd, who formerly headed up state economic development efforts under Gov. Bill Haslam, was born in Knoxville but has family on this side of the state.

Luttrell said he and Boyd became friends as they worked together on development and education initiatives for Shelby County. Boyd, who resigned as commissioner of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to run for governor earlier this year, managed Haslam’s “Drive to 55” and Tennessee Promise education initiatives as an un-paid adviser.

“Randy Boyd is an entrepreneur who has a passion for education,” Luttrell said before quipping that they were probably the only two people in the room who knew the location of Fruitvale, a small town northwest of Jackson.

From the Boyd campaign

News release from Randy Boyd campaign:

Memphis, Tenn. – Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell announced his full support and endorsement for Republican Randy Boyd in his campaign for governor at a brief news conference today in Memphis.

“I have worked closely with Randy for several years on important job creation and economic development projects in our community and saw early on that Randy is dedicated to creating more jobs throughout West Tennessee,” Mayor Luttrell said. “But for Randy, it’s not just about job growth, it’s also about creating the education and workforce development opportunities that help prepare more Shelby County students and adults for the jobs of the future.”

“Randy will be a strong partner and advocate for West Tennessee, but most importantly, a problem-solver when it comes to restoring safe neighborhoods, quality education, and an improved economy for all of Shelby County,” Luttrell said. “I am proud to endorse and to go to work help elect Randy Boyd as our next governor of Tennessee.”

Mayor Luttrell, who was born in Jackson, TN, spent his early years in Bells, TN in Crockett County, near where several generations of Boyd’s family also resided. As a teenager, Luttrell’s family moved to Memphis where he graduated from Bartlett High School, earned a B.A. from Union University, and received a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Memphis. His long public service career began in law enforcement and corrections. In 2002, he was elected Sheriff of Shelby County, and in 2010, he was elected Shelby County Mayor.

“I am deeply grateful and honored to have the support and endorsement of such a respected and experienced leader as Mayor Mark Luttrell,” Boyd said. “Mayor Luttrell understands that good government requires an intense focus on some key issues – better paying jobs, education and workforce, health and safety, law and order, fiscal responsibility.

“I look forward to learning from and working with Mayor Luttrell and other leaders in Shelby County to make sure our state government is doing all we can to support Memphis and Shelby County on these and other critical issues.”

Today’s endorsement is another big momentum boost for the Randy Boyd campaign. At least ten percent, or a projected one out of every ten voters, in the 2018 statewide Republican gubernatorial primary are expected to come from Shelby County.

Mayor Luttrell joins more than two dozen other county mayors across Tennessee who are already working in support of Boyd’s growing campaign for governor.

Boyd, who is widely credited as the architect of the Tennessee Promise scholarship program providing every high school graduate in Tennessee, with the help and support of a volunteer mentor, the chance to attend a technical and community college, tuition-free, said he and Mayor Luttrell share a deep commitment to education and workforce development:

“I first met Mayor Luttrell when we first brought the tnAchieves scholarship program to Shelby County and created ShelbyAchieves, to give more high school graduates the chance to attend technical or community college tuition-free.” Boyd said.

“The Mayor was an early, enthusiastic supporter, and we worked together to expand that idea into what is now Tennessee Promise – helping thousands more students in Shelby County – especially low-income, and students like me, who are the first in their family to attend college — to complete their technical training certificates and college degrees. Having that skilled workforce is going to be key to growing our economy here in West Tennessee.”

A successful entrepreneur, business and philanthropic leader, Boyd is the founder and chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, which is headquartered in Knoxville. First started out of the back of Boyd’s van, the company today produces over 4,600 pet products under brand names such as Invisible Fence, PetSafe, and SportDOG, with more than 700 employees and annual revenues of $400 million.

Boyd previously served in Governor Bill Haslam’s cabinet as the state Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, and earlier while serving as the Governor’s Special Advisor on Higher Education was the architect of the state’s Drive to 55 workforce development initiative, and the tnAchieves and Tennessee Promise scholarship programs to help more young people go to technical or community college tuition-free.

Boyd is also owner of Boyd Sports LLC, owner of the Tennessee Smokies Baseball team, the AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, and the Johnson City Cardinals, a rookie league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Boyd and his wife Jenny have been married for 32 years and have two children, Harrison and Thomas, a daughter-in-law Lindsey, and a beloved dog, Oskar. They reside in Knoxville and are members of Erin Presbyterian Church.


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