McMinnville Alderman Jimmy Haley is announcing his candidacy for McMinnville mayor in the 2012 election in November.
Haley was born and raised in Warren County and he and wife Katrina, who is director of technology for Warren County Schools, have a daughter, Lara Kate. He is a member of First Methodist Church.
Haley is well known for his historic preservation efforts and his 34 years as a local educator. He got his bachelor’s degree from UT Knoxville and his master’s degree from Tennessee Tech, both in education with an emphasis in history and economics.
He started teaching in Warren County in 1977 when he was 21 years old.
Haley is halfway through his third term as a McMinnville alderman, and says he decided to run for city office in the first place because of his concern about the direction of the city.
“I saw a need for the city to move forward and make some progress,” Haley said, noting several people had approached him and encouraged him to run, citing his lifetime of public service and his love of the city and community.
“They said ‘You’re not in it for political reasons. You don’t have private agendas. You’re for the betterment of our community and you put in tireless hours already. You might as well be somewhere where you can actually make a difference by voting,’” Haley said.
Haley took all this to heart and decided to run for alderman, where he was elected twice and has served over six years. He now feels a run for mayor is the next step in making a difference in the community he loves.
Haley says he had considered a run in the last election, but deferred when Dr. Norman Rone said he was going to run.
“But I told him I will be running next time,” Haley said. “And I’m just keeping my end of that promise.”
Haley says there are several things he is concerned about and he wants to make some positive changes.
“I feel like there needs to be some change in administration,” Haley said. “Some new faces, some new ideas, some new vision, some progress we can afford, some fresh ideas that will move us forward and not keep us in the hole, or dig us even deeper. I just feel like it’s time.”
Haley says he has several goals for his administration, if elected.
“I would like to see the city and the county work a little closer together,” Haley said. “Because it’s united we stand, divided we fall. There’s been some rifts and some chasms, but I’m good friends with John Pelham and we have been most of our lives.”
Haley says he believes he and County Executive Pelham can develop a positive working relationship that will be good for both the city and county.
“If I needed something I wouldn’t care to call him up and I think he feels the same about me,” Haley said. “So I think there might be some healing that goes on there.”
Though he knows it’s important to bring in new business, Haley believes it’s vital to support the businesses we have.
“I’d like to see us do more for the existing businesses that are already here,” Haley said. “I don’t think we do enough of that. We’re too worried about bringing somebody else in and we’re losing the backbone of our community, the mom and pop stores and the people that withstood the recessions and downturns.”
Haley says he also wants to engender more cooperation among aldermen.
“I’d like to see our board work a little closer together and not be so disjointed,” Haley said. “I’d like us to be a united front in everything we do. I think the role of mayor is to bring everybody on board so we can move forward.”
As far as campaign promises, Haley says he is only going to make one pledge.
“I’m not one on promising people a lot of stuff,” Haley said. “All I can promise is I will do the best I can to represent the people who elect me. I’ll try to do what I feel is right, and what the people want.”