By LISA WHALEY
Local storyteller Rebecca Keefauver Alexander wanted to make one thing clear Monday as she announced her Republican candidacy for Washington County’s Seventh District seat in the State House of Representatives.
“Let me just say for the record, I am not a politician,” said Alexander, officially launching her campaign from the historic Keefauver farmhouse, where she grew up, via Facebook Live. “I am only a girl who grew up here in Washington County, Tennessee and I feel called to serve my community and help it prosper.”
Alexander will be going up against incumbent Matthew Hill, (R-Jonesborough) in the Republican primary scheduled for Aug. 6.
A graduate of Daniel Boone High School, Alexander earned a bachelor’s from Milligan College, briefly taught public high school, worked her way up to the position of national sales manager for Magnavox, where she helped open 120 stores, set national sales records and traveled around the world negotiating with manufacturers and big box retailers.
She raised two daughters, returned to school at East Tennessee State University where she earned a master’s degree and began her next career as a professional storyteller, all the while helping her husband run the family’s Dillow-Taylor Funeral Home.
Yet during all this, Alexander said, she never, ever imagined going into politics.
In fact, when she received the call suggesting she run for the Seventh District seat, “I had to pull off the road into the Food City parking lot.”
“No one in our immediate family has ever ran for political office,”she added.
Alexander promised to pray about the suggestion and the more she prayed, the more she became convinced that she had been called. “That’s where this journey began.”
Alexander acknowledges that the journey comes at a difficult time.
“This virus has shaken our world to the core,” she said. “Everything we have considered normal is no longer our reality. Even our daily routines have been turned upside down and people are struggling to survive.
“I want to thank President Trump, Congressman Roe and Governor Lee for taking the necessary steps to keep us safe. I also want to thank our health care workers and volunteers who are working so tirelessly.”
Alexander believes that the conservative values that have helped make Washington County so strong are needed now more than ever.
Deeply committed to those principles, Alexander said she is “100 percent pro-life; I’m pro Second Amendment; and I opposed a state income tax in Tennessee.”
“If honored to serve, I will not waiver from our shared core convictions. I will rely on my deep roots in the county and everything I have learned in my career outside of politics to focus on real problems with real solutions.”
Alexander is determined to provide better support for teachers.
“I believe we have some of the best public schools in the nation in Washington County,” she said. “My husband went to David Crockett, I went to Daniel Boone, and our girls went to Science Hill, so we have experienced both the county and the city schools and we have all received excellent educations.
“That said, I know our teachers need to be paid more, appreciated more and encouraged more. These teachers hold the future of our community in their hands.”
She believes also small business and local farmers also deserve a better system.
“When I was a girl, we had more than 400 dairy farms in Washington County,” she said. “Today we are down to 11. I don’t believe in the government picking winners and losers. We’ve got to stop the corporate welfare to multinational corporate farming and stop crushing our small farms with excessive regulations. Our legislature can do more to stand up for Tennessee’s farmers.”