Matlock has grueling
It’s no wonder state Rep. Jimmy Matlock, a Farragut
businessman, didn’t get much sleep over a 72-hour period two weeks ago.
That sleepless period began Monday night, July 31, a few hours after
U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., a Republican, announced he will
not seek re-election having represented the 2nd Congressional District
[including all of Farragut and Concord] since 1988.
Matlock’s sleepless period lasted into Thursday morning, Aug. 3, when
this Republican state representative from District 21 — serving parts of
Loudon and Monroe counties for almost 11 years — finally decided to
throw his hat in the ring to replace Duncan.
“I’ve hardly been to bed. I’ve been thinking about
this, praying about this almost around the clock since 4 o’clock Monday
afternoon [July 31],” Matlock said just a few hours after announcing
Thursday, Aug. 3. “I have tried to be honest with myself, because this
is a change in my whole life.”
As a Christian, “I just felt led to do it,” Matlock added.
He will battle at least one locally prominent GOP opponent for the
Congressional seat: Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett also announced his
bid to run two weeks ago. Democratic candidate Jeremy Williams, a
clinical psychologist who has never run for elected office, announced
his bid in June.
Saying Duncan has been an “humble” Congressional role model he hopes to
emulate in several ways, Matlock added, “I had in my mind about four
years ago that Congressman Duncan was going to retire at some point. …
Doing it now took me by surprise. I thought it would be four years from
now. But when he did I thought [years ago], ‘I would like to consider
“I will have to step away, to a great extent, from my own business
[Matlock Tire Service with four locations]. I will have to ask my wife
[Dean Matlock] and children to put aside time off, vacations, things
they would otherwise like to do collectively because I’ve got to give
100 percent to this campaign.”
However, about fulfilling his duties as state rep, Matlock said, “I was
elected to serve a [full] term. … I promised people I would do that and
I fully intend to keep that promise.
“Is it going to be tiring, is it going to be taxing, is it going to be
challenging? Yes, yes and yes,” Matlock, 58, added. “… Yes, there’s only
24 hours in a day. So there’s no question I better drink a lot of water
and eat a lot of Wheaties.
“But God gave me a double dose of energy and I’m pretty good at managing
As for managing subordinates, “I’m really good at giving people around
me the power to carry out decisions that I know they’re capable of
making,” Matlock said. “And so, I’m not a micromanager, which means our
office staff in Nashville is led by a young man who does an
In seeking advice about running, Matlock said, “I have talked, on the
phone, to [people of] the highest economic standards in our community,
I’ve talked to people who are out doing landscaping, I’ve talked to
folks inside my church and I’ve sought counsel, frankly, from people
sitting in the lobby of Matlock Tire.
“I met with my pastor — I actually met with four pastors who I have
great respect for; I wanted them to pray that I do the correct and right
thing,” Matlock added, “and who I have confidence in who would tell me
if they felt like I was not” making the right decision to run.
However, “I’d be less than honest if I didn’t acknowledge that not
everybody has advised me to run for the seat,” Matlock said. “They have
told me things that would discourage me, but I felt like they were
honest. I appreciate that.”
(farragutpress will ask Matlock, Burchett, Williams and other candidates
with West Knox County/Farragut ties to outline what they want to
accomplish in Washington while also asking them to articulate why each
considers himself the best choice for the 2nd Congressional District.
Their responses will be presented in upcoming issues)