Sequoyah graduate enters Tennessee House at age 29

All in the family
From left: Julia Atchely-Pace, Julia Zarianna Hurley and State Rep. Julia Hurley
Staff photo by Tommy Millsaps

Jessica Cross The Monroe County Advocate

A newly elected Tennessee legislator's age sets her apart from her "co-workers."

At the young age of 29, Republican Julia C. Hurley, a Sequoyah High graduate, represents Roane County and a part of Loudon County as the state representative for District 32.

"This has been the most humbling experience of my life and I will do everything in my power to make sure the people of my district receive as much as possible and are treated fairly," said Hurley, now a Lenoir City resident.

Hurley was involved in political endeavors at an early age. She said her grandfather, Bruce Atchely Jr., inspired her to run for office and has been the biggest influence in her life. At the age of 5, Hurley aided Atchely by handing out lemonades at John Duncan Jr.'s barbecues.

"My grandfather used to sit with me and watch the news when I was 5! It has always been of interest," said Hurley.

Hurley is the daughter of Julia Atchely-Pace and Stephen Pace. She has a daughter, Julia Zarianna Hurley.

Her enthusiasm for politics grew as she got older. According to Hurley's mother, Hurley, when she was a student at Sequoyah High, went to Knoxville during job shadow day to observe George Korda, a political analyst.

"She always wanted to be in politics and serve," said Pace.

After attending Sequoyah High School, Hurley continued her education at Maryville College, where she obtained a degree in business and organizational management and economics in 2003.

In 2010, she took her first run at public office, running for state representative for District 32. Despite the tough games of politics, when the votes were counted on Election Day in November, Hurley won, defeating incumbent Democrat Dennis Ferguson.

Hurley said getting out into communities made a difference in getting her noticed.

"I knocked on 16,000 doors and that is not a joke," laughed Hurley.

Hurley is now serving her first term as a state representative, but says that being a young female does not set her apart from the other representatives.

"We are all working together and we do a great job working together here. There really isn't a race or sex, we are all respective of each other as representatives," said Hurley.

Hurley said all the preparation work before a bill is introduced on the House floor is one of the things she finds most interesting about the political world.

Hurley is involved with both the Roane County and Loudon County Republican parties and chambers. She is also an active member of the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, Daughters of the American Revolution, HOPE Resource Center, and her church, First Baptist Church.

When asked what she enjoys doing in her spare time, Hurley responded: "Hobbies? Spare time? My 14-year-old daughter takes a lot of that time up, but I do like to mow the lawn when I get a chance!"

Hurley hopes to make a difference by using her involvement in politics to inspire younger generations.

"I hope to lead other young people to realize their full potential and get out and lead," said Hurley. "It is very important that we keep the younger generations involved in politics. After all, they will take over one day."