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Rutherford County legislators (left to right) State. Sen. Shane Reeves, State Sen. Dawn White and State Rep. Charlie Baum were on the panel at the legislative session held at the Smyrna Event Center. DAN EPRIGHT

Money for infrastructure in a growing county were a large part of a panel discussion with Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, other state representatives, Rutherford County officials and county school board members at the Smyrna Event Center on Jan. 8.

The Rutherford County Commission’s concerns involved infrastructure development: roads, residential and commercial development as well as the need to fund and construct additional schools in one of Tennessee’s four fastest growing counties. 

Sexton said that it takes at least 10 years from identifying a need for a road improvement to bringing it to fruition. 

“The Tennessee Department of Transportation has a big job to do, and everybody wants a piece, and everybody wants it now,” he said. “There is only so much money and so much resources that we have, and there is only so much capacity-wise at one time too, TDOT really tries to do their best.” 

Tennessee “pays as you go” with road construction; a road project does not begin until there is money to pay for it. 

“Governor Lamar Alexander had set up that plan, and it has really propelled us to be really well managed.” Sexton said. “Even though there are some pains in that area, it sets us apart from other states.” 

Another issue that generated quite a bit of discussion is a movement towards a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” motion for Rutherford County. One of the advocates for such a motion is County Commissioner Pettus Reed, who said he is responding to his constituents. 

State Rep. Tim Rudd questioned the need for a Second Amendment Sanctuary motion, as Tennessee is widely seen as a pro-Second Amendment state, and there are provisions in state law that does not allow counties or cities to pass any ordinances that are contrary to Tennessee or federal provisions. 

Reed said that his constituents are looking to have their constitutional rights affirmed. 

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