Art Swann sworn in as new 2nd District Tennessee state senator

State Senator Art Swann

MARYVILLE – The Blount County Commission on Friday selected state Rep. Art Swann as the new senator representing the 2nd Senate District to succeed Doug Overbey, who’s become the area’s U.S. attorney. The vote in a special meeting was 14-3 over Scott Williams, a retired veteran who had run against Overbey last year.

Swann was immediately sworn into office by Circuit Court Judge David R. Duggan at the Courthouse in the commission room, which was nearly filled with supporters of both Swann and Williams. The 2nd District represents all of Blount County and a portion of Sevier.

Swann thanked the commissioners for their votes, including those who didn’t vote for him. To Williams, seated in the back of the room, he said, “I’m sure we’ll meet again next time.”

Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell told the group that he had spoken to Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters about Swann replacing Overbey and he “wholeheartedly” was in support. It was being reported in political circles Thursday that Swann would get the appointment although Swann said he wasn’t counting on it until the votes were cast.

Overbey was in the first year of a new four-year term, having first been elected in 2008. Swann holds the position until the 2018 elections. He said he will seek the Republican nomination on Aug. 2 for the rest of the term. Williams said later he would, too. Then whoever wins the election next year will serve until the November 2020 election.

Susan Hughes, Blount County elections administrator, said the state Senate position is “always lined up with the presidential election.”

Swann has been representing the 8th District House seat since 2010. He chaired the House Business and Utilities Subcommittee and was a member of the Business and Utilities Committee and Finance, Ways and Means Committee. Among bills he has worked on that he considers important is a law that increases broadband access to unserved citizens. He said he had his own bill and then when Gov. Bill Haslam proposed a similar bill, he worked to help pass it.

The Blount County Commission will appoint a successor to the House seat in another special meeting at 5:45 p.m. Dec.12, Blount County Clerk Gaye Hasty said. She said that meeting was finalized mid-afternoon Friday after the meeting where Swann was chosen.

The Blount County Commission has 21 members. Those that voted for Swann were Andy Allen, Dave Bennett, Shawn Carter, Richard Carver, Grady Caskey, Mike Caylor, Dodd Crowe, Gary Farmer, Ron French, Scott King, Mike Lewis, Kenneth Melton, Tom Stinnett and Jerome Moon, commission chairman who presided.

Those who supported Williams were Archie Archer, Karen Miller and Tona Monroe. Four commissioners absent were Mike Akard, Brad Bowers, Thomas Cole and Jamie Daly.

Overbey resigned the Senate position on Nov. 21 and was administered the oath of office to become U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee by Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan. He was nominated for the post by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Swann is a retired businessman. At one time, he owned Cherokee Lumber Co. and then sold real estate.

Williams manages the Convention of States Tennessee, which calls for state legislators to have conventions to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

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