Tennessee House of Representatives District 24 Republican candidate Mark Hall coasted to victory in his first-ever bid for state office, defeating local educator Mallory Pickert.Hall received 75 …
Tennessee House of Representatives District 24 Republican candidate Mark Hall coasted to victory in his first-ever bid for state office, defeating local educator Mallory Pickert.
Hall received 75 percent of the votes cast, with 14,908 votes compared to Democratic Party challenger, who came just under 25 percent, receiving 4,941 votes.
Hall assumes the seat vacated by Kevin Brooks, who resigned after he was elected mayor of Cleveland in August. Brooks had represented the 24th District for 12 years.
In other races, Tennessee District 9 Sen. Mike Bell easily won re-election, trouncing Democratic challenger, Carl Lansden.
Tennessee House District 22 Rep. Dan Howell was unopposed in his re-election bid, receiving almost 98 percent of the vote, with 11,183 votes cast. There were 261 write-in votes cast.
Hall told the Cleveland Daily Banner that he was grateful for the support of the voters.
“I am very humbled … very pleased,” Hall said. “I’m happy to get to the finish line.”
Hall previously served as vice chairman of the Bradley County Commission.
Hall said he will focus on several issues when he arrives in Nashville for the next legislative session.
“Cleveland is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, but our infrastructure was designed for the 1970s,” Hall said.
In addition, Hall said he will work to expand vocational and technical school training in Tennessee. According to Hall, there are high-paying jobs that are not getting filled because people do not have the technical skills to gain employment in such fields.
Hall, who said he is a product of technical school training, said high school graduates who do not want to attend a four-year university want training from technical schools, allowing them the opportunity to embark on lucrative careers.
In addition, Hall said he wants to work to complete construction of the Bradley County State Veterans Home, which will be located on Westland Drive off of APD 40.
“I’m ready to roll my sleeves up,” Hall said.
Pickert did not immediately respond to a message left on her voicemail.
Bell won more than 76 percent of the vote, receiving 14,561 votes compared to Lansden, who received 4,475 votes at 23 percent.
Lansden was contacted by the Cleveland Daily Banner, but declined to comment.
Bell said it was an honor to be re-elected and have the chance to serve the people. He was first elected to the Tennessee Senate in 2010, after representing the 23rd District in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
“It’s humbling every time,” Bell said. “You realize that people mark your name on the ballot or push that button to vote for you. It’s very humbling.”
Bell said he had driven almost 270 miles Tuesday, visiting his district.
Like Hall, Bell wants to focus on improving opportunities for students to receive vocational and technical training.
“That’s where the jobs are,” Bell said. “People can go on to making $60,000 to $70,000 per year after 18 months of training. We desperately need those workers.”
He added that adjustments will need to be made at the high school level to better facilitate an emphasis on technical schools.
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