By EMILY R. WEST
Nothing will change for those in District 61, as they opted during Tuesday’s general election to keep the same representative they’ve had in the Tennessee General Assembly since the mid-90s.
Rep. Charles Sargent (R-Franklin) has not had an opponent in the general election since his first run for office. To this day, he and his first challenger are still friends. In this election, he received 29,343 courtesy ballots as of early voting totals.
“It makes you feel good,” Sargent said. “I try to represent all the people in the district. I don’t think of it as Republicans and Democrats.”
Sargent sailed through the August primary, with voters overwhelmingly choosing him over Steve Gawrys and Terrence Smith. Gawrys had sought the seat prior in the 2014 primary and also lost.
Sargent served on the Williamson County Planning Commission for seven years and the Williamson County Commission for six years before becoming the District 61 House Representative in 1997.
“It always feels great to win,” Sargent said. “It’s a great privilege just seeing your name on there on the ballot, especially when you see it on there in the general. I count it as a honor and privilege. I am very thankful of the 61st District to have me for 20 years.”
Moving forward into this next legislative session, Sargent said he and Gov. Bill Haslam have been working on potentially recalculating the Basic Education Program funding system. The BEP provides a bulk of money to Williamson County Schools and the Franklin Special School District.
“The budget is always my main thing, but what we are working on should help both WCS and FSSD,” Sargent said. “I also want to see what the governor is doing with these road project funding, and see what that looks like.”
Prior to living in Williamson County, Sargent served in the U.S. Navy during 1965 when the Vietnam War was building up. He moved to Nashville in 1970 and then to Franklin in 1977.
Sargent is also one of the founders of the Grassland Athletics Association that was started in 1981, and was the first president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Grassland Middle School in 1986.
In his personal career, Sargent has been a State Farm Insurance Agent for the last 40 years and is a father, husband and grandfather.
As chairman of the Finance, Ways and Means Committee, Sargent handles budgetary matters and oversees bills that come through the committee, evaluating their budgetary impact.