Local attorney Carfi seeks state Senate seat in special election

Staff Reports • Updated Oct 4, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Wilson County attorney Mary Alice Carfi announced her candidacy recently in the Democratic primary for the District 17 state Senate seat in the upcoming special elections.

“We need some common sense in the Senate,” Carfi said. “Republicans have held the majority since the 2010 elections. They have had ample opportunities to improve the lives of working families in our state, but instead have put party interests before improving the health care, jobs and education for our citizens.”

An attorney in a solo-practice in Mt. Juliet, Carfi can relate to the issues that affect the small business owners throughout District 17, which includes Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith and Wilson counties.

“I understand struggles with health care costs,” Carfi said. “The Republicans missed the boat when they failed to expand Medicaid. As a result of their failure to act, the 10th rural hospital in Tennessee announced Saturday that it is closing its doors.

“All of the counties in District 17, except for Wilson, are entirely rural, and if one of them lost their hospital, it would have a devastating impact not only the health care of its citizens but on that county’s economy. This is just one example of how the failure to apply common sense to our health care issues has hurt working families in District 17 and across the state.”

When it comes to jobs and the economy, Carfi said in five of the six counties in District 17, an average of 20.6 percent of all households receive food stamps, which is almost 4 percent higher than the state average.

“We need jobs that pay a living wage, so no one who works a full-time job has to rely on public assistance to survive,” she said. “It’s sound common sense to raise the minimum wage, because Tennessee’s economy runs on consumer spending. If working families struggle to pay their rent and put food on their table, then how can they afford to buy anything else?”

Last, Carfi wants to make sure all students in District 17 have a quality public education “because it’s the best investment we can make in our state and nation’s future.”

“Common sense tells us that we need to fully fund Tennessee’s Basic Education Plan so that a child in smaller, less affluent counties like Clay or Cannon County can be assured of getting access to the same quality education as a child in Wilson County,” Carfi said.

“We need less testing of our students, and we need to say no vouchers of any kind because they divert resources from already struggling schools.”

As a general practice attorney, Carfi often works with people who have differing opinions. 

“It’s my job to bring these people together, to compromise when and where it’s necessary, so that a positive result can be agreed upon by all parties,” she said.

“It’s time for some common sense in Tennessee’s Senate, and I ask for your support and vote on Dec. 19, so I can bring this to our legislative body.”

Carfi grew up in Smith County, the daughter of Don and Phyllis Eckel, of Gordonsville. She is the granddaughter of the late Pete and Evelyn Watts, who owned Watts Angus Farm. Pete Watts was a well-known building contractor in Middle Tennessee and owner of Pete Watts Construction.

She has one daughter, Alexia, 9, and is a member of the Carthage United Methodist Church, where she sings in the choir. She and her husband, Jamie, are both members of the Bert Coble Singers in Lebanon. She also serves on the Bert Coble Singers Leadership Team.

Carfi is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and the 15th Judicial District Bar Association. She is a graduate of Smith County High School and earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from Middle Tennessee State University. She received her law degree from Nashville School of Law. She was chosen as the best attorney in Mt. Juliet in 2016 by another media outlet.

A campaign kickoff will be Oct. 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre at 110 W. Main St. in Lebanon.


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