Pope appointed as election commissioner

Jared Felkins • Jul 20, 2018 at 1:50 PM

State Rep. Clark Boyd appointed John Pope on Friday to serve as a Wilson County election commissioner to replace Ann Calabria, who was removed by the Tennessee Election Commission July 9.

The state election commission members gathered in a “show cause” meeting last week to listen to a complaint about Calabria from former state Sen. Mae Beavers. Beavers, who challenged incumbent Randall Hutto for Wilson County mayor, complained Calabria took to social media and expressed her opinions about Beavers’ current Wilson County mayoral and prior gubernatorial campaigns, according to Kent Younce, a Tennessee election commissioner.

“We heard statements from [Beavers] and from [Calabria],” Younce said. “Then, after hearing all of the comments, we deliberated and decided to remove [Calabria].”

According to its website, the mission of the election commission is to ensure the integrity of every vote cast in the county by administering election law and procedures equally and fairly by all, by providing the most efficient, accurate and secure election possible.

The state election commission appoints county election commissioners after members of the local legislative delegation recommend them. Since state Rep. Susan Lynn appointed Calabria, Lynn would have found a replacement under normal circumstances.

Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, said she tried to find a replacement for Calabria, but because the person must start immediately, it was difficult to find someone on short notice.

She said she considered a retiring county commissioner, but the person couldn’t start until after leaving office, which would be after the Aug. 2 Wilson County General Election and state and federal primaries. Early voting started July 13 and will continue through July 28.

Because of that, Lynn allowed Boyd make the current appointment, and she would make the next one.

Pope, a Wilson County native, is a 1996 graduate of the Labry School of Business at Cumberland University. He has more than 20 years of experience in the local banking industry and currently serves as vice president at Southern Bank of Tennessee.

“I am proud to appoint John Pope to serve on our local election commission,” said Boyd, R-Lebanon. “I have known John for many years. He is a man of integrity who is well respected within our community and all of Wilson County, and I know he will do a great job.”

Additionally, Pope is actively involved in Lebanon Youth Baseball and also supports the local education community.

“I am grateful to Rep. Boyd for this appointment,” said Pope. “I look forward to the opportunity to support one of the most important processes that shapes our great state and nation by serving as our election commissioner.”

Wilson County election commissioners include Sherrie Orange, chairman; Ronnie Kelley, secretary; Don Simpson, member; Jan Spray, member; Phillip Warren, administrator of elections and Tammy Smith, assistant administrator of elections. For more information about the Wilson County Election Commission, visit wilsonelections.com.

Boyd represents House District 46, which includes Cannon and part of Wilson and DeKalb counties.

Democrat correspondent Angie Mayes contributed to this report.

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