The Republican primary contest for the Tennessee House of Representatives seat Joe Carr is vacating got a little more interesting this week.
Murfreesboro physician and “enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation,” Bryan Terry, announced his intention Monday to run as a Republican for the open seat.
Carr will not run for re-election to the District 48 state legislative seat because he is challenging Tennessee’s senior United States senator, Lamar Alexander, for the Republican nomination in 2014.
Terry, an Oklahoma native, will take on two-term Rutherford County Commissioner Adam Coggin in the Republican primary, who announced his candidacy in July.
Both candidates work in the health care industry. Terry is as an anesthesiologist and Coggin as an administrator at National Health Care’s AdamsPlace Independent Living in Murfreesboro.
But Terry said Monday his experiences as a physician are what he hopes will differentiate most from Coggin in the eyes of voters. “Because there is no physician in the state house, … I think that’s the one thing that will separate myself from my opponent,” he said.
Fighting the Affordable Care Act will be a primary campaign theme, Terry said. He promised if elected to take a leadership role in opposing Obamacare, which he termed a “federal takeover” of health care. Terry said he favors returning control over care to the patient-physician relationship.
In addition to engaging on health care specifically, Terry’s top priority generally will be fighting for “conservative principles…like limited government, fiscal responsibility, individual liberty and personal responsibility,” Terry said in a press release announcing his candidacy.
He also said he wants to be better at involving citizens in legislative decision-making and “standing up for the average citizen.”
“I am the exact opposite of the career politician, political power broker, insider,” Terry said. “I will not be a part of special interest back room deals at the Capitol.”
Terry relocated to Tennessee from Moore, Okla., when he trained at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. At Murfreesboro Anesthesia Group he serves as the group’s HIPAA Officer, Medicare Compliance Officer and serves on the Physician’s Excellence Committee for St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital.
His wife, Cheryl, is a licensed pharmacist and has been active in local organizations.
Coggin said when he announced his candidacy last summer that his priorities are growing the economy and shrinking state power. “We must focus on attracting jobs and on limiting the size of government,” he said.