Featured Liberty and Justice NewsTracker

Plan to Ban Traffic Cams Not Universally Supported in Legislature

He hasn’t even filed the bill yet, but Rep. Andy Holt is facing opposition within his own party on his plan to eventually ban traffic enforcement cameras.

Holt, a Republican from Northwest Tennessee, argues that cameras used to ticket motorists for speeding and running red lights “have very little to do with safety, and everything to do with municipal greed.” And he believes they violate the United States Constitution.

But two Middle Tennessee GOP lawmakers — Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville and Rep. Mike Sparks of Smyrna — recently told the Daily News Journal that whether or not city and county governments use traffic cameras is a local control issue.

As the upper chamber’s Transportation Committee chairman, Tracy is an influential voice on legislation that affects the Tennessee roadways. He doesn’t think traffic cameras “should be regulated by the state.” And for that matter, he doesn’t fancy even taking the issue up again so soon after the General Assembly passed legislation in 2011 that established a “framework” for “local communities to use” when it comes to deploying traffic cameras.

Tracy acknowledged in the article that some local officials might abuse the practice. But others, such as Murfreesboro, are using it “in the proper way” to ensure safety.

Likewise, Sparks maintains that the cameras improve safety — something Holt disputes. Anybody who doesn’t like traffic cameras in their community should raise the issue with local politicians — and the state should stay out of it, he said.

“I don’t like them, but I do think they save lives,” Sparks told TNReport Tuesday. He added that he’s had a close call himself when someone ran a stoplight in front of him. The practice is also safer for cops who face the danger of being hit by a passing car when they have to write tickets on the side of the road, he said.

“I’m tired of the federal government telling us what to do, and I’m sure the locals are tired of us telling them what to do. So, if you don’t like their decision, vote them out of office,” said Sparks, who will serve as vice chairman of the House Local Government Committee.

Sparks said he doesn’t have any traffic cameras in his district. One thing he is open to considering is legislation to better protect people’s due process rights when it comes to paying the fine.

Like Rep. Holt, he doesn’t like that out-of-state companies that own the cameras are profiting off traffic violations in Tennessee. Sparks said he wishes “the revenue would be kept in Murfreesboro, rather than going over to a private company in Arizona.”

Murfreesboro’s police chief recently praised the city’s program on the grounds that it has improved safety. And while $2.5 million in traffic camera fines remains unpaid — one-third of the $7.5 million in issued citations — the city council voted to renew the contract for another year.

But not all local governments have used their programs “in the proper way.”

In 2008, a municipal judge ordered the City of Chattanooga to repay $8,800 in fines paid by 176 motorists when it was discovered the yellow-light cycle was about one second shorter than required by law.

The General Assembly passed legislation in 2011 to regulate the use of traffic cameras across the state, which clarified an infraction hasn’t occurred unless the motorist enters the intersection after the light has turned red. The law also put a stop to ticketing motorists for turning right on red, unless a sign is posted specifically prohibiting a right-turn-on-red.

In 2012, a Knox County judge ruled against traffic camera operators in their effort to overturn the 2011 law due to a significant decline in collected revenue. The companies argued that a right turn on red should remain a ticketable offense in municipalities they had contracts with prior to the 2011 law. According to a Knoxville Police Department captain, from July to December 2010, their traffic cameras issued 58,000 citations, but only issued 8,000 citations during that same time period in 2011.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, nationwide there are 607 communities using speed and red light camera enforcement, 24 of which are in Tennessee.

Press Releases

Tracy Concedes to DesJarlais in 4th District

Letter from State Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville; August 25, 2014:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I am announcing my decision about whether or not to file a contest of the August 7th Republican Primary for the Fourth Congressional District. When I started this campaign, my goal was to offer the citizens of the 4th District a choice in who to represent them in Congress. I presented my plan to offer conservative, effective leadership, and my opponents offered theirs. And after over 75,000 votes were cast in the Republican Primary, less than 40 votes separated the incumbent Congressman and me.

Our campaign staff and volunteers have been diligently gathering and analyzing information from all 16 counties in the District. Through the Secretary of State’s Office, as well as directly, we have communicated with the County Election Commissions. Our staff has attended many of the meetings at which Election Commissions counted provisional ballots, as well the meetings at which the Election Commissions certified the votes in all of the August 7th elections. A great deal of information has come to me through formal and informal sources.

For example, there were votes by people who were not on the rolls and should have cast provisional ballots, but voted on machines so there was no way to determine whether those were legal votes. There were voters who were not given ballots for the primary election, but only for the General Election. There are counties that are split between the Fourth District and a different district, either the Seventh or the Third, and we know of at least one voter who was given a ballot for the wrong Congressional District. We know of a voter who was told that he had already voted, when he had not, which leads to the inference that other voters were told the same thing and did not take the time to assert their rights.

We have consulted with knowledgeable people, and I have consulted with my family and, most importantly I have prayed for guidance. In the end, the decision of whether or not to file a contest was mine and mine alone.

I have decided to refrain from contesting this election. I am not willing to put the State Republican Primary Board, the Secretary of State’s Office and Division of Elections, the County Election Commissions, the campaign staff, my volunteers, my family and the public through additional weeks of litigation, with uncertainty as to who the nominee will be.

State law provides that ballots must be ready to send out to military, overseas and other absentee voters 45 days before the November election, and I am not willing to put them in a difficult position. A contest would not be the right thing for the Republican Party and the conservative cause in Tennessee. Contests of primary elections are extremely compressed. The Fourth District is geographically widespread. Under state law, if there is a recount, all votes in every county must be recounted, even in counties where we are confident that the counts were accurate. A recount does not uncover votes that were illegal or that were illegally kept from being cast. These factors weigh against a contest.

I assure the public that the Secretary of State’s office, and the Division of Elections in that office, have been responsive, fair and objective and have done their job in an exemplary way. That office is in the best of hands. Chairman Chris Devaney, the staff and the counsel for the Tennessee Republican Primary Board went into action immediately after Election Night to prepare for a contest, and I thank them. I am forever grateful to my family, staff, volunteers, contributors, and the voters who placed their faith in me and have encouraged me throughout the campaign and in this decision-making period. I also want to comment that the press has reported fairly, neutrally and calmly, and I sincerely appreciate their demeanor.

I have called Rep. DesJarlais to inform him of my decision to concede and congratulated him. One reason why I am at peace about my decision is that I am devoted to my service as the Senator from the Fourteenth Senatorial District of Tennessee. Serving the people of the Fourteenth District and helping to make Tennessee a better place to live, work, do business and go to school is a high honor. I will continue to serve in the Senate with dedication, energy and integrity. Much is at stake for our country and our state; I look forward to helping us meet the challenges ahead.

God bless and Thank you,

Jim Tracy

NewsTracker Transparency and Elections

DesJarlais Win Looking Likely

The ballot-counts aren’t yet certified and there’s just a few dozen votes separating the top two contenders, but the battle to represent the Republican Party in Tennessee’s Fourth Congressional District this November looks to be all but won for incumbent Scott DesJarlais.

Provisional ballots in all of the district’s counties have been counted, and the gap between the two candidates hasn’t changed much the past few days. In fact, DesJarlais gained five votes while his challenger, state Sen. Jim Tracy, earned just two. The Franklin County Election Commission met Friday afternoon to examine a single provisional ballot, which was deemed invalid.

DesJarlais now leads Tracy by 38 votes. Following the Aug. 7 primary, Desjarlais led Tracy 34,787 votes to 34,752 votes — a 35 vote difference.

DesJarlais has called on Tracy to concede, though Tracy has indicated he is going to wait until all votes are certified by the State Election Commission on Aug. 25. Tracy has up to five days after the votes are certified to request a recount.

DesJarlais, who is a physician, is generally regarded as a dependably anti-Obama Tea-Party conservative in Congress. And he declares himself an abortion foe. But Tracy, who announced his challenge to DesJarlais in January 2013, sought to capitalize on a scandals from the incumbent congressman’s past involving extramarital affairs and assertions he told a mistress to seek an abortion when informed he’d impregnated her. DesJarlais has said the woman was lying about being pregnant.

With a DesJarlais victory looking likely, the Democratic challenger he’ll face, Lenda Sherrell, told WPLN that she doesn’t plan to focus on his past personal issues during her campaign to unseat him. Sherrell picked up an endorsement this week from Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, who is also a former Democratic state senator.

NewsTracker Transparency and Elections

Tracy, Desjarlais Lawyer Up, Sherrell Preps for Nov.

Several days after Tennessee voters cast their ballots in party primaries and local elections, the Republican nominee to represent the state’s 4th Congressional District in November is still up in the air.

The race between Jasper physician Scott Desjarlais, a two-term incumbent, and Shelbyville state Senator Jim Tracy is so close — less than 50 votes separate the challenger from the incumbent — that both candidates have declared themselves the winner, and have sought legal counsel.

Sen. TracyTracy, an insurance agent and two-and-a-half term state senator, announced his candidacy in January 2013 in the wake of the revelation in fall of 2012 that Desjarlais, the pro-life doctor and GOP nominee for the U.S. House seat, had in the past had sex with patients and later pressured one to get an abortion.

However, Desjarlais did well with rural voters, who seemed more inclined to consider his voting record than his troubled past when it came to casting their ballots, according to the Associated Press.

According to unofficial election totals from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office, Desjarlais came in with 34,787 votes, and Tracy had 34,752 — a 35 vote difference.

scott desJarlais  pic mugFourth Congressional District provisional ballot voters had until close-of-business Monday to make their way to their local election offices with a proper form of identification to ensure that their votes count, though it could be several days until the total vote tally is completed, according to the AP.

Only two provisional ballots were approved by Grundy County Election officials Monday night, one for each candidate, the Times Free Press and AP report.

Bill Green, the state executive committeeman for Tennessee’s 16th Senate District — which includes Coffee, Marion, Franklin, Grundy and Sequatchie Counties, told TNReport Monday that he had not been in touch with anybody else on the executive committee about what they’re going to do once the provisional ballots are counted.

Calls to both the Republican State Executive Committee’s National Committeeman John Ryder and National Committeewoman Peggy Lambert to discuss what to expect after the provisional ballots are certified and counted were not immediately returned Monday afternoon.

Because they are committed to neutrality in primaries, officers for the Tennessee Republican Party “cannot speculate” about the outcome of the 4th District race, said TNGOP Chairman Chris Devaney in e-mailed statement.

“According to state law, any Republican election contest would have to be submitted to the Tennessee Republican Party, acting as the State Republican Primary Board, within 5 days after election certification,” Devaney wrote. “If an election contest is received, the Primary Board would consider all arguments regarding a contest in a just and fair manner.”

Meanwhile, Democratic nominee Lenda Sherrell, who faced no opponent in the primary has been readying herself to face her GOP opponent in the general election, “whoever it is,” reports the Times Free Press.

Additionally, Desjarlais is a finalist in liberal comedian Bill Maher’s “Flip a District” campaign, in which the HBO talk show host will attempt to flip a district by using his show to place an incumbent member of Congress under a large degree of scrutiny.

Press Releases

Haslam Awards Shelbyville $361K TDOT Grant

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; August 11, 2014:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer announced today the award of a $361,440 transportation alternative grant to the city of Shelbyville for the North Square Sidewalk Improvement Project.

The project includes replacement of nearly 2,000 feet of existing sidewalks, and improvements to four intersections north of the City Public Square. This project continues the city’s efforts to provide pedestrian facilities to its downtown, and will build on previous improvements along the corridor. The project will also improve the aesthetics of the area, and encourage development in the downtown district.

“This project will support Shelbyville’s efforts to give its downtown a more vibrant, inviting appearance,” Haslam said. “We want to continue to make our state an even better place to live, work and raise a family, and projects like these are key to making that a reality.”

The transportation alternative grant is made possible through a federally funded program formerly known as transportation enhancement, and is administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

“Through these grants, TDOT has funded more than $306 million in non-traditional transportation projects,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “This program has assisted communities all over the state in their efforts to revitalize downtowns, highlight historic areas, provide alternative means of transportation, and increase opportunities for economic development.”

A variety of activities such as the restoration of historic facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping and other non-traditional transportation projects are eligible for grant funds under the federal program.

Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and Rep. Pat Marsh (R-Shelbyville) represent Bedford County in the Tennessee General Assembly.

NewsTracker Transparency and Elections

Carr Lags Behind Alexander in Fundraising

The clip at which Rutherford County state Rep. Joe Carr is raising money to try and unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in the Tennessee GOP primary next year doesn’t appear to be fast and furious.

Carr told conservative radio host Ralph Bristol his campaign didn’t do nearly as well as incumbent Alexander, who reported raising nearly $1 million in the same three-month period.

“I don’t have an exact figure, but it was a little less than $100,000, I believe,” said Carr, who shifted his campaign from the 4th District House nomination to the U.S. Senate in August.

In fact, Carr’s report this week to the Federal Election Commission indicates he only raised $52,000 in the third quarter. He also posted $285,000 cash on hand, which is an increase from the second quarter.

The Carr campaign justified the low numbers by saying he was more focused on endorsements than fundraising.

“Winning the support of Tennessee grassroots conservatives was our focus these past months – and we hit it out of the park, earning the endorsement of both the Beat Lamar organization and the Coalition for a Constitutional Senate, an informal coalition of 63 Tea Party and Liberty groups. Now were are going to build on that grassroots foundation and turn our focus to fundraising – I’m confident we will have a stellar 4th quarter,” Hillary Pate, Carr’s communications director said Wednesday afternoon.

Alexander reported raising $838,000 in the last three months making his year-to-date fundraising $3.9 million. The incumbent has $2.8 million on hand.

Campaign Fundraising from the House

Jim Tracy is winning the fund-raising race more than a year before he faces incumbent Rep. Scott DesJarlais in the 2014 primary for the GOP nomination for the 4th District in the U.S. House.

Tracy said the numbers prove he has the momentum in the race and enjoys broad support throughout the district that stretches from Rutherford County from Middle to East Tennessee.

“We have great support from inside the district,” Tracy said.

Tracy has taken donations from more than 1,200 individual donors with most coming from inside the contested district. DesJarlais, on the other hand, has taken cash from more out-of-state donors.

In the third quarter Tracy raised $181,721.79. During the three-month period, which ended Sept. 30, DesJarlais, raised $113,249. A state senator from Shelbyville, Tracy has collected $921,649.79 in this election cycle, compared to DesJarlais, who has $273,729.25.

Overall Tracy boasts a four-to-one lead in campaign funds with more than $750,000 on hand. DesJarlais is only holding on to about $170,000.

The only other incumbent with a seemingly viable opponent, Jimmy Duncan, R-Knoxville, raised $67,000 in the third quarter. He has raised $133,205.65 this election cycle and has $1.55 million on in the bank.

His primary challenger, Jason Zachary, reported raising $17,607.43 in the third quarter. He has raised $52,331.36 since announcing his candidacy in September. He has $20,364 in his campaign war chest.

Her are FEC tallies from Tennessee’s other U.S. House incumbents:

  • Phil Roe, R-1st District, raised $144,225 in the third quarter, $253,454 year-to-date and has $446,399.39 on hand
  • Chuck Fleischmann, R-3rd District, raised $95,880, $410,032 year-to-date with $250,222.41 on hand
  • Jim Cooper, D-5th District, raised $56,625, $344,051 year-to-date and has $910,762.31 in the bank
  • Diane Black, R-6th District, raised $127,621.61, year-to-date $552,362.45 and has $699,231.14 in the bank
  • Marsha Blackburn, R-7th District, raised $368,874.74 in the last quarter, $882,022.45 this year and holds $1.67 million in the bank
  • Stephen Fincher, R-8th District, raised $184,441.80 in the third quarter, $825,227.45 for the year and has $2.1 million in his campaign war chest
  • Steve Cohen, R-9th District, raised $59,125 for the quarter, $151,045 for the year and has $837,433.47 on hand.
Press Releases

Tracy: Senate Should Say ‘No’ to Obama on Syria Force Request

Press release from the Jim Tracy Campaign for U.S. Senate; September 4, 2013:

Murfreesboro, TN-Republican 4th district candidate Jim Tracy stated Wednesday that President Obama’s lack of a strategic plan for military force in Syria should result in a no vote.

“Based on what I have seen, I do not believe the President has outlined a compelling case or a coherent objective to Congress in his request for authorization to use military force in Syria,” said Tracy.

“There is no doubt the Assad regime’s willingness to use chemical weapons is unacceptable and that his growing dependence on Iran is a threat to stability in the Middle East. But President Obama’s weak and ineffective approach over the last few years in this part of the world continues to weaken our nation’s stature overseas,” said Tracy. “That weakened stature is why Assad ignored President Obama in the first place. The President “leads” from behind and when he inches toward action, he does so without a clear sense of purpose or an attainable conclusion. This administration, at this point in time, cannot be trusted with an authorization of military force in Syria. Congress should reject the President’s ill-conceived, ill-timed request.”

To learn more about Jim Tracy visit

Press Releases

4th District Race Now ‘Head to Head Matchup’ Between Tracy, Desjarlais

Press release from Jim Tracy for U.S. Congress; August 20, 2013:

Murfreesboro, TN– Joe Carr dropped out of the 4th Congressional District Race today at a press conference held in Murfreesboro leaving the race to a head to head matchup between State Senator Jim Tracy and Scott Desjarlais.

“I’m focused on running a grassroots, people-first campaign,” said Jim Tracy. The people of the Fourth District are hard-working, honest conservative folks and they deserve a strong and effective voice in Congress, which right now they do not have.”

Jim Tracy has dominated the fundraising arena since announcing to run in January and ended the second quarter with over $656,000 cash on hand compared to Desjarlais’ $88,000.

“My decision to run and my campaign have never been about the other candidates in the Fourth Congressional District, it has always been about the people and who they think can best represent them. I’m ready for the challenge and I look forward to the opportunity to serve them in Washington.”

To learn more about Jim Tracy visit or email

Press Releases

Saltsman Joins Carr Congressional Campaign

Press release from Jobless Consultants for Joe Carr; May 21, 2013:

LASCASSAS, TENN. – Jobless Consultants for Joe Carr today announced that infamous campaign consultant John “Chip” Saltsman, Jr. has joined the Carr for Congress team as general consultant. Saltsman will be involved in “strategic” decisions as well as day-to-day operations of the campaign.

Starting as a driver for Tennessee’s most forgettable tax-loving governor, Saltsman’s career highlights include creating a racially-charged national media firestorm and getting sued by members of his own political party.

“I’m pleased as punch to join this effort. As you may know, I’ve been struggling since I ‘left’ the office of Congressman Fleischmann. There are only so many daytime soaps and cartoons I can watch in a day,” explained Saltsman. “I’m a newlywed and my wife’s tastes in clothes and food are not, shall we say, pedestrian. I mean I got a bill from Jimmy Choo the other day that would make your head spin. I need work.”

“Long story short, I saw Congressman Desjarlais’s difficulties as an opportunity to make some bank,” Saltsman continued. “After Jim Tracy refused to call me back and the myriad of potential candidates I attempted to recruit elected not to run, I was left with the choice between Joe Carr and bankruptcy and eventual divorce. I chose the money. I mean, I chose Joe. Rep. Carr is without a doubt the best candidate in the race that will pay me. Without a doubt.”

Rep.Joe Carr explained the decision to employ the frequent television talking head as his consultant.

“Chip sat me down and explained that fundraising was overrated and what my fledgling campaign really needed was a highly-paid general consultant who would come up with various strategies to overcome the limitations of an increasingly small budget,” said Carr. “I know the logic seems circular but when Chip explains it it makes total sense.”

Chip Saltsman began his career in politics as a driver for former Governor Don Sundquist. Sundquist is recognized for his failed attempt to give Tennessee a state income tax and thus delaying Republican ascendancy in Tennessee for more than a decade. Sundquist would eventually install his driver Saltsman as chairman of the Republican Party in Tennessee.

“I remember getting the call that they needed someone over at the party to oversee things for us,” said Sundquist. “Of course, since we had the governor’s mansion every Republican worth a damn already had a government job. So, we let Chip be chair. He was very excited.”

After his stint as chairman, Saltsman started a longtime association with Senator Bill Frist. Saltsman served as campaign manager in Frist’s aborted run for President in 2008.

“I was majority leader of the Senate and on track to make a formidable presidential run. Then Chip came on board and, well, I never ran,” remembered Frist. “Of course, it wasn’t all Chip’s fault. He tried real hard. He means well. He really does.”

After Frist faltered, Saltsman deftly positioned himself as a campaign manager to Governor Mike Huckabee. The charismatic former governor who had already secured a strong grassroots following among the religious conservative community was excited to have Saltsman join his campaign..

“When I started my campaign, a lot of bigwigs and reporters would ask who my campaign manager was. I didn’t have an answer,” recollected Huckabee. “After Chip joined the team, I had an answer. From that point on, whenever ever anybody asked if I had a campaign manager I would say, ‘Yes. Yes, I do. His name is Chip Saltsman and he is standing right over there.’”

Fresh from presiding over the Huckabee campaign, Saltsman next made a run for Republican National Committee chair. Acting as his own political consultant, Saltsman mailed out a Christmas CD containing the song “Barack, the Magic Negro” to fellow RNC members. Saltsman’s campaign quickly imploded under the weight of the resulting media firestorm.

Saltsman made news most recently as the pivotal figure in an ongoing intra-party dispute that represents one of the most odious examples of Republican-on-Republican violence in recent Tennessee history.

In 2010, while serving as a campaign consultant to congressional candidate Chuck Fleischmann, Saltsman obtained confidential information stolen from Tennessee Republican Party headquarters to defame the campaign of former TNGOP chairwoman Robin Smith. When confronted with the theft and the use of illegal materials in a sworn deposition, Saltsman denied wrongdoing. He subsequently billed the Fleischmann campaign for thousands of dollars of legal expenses related to the suit. The suit is still pending.

Press Releases

Carr Announces Congressional Candidacy

Press release from the Joe Carr campaign for Congress; April 26, 2013:

Lascassas, TN– Rep. Joe Carr announced today his candidacy for the 4th Congressional district. The decision follows a successful exploratory phase chaired by prominent business leaders, Lee Beaman and Dr. Nate Schott. In just 6 weeks, Carr’s exploratory committee raised over $205,000 (nearly double the amount raised by incumbent Rep. Scott DesJarlais during the most recent filing period).

“Ginny and I are humbled by the outpouring of encouragement and financial support over the past several weeks. We are grateful for those who served on our exploratory committee and for so many friends who have demonstrated their confidence in me,” Carr stated.

“I am running for Congress because our country is in crisis and Tennesseans are hungry for strong, principled, conservative leadership. Our families face chronic unemployment and our leaders in Washington are taking us down a path of decay and financial ruin. Washington is paralyzed because our representatives are more interested in themselves than the people they represent. The Obama administration and their liberal allies in Washington continually assault our rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. The only way to change the culture in Washington, is to change the men and women we send there,” Carr added.

Carr’s Exploratory Committee Chairman, Lee Beaman, praised the decision and pointed to Carr’s proven record in the state house as indicative of the strong, principled leadership he will bring to Washington. “Rep. Carr led the fight to curb illegal immigration, abolish the death tax, protect the 2nd amendment and secure funding for the desperately needed MTSU science building,” Beaman stated. “Joe’s outstanding leadership in introducing and fighting for economic reforms in the General Assembly has helped Tennessee become the 4th most business friendly state in the nation. If there’s one thing I know about Joe Carr, it’s that he’s a proven conservative leader and fighter,” Beaman added. “He will shake up Washington, DC.”

“I will lead with integrity and advance the conservative movement in Washington,” Carr promised. “I will continue fighting for the Constitution and the first principles that made our country great: personal responsibility, individual liberty, and limited government. Additionally, I will stand firm in defense of the 2nd amendment against the assault from the Obama administration. We must protect the gun rights of law abiding citizens; otherwise the rest of the Bill of Rights and our status as a free society will be in jeopardy.”

Rep. Carr, a 1981 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, is a business consultant who helps companies become more energy efficient. Additionally, he and his wife Ginny own and operate Cedar Snag Farms in Lascassas.

He was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 2008 and currently serves as Chairman of the Local Government subcommittee. He is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and member of the National Federation of Independent Business, Tennessee Right to Life, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raider Athletic Association and supporter of Greenhouse Ministries. He is also an accomplished private pilot and member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association.

Rep. Carr has been married to Ginny for 30 years, and they have three children, Erin, Maddie and Joe, Jr. Ginny and Joe also have a grandson, Colby. He has lived in Rutherford County since he was a young boy and his family roots go back five generations in Rutherford County. Joe, Ginny and Joe Jr. are members of Believers Chapel in Murfreesboro.