Please tell us a little about yourself. Where were you born, raised, and where do you live now? What is your current career position?
“I was born and raised in Greeneville, and I currently live in Hermitage. I am a product manager in the health care field, and I am also a political consultant.”
Family? Married? Children?
“Family is very important to me. My family mainly lives back in East Tennessee, but my wife’s family is all local to Middle Tennessee. We do not have children at this time but are hoping to expand our family soon.”
Where did you graduate high school? College? Degree?
“I graduated from Chuckey-Doak High School in Greene County. Yes, that is the real name. I attended East Tennessee State University in Johnson City and obtained my degree in political science and criminal justice.”
I understand you work for a health care informatics company called Amazing Charts. Can you explain what you do there?
“Sure, I am a product manager for an OBGYN-specific electronic health record. It is my responsibility to ensure our health record software provides a seamless solution that allows our physicians to provide quality care to their patients.”
What are some career highlights and biggest career accomplishments? How did you get to this position?
“I have been fortunate to receive several promotions in the past decade at Amazing Charts. My background in policy made the transition to health care a seamless one.”
You are also a political consultant locally, and you specialize in state and local government races. Why do you like politics? Are you happy with local returns?
“I believe in public service, first and foremost. Politics allows you to help those who are in need. State and local government races are my passion because this is where you can really make the biggest impact on the lives of everyday people. Our most recent election showed Nashvillians voting in record numbers, so I am very happy with that. I am a firm believer that our society benefits a great deal when more people utilize this sacred right.”
You are the vice president of the Donelson-Hermitage Neighborhood Association. How long have you been in this position? Is it a term position? How long has DHNA been in existence? Explain the purpose of this association.
“I was elected to this position in January, and my term is up at the beginning of 2021. The DHNA was formed in the late 1980s. The organization started out as an outlet for neighborhoods around the Donelson-Hermitage area to ban together to fight harmful development projects. The DHNA continues to advocate for pro-neighborhood issues today. Our purpose is to ensure the residents of Donelson and Hermitage have access to factual information, in a time where misinformation runs rampant, while advocating for the interests of our neighborhoods on a state and local level.”
What are some milestones this past year in your position there?
“Our organization was able to partner with several local organizations to assist with the cleanup efforts following the March 3 tornado. We also implemented a virtual forum series that allowed residents to gain access to their local public officials and candidates for office. The DHNA is known for hosting in-person forums during normal times, so this venture was very popular.”
Do you belong to any other organizations? Why are you so devoted to public service?
“I am a member of Neighbor 2 Neighbor, which is a citywide organization dedicated to neighborhood advocacy. I also am a member of the L’Evate – formerly Leadership Donelson-Hermitage – class of 2020-2021. Public service is rewarding because it allows me to help folks who are in need. It’s as simple as that.”
Who is your mentor? Why? Are you a mentee to anyone?
“I really have two. My father, Bill Huffman, has always been someone who I look up to. He taught me that you don’t get anywhere by skating by. I grew up on a farm in Greene County, and everything you wanted had to be earned. I also have a political mentor in Lee Porterfield. Lee was my high school government teacher, and he got me started in politics back in 2004. I still stay in touch with him on a regular basis.”
If you could spend an evening with anyone, past or present, who and why? What would you ask?
“I would probably say Lyndon Johnson. LBJ is a personal hero of mine. I would ask how he overcame the obstacles to pass the Civil Rights Act. We can learn a lot from history, and in a lot of cases, it can be applied to present times, as well.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received or given?
“The best piece of advice I received was to speak up for those who don’t have a voice. The best advice I’ve given was to never throw in the towel. I came from humble beginnings in rural Appalachia. You don’t get very far in life by quitting.”
“I play golf and tend to my garden in my free time. I am also an avid collector of historical political items.”
What would surprise us about you?
“My family housed three refugees from Armenia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.”
Where do you see yourself in five years?
“I think it is one of the worst kept secrets in Hermitage that I am planning on running for Nashville Metro Council. Hopefully in five years, I will be settling into my first term.”
“My wife and I have two dogs. Lily is a Doberman mix, and Penny is a Dachshund and Jack Russell terrier mix.”
Do you like to travel? If so, what’s your favorite place you’ve visited or somewhere you’d love to visit when it’s safe?
“We travel often during non-pandemic times. My favorite place so far has been the Seattle area. I have always been fond of the Pacific Northwest region. We look forward to exploring more in the western United States at some point next year.”
Some answers were edited.