​Jimmy Henley: Working Man Wise

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of interviews with some of the local candidates running for office. General election voting is Aug. 2.
In support of his decision to run for District 5, Seat B county commissioner, candidate Jimmy Henley said, “I know what the county needs, and I know what would benefit the county.” Henley speaks from experience.
Raised in the Winchester-Decherd area, Henley graduated from Franklin County High School in 1976 and “went straight to work.” After a few years as a truck driver and truck mechanic, Henley turned his knowledge of large equipment into a business specializing in construction, excavation, site preparation, building pads, and drainage, sewer and water line work for utilities. In business for 30 years, the cities of Winchester and Cowan have frequently relied on Henley for their utility and excavation needs.
Henley met his wife Darlene Barnes in high school. Darlene grew up in Sherwood. The couple moved to Sewanee soon after marrying, where they raised two children. They’ve lived in the Sherwood area since setting up home on the mountain and currently reside on Sherwood Trail.
The needs of the county’s youth top Henley’s list of priorities. He’d like to see the county build a recreation center where young people can congregate with adult supervision. Henley points to the two aging middle schools as the county’s most pressing needs.
“I attended North Middle School more than 40 years ago,” Henley said. “The middle school roofs’ leak and the schools are getting old. Something needs to be done pretty quick.”
At this point in time, Henley recommends replacing the two aging middle schools with a single consolidated school, but stresses, “If I’m elected I’ll go to the people in my district and seek out their opinion.”
Henley favors a site near Franklin County High School for the consolidated middle school, pointing to the advantage of the central location.
Asked if he’d support the 10 percent property tax increase likely needed if the county builds two middles schools, estimated cost $48 million, Henley said, “I don’t know if would support that much property tax increase. That’s something I’d need to look at.”
If Henley is elected, he intends to research the issue of middle school funding to explore grant and loan opportunities.
“I’m new to politics,” he concedes, “but I’ve been in business 30-plus years. I know the county. I know a lot of people, and a lot of people know me.”
“I want a chance to see what I can do for Franklin County,” Henley said. “I’ve worked all over the county. I’d like to have a chance to make a difference.”