A Henry County man who has had varied work experience at the state and local level has announced his candidacy for Henry County mayor.
John Penn Ridgeway, who currently works at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, will be a candidate for the mayor’s post being vacated by the retirement of Brent Greer.
Ridgeway is the son of former state Rep. Don Ridgeway, D-Paris, who served in the state Legislature for 18 years before stepping aside in 2002.
Ridgeway’s announcement is as follows:
“Hello, fellow Henry Countians. My name is John Penn Ridgeway and I am announcing my intent to run for the office of county mayor.
“I am very excited to make this announcement as Henry County has always been my home. I, along with my wife, Melissa, and my children Walker and Jackson enjoy being active citizens in this community.
“I am proud to say that I come from a family of dedicated Henry County servants. My father served as the elected state representative for Henry County and my mother as the agricultural Extension agent for Henry County for many years. My family has also owned a business in Paris and Henry County since 1946. My family heritage is only one reason I have made the decision to run for the office of county mayor.
“My education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in public administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin and a Masters of Arts degree in education from Bethel University. My professional employment career has been built upon public service for the betterment of our community. I have had the privilege of serving on the staff of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development assisting dislocated workers and unemployment claimants to access the services and skills necessary to better their lives.
“I have also been a part of the Tennessee River Trails Association, working with the nine county chamber directors and county mayors to facilitate tourism development for our area. Finally, most people recognize me from the Tennessee College of Applied Technology where I have spent the last 13 years. In this capacity, my role has been to oversee budgets and staff as well as collaborate with area industries and development boards for workforce needs. My favorite part of this career has been to match area employers with potential employees for a win-win for local industries and citizens.
“I feel that my personal life has also been a preparation platform for this job. I am active in many local civic organizations such as Henry County Youth Baseball and Upward Flag Football, as well as the Rotary Club local to my workplace. In addition, I am honored to be a former member of Generation Tennessee Future Leaders Academy, West Tennessee Workforce Board, WestStar and the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
“My family is like yours. We enjoy the privilege of worshipping and serving our Lord with our family and friends. Our lives have been abundantly full of blessings, as well as challenges. In those times of challenge, we have turned to our faith and tried to see every challenge as an opportunity. My family before me used these opportunities to ensure I would have a safe, thriving community to be educated and grow.
“Because of their work and dedication to Henry County, my children have also had this opportunity. It is now my responsibility and honor to grow and protect Henry County for our generation and those to follow.
“The encouragement I’ve received to seek this office has been overwhelming. I will not run a negative campaign, nor will I avoid a rigorous campaign on the issues that matter. My focus will not be on the politics of the office, rather on the people the office serves. My priorities, should I be given the opportunity to serve as county mayor, will be:
“1. Jobs, workforce education and development.
“2. To not only keep our quality of life, but to improve our quality of life.
“3. And to be honest, open, accessible and accountable.
“My name is John Penn Ridgeway. I would appreciate your support as the next Henry County mayor.”