Tennessee Transportation Commissioner John Schroer will be in town Thursday for a 5 p.m. Tennessee Department of Transportation meeting at Cleveland Middle School.
Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson and Assistant Commissioner for Market Development Joe Gaines will be here for a “Listening Tour” on the same day at 10 a.m. at Bradley County’s Tri-State Exhibition Center at Exit 20 on Interstate 75.
Johnson will be the guest speaker at Thursday’s noon luncheon of the Cleveland Kiwanis Club at the Mountain View Inn.
TDOT and Rep. Kevin Brooks announced over the weekend that work on Exit 20 and Highway 311 is fully funded and contracts have been released for the spring.
Charleston Mayor Walter Goode has been invited to Thursday’s meeting and is expected to talk with the state commissioners about truck traffic concerns in his city (see related story).
Schroer was appointed TDOT commissioner by Gov. Bill Haslam in January, 2011. He is the 29th commissioner of the state agency that oversees a statewide transportation system including highways, rail, airports, waterways and transit.
Just after his appointment, Schroer initiated a review of TDOT including its organization and processes in conjunction with Haslam’s “Top to Bottom Review” of state government.
To become acquainted with TDOT operations and employees, Schroer embarked on summer tours in 2011 by traveling thousands of miles across the state to TDOT projects and facilities. He met with agency employees to gather ideas on how TDOT could become more efficient.
Previous to his state service, Schroer was the mayor of Franklin, beginning with his election in 2007.
Prior to his election as mayor he was a member of the board of the Franklin Special School District for 13 years, serving as its chairman for 11 of those years.
Johnson and Gaines, the state’s two top agriculture officers, will be guests at Thursday’s 10 a.m. meeting at Tri-State.
Jack Sanders, Ag Credit chairman and chairman of the Bradley County Farm Bureau Board, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and introduce Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis. Davis will then introduce the two state officials.
Bruce Bradford of Ag Credit will recognize special guests.
The “Listening Tour” will conclude just before noon, with Johnson advancing to the Kiwanis Club where he will be greeted by Kiwanis Club President Leigh Ann Boyd.
He is expected to give a short talk and conduct a question-and-answer session.
Bradford is the Kiwanis Club’s program chairman this month.
Johnson was appointed by Haslam and sworn in as Tennessee’s 36th Agriculture commissioner in January.
Prior to his appointment, Johnson served as chief administrative officer of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, a leading farm and rural advocacy organization with the largest membership in the nation. During his 37 years of professional service to the TFBF, he directed the organization’s legislative affairs, served as director of research and also as a regional field service director.
He has extensive experience in working with government leaders and agencies at the local, state and federal levels.
As commissioner he directs the work of more than 800 full- and part-time employees with responsibilities ranging from farm and agribusiness development, food safety and pesticide regulation to animal and plant health protection and forest and water resources management.
He has been recognized by the Tennessee Association of Future Farmers of America with the Honorary State FFA degree and by the University of Tennessee Gamma Sigma Delta Honorary Society with the Distinguished Achievement in Agriculture Award. He is a native of the Forbus community in Fentress County.
Gaines has worked in state government for more than 40 years, with most of his service at the Department of Agriculture. Over his career, he has developed a comprehensive marketing and development program for Tennessee agriculture.
In addition to directing marketing, promotion and development activities, he is also responsible for overseeing the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program.
He served as executive director of the Governor’s Council on Agriculture and Forestry in 1996, and is a graduate of the Tennessee Government Executive Institute. He is a native of Madison.
Gaines is retired from the Tennessee Army National Guard holding the rank of colonel and is the recipient of numerous military awards, including the Legion of Merit.