Doctors, lawyers, a college student and even a priest turned out Tuesday at a fun little fundraiser for Nathan Rowell, a Republican candidate for Knox County law director.
Rowell brought “awws” from the crowd at Blue Coast Grill & Bar on Market Square when he told how he decided to enter the race. Seems he had been approached by several people — mostly lawyers — who were concerned about the direction of the current Knox County law director’s office. But Rowell really couldn’t imagine entering the race. After all, unlike the current law director, a former Knox County Commissioner, Rowell had never been a politician or run for any office.
As more people approached him, he thought and thought about it. Finally, unable to make a decision, he left it up to a higher power. “Give me a sign,” he asked on a Sunday during a quiet time at Church Street United Methodist Church where he is a lay leader.
The very next day he ran into another lawyer friend at the Bistro on Gay Street. The friend mentioned the late Robert Watson, a founder of Rowell’s law firm, Watson Roach. “The week before Robert was diagnosed (with pancreatic cancer),” the friend told Rowell, “he said he was going to talk to you about running for law director.”
It was Rowell’s sign. Robert Watson had been his long-term mentor. “I always did whatever Robert said,” Nathan told the crowd on Tuesday. “And I still did what he told me.”
Alan and I do not normally get involved in local political races except for those involving folks in the Haslam and Duncan families, since we have been close to them for so long. But we decided to make an exception in the case of the race for Knox County law director, and we volunteered to help the Nathan Rowell campaign.
Rowell is running for law director for all the right reasons. He wants to bring his 20 years of experience in governmental law to a position that requires a very high level of legal expertise and professionalism.
As Rowell says, he is a professional, not a politician. The issues that confront county government require someone in the law director’s job to have a keen intellect, excellent training, expertise and the ability to rise above politics.
Rowell is the only person in the race for law director who has that type of experience. He has represented Knox County, the Knox County Board of Education, the City of Knoxville, Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee and scores of other cities and counties. He was a clerk for two judges on the Tennessee Court of Appeals before joining Watson Roach in 1997.
Friends, a law director needs to stand above politics, not be a tool of it. The issues are too important for advice that shifts with political winds. The people of Knox County deserve representation that is based on the best legal advice possible — independent of special interests.
The Republican primary is March 1. To vote for Rowell, you need to vote in the Republican primary — there is no Democratic candidate.
Early voting starts Feb. 10. Election day is March 1. Please vote in the Republican primary and vote for Nathan Rowell.