It’s official: Tullahoma’s longtime mayor will not seek reelection in 2020.
Mayor Lane Curlee said in a statement that he has decided to end his most recent decade in public service this August by not seeking a return to the part-time position.
“I want to take this opportunity to let the community know about a month ago I made the hard decision to not seek re-election as mayor in the August election after serving and leading Tullahoma for 18 years,” he said.
Curlee has served the city of Tullahoma in myriad ways from the local to the state level. He was first elected as an alderman in 1982 and served a two-year term.
He then served as a member of the Tennessee General Assembly from 1984 to 1993, representing the Tennessee 47th district, which includes the city, as State Representative.
After his eight years in the General Assembly, Curlee returned to Tullahoma where he was elected to serve as mayor, a position he held for nine years before deciding against seeking reelection in 2002.
Curlee ran for and was elected alderman in 2004 and served one three-year term before taking a brief hiatus from politics.
He began his recent tenure as mayor of Tullahoma in August of 2011, winning three consecutive terms in the position.
Curlee’s 18 combined years as mayor make him Tullahoma’s longest-serving mayor, besting the late Jack T. Farrar’s 16.5 years, according to Curlee’s statement.
Curlee said the timing of his announcement was to allow for anyone interested in running for mayor the opportunity to do so.
“I wanted to give sufficient notice for anyone who has an interest in running for mayor to have plenty of time to really think about it before jumping in,” he said. “It is quite an honor to be elected mayor but quite a commitment also.”
Curlee also reminded citizens that the filing deadline for qualifying petitions is April 2 for anyone wanting to run.
Curlee added that he will miss serving the city, as being the mayor has been a part of his identity for a large portion of his life.
“I really like making good things happen for the people of Tullahoma,” he said. “I wake up every day and get to do what I love doing. It’s a gift. I have always enjoyed the challenge of helping make our great community even better.”
“There are so many good things happening in Tullahoma now and so many good things on the drawing board,” Curlee added. “Tullahoma continues to receive positive attention from all over the state, and I believe that will continue.”
Curlee thanked everyone for their continued support over his last decade in office, including a special thanks to his wife, Evelyn.
“It’s rough being the spouse of an elected community leader, but Evelyn has done a great job and has always been supportive of me,” he said. “We celebrated out 40th anniversary last year and, frankly, she has been a public servant in her own right and provided a lot of behind-the-scenes help over the years.”
He also thanked the citizens of Tullahoma for helping him achieve a number of his own political goals for the city, including receiving the state’s number-two micropolitan destination rating, achieving one of the highest bond ratings in the state and being considered a retail, medical and aviation hub of Middle Tennessee.
“Once again, thank you for the opportunity to serve and I look forward to even bigger and better things for Tullahoma. It has been an honor to help, serve and lead the community for 18 years.”
A full copy of Curlee’s statement can be found on our website, tullahomanews.com.
According to Coffee County Elections Administrator Andy Farrar, only two people have picked up qualifying petitions to run for Curlee’s seat. They are Karl Smithson and Alderman Ray Knowis.
Additionally, Farrar said only one petition for alderman has been picked up from his office. That petition belongs to Stephen Landers, who has run for alderman multiple times.
There have not been any petitions pulled for any of the school board seats, according to Farrar. According to the elections set by the city, the Tullahoma City Schools Board of Education has three seats up for reelection.
Anyone looking to run for any of the positions is encouraged to stop by the Coffee County Election Commission office, located at 1329 McArthur St. Suite 6 in Manchester. For questions, call the office at 723-5103, visit the election commission website at coffeecountyelectioncommission.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erin McCullough may be reached at email@example.com.