By Clint Confehr
NASHVILLE, TN — An attorney experienced in state and federal courts — one who helped create a health insurance company — is campaigning to be the next state representative for a large part of Davidson County.
“Being a lawyer and having to interpret and apply the laws that are passed out of the Tennessee General Assembly gives me a unique set of skills for the position,” says Terry Clayton who’s been practicing law for 33 years.
Early in his career, Clayton worked as an incorporator at Access MedPlus/Tennessee Managed Care Network. The job provided insight into one of Tennessee’s long-standing political issues; health care and how to pay for it.
“There’s free money on the table that they have not taken,” Clayton said. “It’s to expand Medicare. If I’m elected to represent District 54, I’ll work with the Republicans to persuade them they’ve been working against the best interests of their citizens.
“We have lost 29 rural hospitals, community health centers,” Clayton said. “In those communities, their emergency rooms are in the back of an ambulance. People are dying only because the state hasn’t accepted the money that’s available under the Affordable Care Act.”
Clayton emphasizes that he would meet with Republican lawmakers about the denial of funds from the federal government.
During his decades of public service, Clayton was on the Black Health Care Task Force.
“I was part of the group that identified the health care disparity across Tennessee, and COVID-19 has exposed us to health care disparities all across the state,” he said.
Clayton earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and criminal justice from Tennessee State University in 1980 and a law degree from Howard University in 1985. He has his own law firm.
Aug. 6 is an important date for Clayton and voters. It is the primary election day for the Democratic Party to nominate a candidate for the office of state House representative from District 54. However, since there is no Republican primary, the result of the Aug. 6 election will determine the winner of that state house seat in November.
“With a great deal of commitment to service and proven dedication to get results,” Clayton said, “I humbly ask for your vote on Aug. 6th.”
He points out that his opponent “is a bail bondsman and is not in a position to reform the criminal justice system since one of the proposed reforms we’re looking at would reduce the use of cash bail to assure return of individuals for their court dates.”
While Clayton’s legal practice is focused on civil issues — personal injury, probate, domestic relations, contract disputes and bankruptcy — he’s practiced law in criminal court.
“In a lot of cases, bail bond has been set too high, especially if the defendant is not a flight risk and the crimes are not violent crimes,” he said of circumstances of the system that are favorable to the incumbent who wants to keep his seat in the state House.
Clayton served 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, starting as a legal clerk. During part of his time in the military, he was a military police officer. Clayton retired as a major with responsibilities as chief of equal opportunity for the 118th Airlift Wing in Nashville.
As a long-time member of Temple Baptist Church, Clayton serves on its Samaritan Ministries’ Board of Directors. The group has two programs. One serves meals. Another provides after school and summer programs for youngsters living at Cumberland View Apartments.