State Rep. Shelia Butt won’t seek reelection, plans full-time Christian ministry work

State Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, announced Tuesday that she will not run for re-election in House District 64 next year, reports the Columbia Daily Herald. She plans to work full time for a Christian “women’s ministry” called “Sisters, Servants and Soldiers.”

“After much prayer and consideration, I will not be running for re-election for the next General Assembly which will convene in January of 2019,” Butt wrote. “Being a representative of the people was never intended by our Founding Fathers to be a profession, and was specifically designed to be a limited time of public service.

“As the year ends and January is approaching, I am looking forward to the second half of the 110th General Assembly beginning in 2018. It has truly been one of the highest honors in my life to be elected to serve the people of the 64th District in the Tennessee General Assembly, and I sincerely thank my constituents for that opportunity.”

Butt was first elected in 2010, defeating former State Rep. Ty Cobb, who now serves as Columbia’s fire chief. She was then re-elected for two more terms.

“It is a shock to us all on both sides of the aisle,” said Scott Cepicky, chairman of the Maury County Republican Party and a possible candidate to replace Butt, according to local political observers. “She has done a fantastic job over her last three terms. We are very proud of what she has accomplished, hopefully, she will stay involved in local politics and local issues.”

…With Butt leaving office, there is speculation she may pursue a seat as the mayor of Maury County despite telling The Daily Herald she will not run for county mayor in June 2017.

…Butt is a co-founder and former managing editor of S&S Bovine Images and also co-founder of Tennessee Cattle Business, the official publication of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association. Both companies focused on marketing and promoting the Tennessee cattle industry. Butt has also served as a lecturer at Freed-Hardeman University and a managing partner of MacInk Printers, Inc.

…“I look forward to working with and for the people of the 64th District in the next year and then devoting full time to my Women’s Ministry, ‘Sisters, Servants and Soldiers,’ ” Butt wrote.

The organization will mobilize Christian women across the globe in many areas of service.

“This is an exciting new opportunity for service for women in the Kingdom of God,” Butt said. “We will create a list of strong, knowledgeable women speakers and teachers as a resource for congregations. We will present mission opportunities for those who are willing to travel and teach throughout the world. We all have different talents to be used to His glory.”

Note: Herald Editor Jim Bennett has penned a separate commentary piece on Butt’s career and local politics, including some discussion of possible candidates to replace her and with a focus on Democrats, who cheered when the Butt announcement. Democrats say they’ll have a credible candidate — though it won’t be two locally prominent political figures former Rep. Ty Cobb or Chad Molder, son-in-law of state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh. Molder is said to be a possible county mayor candidate.

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