For nearly 25 years, Amelia Morrison Hipps served as a voice for the communities she covered in the newspaper industry. Announcing her candidacy for the State House, Hipps hopes to represent the voices of the 46th District in the Tennessee General Assembly.
"As the editor of a community newspaper, I found that if you were as fair and balanced as you could be in covering issues of concern, you could make a difference," said Hipps, who works in public relations now. She was the managing editor of the Wilson County daily newspaper, The Lebanon Democrat, from 2006-2012.
"My career in journalism was an answer to a calling. It was both my profession and vocation. Today, I am answering the call to seek public office so I can continue helping others."
Hipps said that as a reporter and editor, a person has to develop listening skills. "There's a huge difference between just hearing what people say and truly listening to them. As a state representative, we are elected to listen and represent all of the people in our district, not just those who agree with our political viewpoints, which I believe is what is happening now with our current representation," she said.
Hipps cited an example of how a strong, compelling voice can influence positive change. In 2007, Hipps and her reporters helped bring awareness about the low salaries of certified officers in the Wilson County Sheriff's Department.
"The Sheriff's Department had been fighting for pay increases because they were grossly underpaid compared to the cities in the county and were losing deputies to the police departments. We ran a series of articles and editorials, raising awareness of the issue and garnering support for it throughout the community. The pay increase passed," Hipps said.
As the next state representative for District 46, which includes parts of Wilson and DeKalb counties and all of Cannon County, Hipps is committed to collaboration.
"As our district grows and changes, more and more people and industries are calling District 46 home, just as I did 10 years ago. The people of our great state are watching our State Legislature often act without giving any thought as to the consequences of their actions, and this must stop," she said.
"Together, we are better than the sum of our parts, and I am committed to finding common ground on issues, such as Insure Tennessee, which was created by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, even though his own party refuses to bring the much-needed legislation to a vote."
Hipps noted that the communities in District 46 are filled with people who serve others every day in large and small ways - often unnoticed. "But who is truly working on their behalf in the State House of Representatives?" she asked. "Robert Lane once said, 'Life is a calling of service to others.'
"When elected, I pledge to serve you by seeking ways to provide needed health care, a quality education by keeping money in the school systems, and helping your local governments improve your county's economic viability."
After almost six years at The Lebanon Democrat, Hipps covered the Tennessee General Assembly as executive editor/CEO of Capitol Newswatch and as a freelance writer for TNReport.com, giving her keen insight into the workings of the General Assembly.
Hipps started her sole-proprietor communications business, a.m.Hipps Consulting in 2013 working for such clients as the Tennessee Press Association and New Leash on Life. She also worked as the part-time public information officer for the Wilson County School system.
She began her journalism career at the then Chattanooga News-Free Press (now The Chattanooga Times-Free Press) in 1982. She worked in various positions in public relations in Chattanooga before returning to the newspaper industry in 1991 where she remained until 2012. Hipps has won numerous awards from the Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama Press associations, as well as the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors Association.
Hipps serves on the board of directors for New Leash on Life, a non-profit, no-kill organization dedicated to improving the lives of companion animals, and on the Advisory Council of Empower Me Center, a non-profit organization devoted to empowering individuals with disabilities to achieve their full potential. She is a member of the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce.
She previously served on the board for Brooks House, a shelter for homeless women and children.
Hipps and her husband, Jim, live in Lebanon with their two rescue dogs, Onyx Jasmine, and Sir Robert Redbone, and are members of Immanuel Baptist Church.
"I have no opponent in the Aug. 4 primary election, so I ask for your help in winning the Nov. 8 General Election. As your State Representative, I pledge to serve with the integrity, dedication, and optimism the people of District 46 deserve and need," Hipps said.
Hipps' campaign treasurer is John Foutch, tax manager at CPACG focusing on individual, business, and fiduciary income tax preparation. Foutch lives with his wife, Aileen, and their son, Ozzy, in an historic family home in Lebanon, which they recently renovated. He actively participates in the Lebanon Breakfast Rotary, is Treasurer at First Presbyterian in Lebanon, and he's raising a small fold of Highland cattle on his family's farm.
To volunteer or donate, go to www.Hipps4TN46.com. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/AmeliaMHipps4TN46/, and her Twitter handle is @Hipps4TN46.