Drew Robinson/Citizen Tribune

JB Smiley Jr., who is pursuing the Tennessee Democratic nomination for governor of Tennessee, speaks in Morristown.

JB Smiley Jr went from running on the courts playing collegiate and semi-professional basketball to now running to be the Democratic nominee Tennessee’s governor.

After his basketball career, Smiley decided to pursue legal education.

He graduated from The University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowden School of Law.

A few years later he decided to become a small business owner back in his hometown of Memphis and start his own practice, Smiley and Associates, PLLC.

Smiley has also been a member of the Memphis City Council since the start of 2020.

“When I was running for city council, I had a phrase: from the homeless to the homeowner and everyone in between,” Smiley said. “We have a responsibility to the people.”

As a member of city council, Smiley is the chair of the Public Works, Transportation and General Services Committee.

Smiley entered the race shortly after Nashville physician Jason Martin announced his bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Smiley mentioned Tennessee having some major issues he wants to focus on including violent crime rates, access to healthcare, women’s rights and many other issues.

“I will foster a space for law enforcement, public safety and community organizations to find common ground,” Smiley said. “I want to make sure that we feel safe and making that a reality in every county across Tennessee.”

Smiley also mentions that under his leadership, Tennesseans will have access to health care no matter where they live and women will have the right to choose what is best for their own bodies.

It’s all about a personal touch for Smiley.

“It is our responsibility to provide a better life with more opportunities for our children, family and futures,” Smiley said.

Smiley will be joining Martin, Memphis nonprofit leader Carnita Atwater and Casey Nicholson, an ordained minister from Greeneville, for the Democratic bid in the August 2022 primary.

The winner will then likely face Republican Gov. Bill Lee in the November 2022 general election.

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