Tilman Goins, deputy commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services, spoke to the Hamblen County Republican Women Monday night in depth on his new role as a state employee and why he decided to step down from politics.
Goins, the former state representative who decided not to run for reelection last year, said family comes first for him, so he made his decision not to run for a third term.
“My son didn’t need a weekend dad, so I retired,” he said.
Goins, a Republican, served two terms as state representative. Before that, he served on the Hamblen County Commission. He is a former Marine and US Army veteran who deployed oversees in the War on Terror.
At the start of the year, he took the job as deputy commissioner for the state’s Veterans Services and now lives in the Nashville area with his family.
He said his new role serving veterans has been a tremendous experience.
“This really has been one of the greatest experiences in my life,” he said.
Goins said other great experiences in his life that included his father, current County Commissioner Tim Goins.
Tim Goins is also a US Army veteran who served in Iraq.
Tilman Goins said one of his first great experiences of his life came when he and his father decided to run for county commission against two incumbents. He said many people told them a father and son duo winning the election “couldn’t be done.”
“I won by four votes and he won by 11 votes,” Tilman Goins said.
Tilman Goins said while he watched returns he didn’t even care about his race. He was more concerned about his father’s race. He said his father felt the same about his race.
In the end, they were sworn in together.
“That day, I was sworn in with him,” he said. “It was amazing. It was magical.”
Then another great moment of his life was when his father ran for reelection. Tim Goins won the race and Tilman Goins, who was a state representative by that point swore him into office.
Tilman Goins spent the rest of his speech talking about Veterans Services.
He said the agency’s role is to be advocates for veterans. He said many people get them confused with the Department of Veterans Affairs, which they are not.
“We’re not the VA,” he said. “We’re not a federal agency.”
A large role of the department is to help veterans file claims to receive benefits and assist in any way possible.
He said it has been a learning experience for him the last several months. There are five Veterans Cemeteries across Tennessee and four veterans’ nursing homes with more being constructed in Cleveland, Tennessee and the Tri-Cities.
He said every veteran should take advantage of the services provided them.
“It is an earned benefit,” he said.