Stout won a seat on the City Commission in April 2011 — his first-ever run for public office. The now 35-year-old appeared to come out of nowhere. But the local business owner had studied the inner workings of local government for some time before making a commitment to run.
He now has been at the forefront of some big decisions and resulting actions, including his popular suggestion that the city borrow up to $2 million to help jump-start construction of the new Johnson City-Washington County Animal Shelter. Commissioners did eventually agree to borrow $1.5 million.
Now the freshman commissioner is mulling over the idea of competing for a freshman state legislator’s spot, though he did pledge to run for a second term on the City Commission in 2015.
“It’s something I’m considering,” Stout said Friday. “Right now I’m just focusing on my job as a city commissioner and my family. My family and I will be discussing it and praying over it. But that’s about all I have to say at this point.”
At a 2008 Young Republicans convention, he said this about President Barack Obama: “Hope and change don’t fill my gas tank up; hard work does.”
The Bristol, Va., native moved to Johnson City with his family when he was a youngster. He attended Liberty Bell and is a Science Hill High School graduate. He later graduated from The Citadel.
Republican newcomer Van Huss entered the political arena for the first time last year and promptly knocked incumbent Republican state Rep. Dale Ford out of the running for a chance at a fourth term. His Democratic opponent in the November election, Michael Clark, was no match in the Nov. 6 election.
Van Huss, 34, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Jonesborough who served as a sniper during two tours in Iraq. He also deployed twice to Afghanistan. He was not on active duty in Afghanistan, but worked on a contract basis to help train the Afghan National Army.
This was his first attempt at running for public office, and he has said that some voters might actually consider that a good thing. He has been successful in securing funds for the Interstate 26/Exit 13 interchange improvements and other road and water projects throughout the district.