HONORING BILLY STOKES
(Extensions of Remarks - April 25, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E550-E551]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                         HONORING BILLY STOKES

                                 ______
                                 

                        HON. JOHN J. DUNCAN, JR.

                              of tennessee

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, April 25, 2013

  Mr. DUNCAN of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, recently the Halls Shopper News 
in my district profiled a long-time friend of mine, Billy Stokes.
  Billy is a very patriotic American and someone I really admire and 
respect. This article is a great tribute to him, and I call it to the 
attention of my Colleagues and other readers of the Record.

      [From the Halls/Fountain City Shopper News, April 22, 2013]

                           Working-Class Hero

                            (By Betty Bean)

       Billy Stokes was playing quarter tonk with a guy named 
     Moses when he had a sudden flash of clarity.
       A 1970 Rule High School graduate, Billy had gotten a job 
     tending bar at Sam & Andy's after the University of Tennessee 
     had invited him to take a quarter off, and somehow that 
     quarter stretched out into a year and a half as he whiled 
     away slow afternoons between lunch and happy hour with his 
     friends.
       ``It dawned on me that in 18 months, none of us had moved 
     an inch. So I went back to school and got my degree,'' he 
     said.
       Forty-plus years later, he's a lawyer with a reputation for 
     being aggressive, competent, thorough, and for winning some 
     huge settlements. A politically active Republican who doesn't 
     mind occasionally going off the reservation--like when he 
     supported Madeline Rogero for mayor in a nonpartisan city 
     race--he's got a Rule High School baseball cap on one side of 
     the shelf behind his desk and a Jellico cap on the other 
     side,
       In his desk drawer sits a picture, soon to be framed, of 
     the tiny shotgun house in Lonsdale where he grew up. He's 
     also got a picture of the Howard Johnson's where his mother 
     waited tables and the ET&WNC truck his father drove for a 
     living.
       On another wall there are pictures of him with presidents, 
     senators and governors, including several from his stints as 
     state commissioner of employment security and as special 
     assistant to the governor during the Don Sundquist 
     administration, including one of him dressed in full Santa 
     Claua drag sitting on the back of his Harley-Davidson.
       ``I'm an old school dude. I like to ride motorcycles, go 
     fishing and am pretty much true to my southern Appalachian 
     roots. I'm probably a typical Scots-Irish male. Whether you 
     got money or I got money, we're all even. Doesn't matter who 
     you are.
       ``Redneck? That's all right with me, Pretentious is 
     probably not something anybody calls me--I hope. RINO 
     (Republican In Name Only)? I don't care. Madeline Rogero was 
     by far the best candidate in that field of three. A chief 
     executive needs to be a competent manager.''


                               Growing up

       His family originally came from Saxton, Ky., just across 
     the state line from Jellico, before they moved to Knoxville. 
     His mother, Thelma, is 89 and still living independently. His 
     father, J.P., died in 1999 and was a truck driver for a 
     company called East Tennessee/Western North Carolina--ET-WNC.
       ``We called it `Eat Taters and Wear No Clothes'.''
       When he was little, he spent weekends in Jellico with his 
     grandparents while his mother waited tables in the D&M, which 
     formally stood for Davenport and Miller, but was popularly 
     called the Devil's Mansion. He's the youngest of three 
     children, and Stokes says his family was faring much better 
     financially by the time he hit adolescence.
       ``Jimmy Hoffa negotiated a national contract for the 
     Teamsters, and I was the only kid at home, so I had it a lot 
     easier than my brother and sister. I grew up working-class 
     and that's what we need more of today.''
       So how did this son of a Teamster become a Republican?
       ``You'll have to remember--Hoffa didn't have much use for 
     the Kennedys. A lot of Teamsters were Republicans at that 
     time.''
       After he finished up at Rule, Stokes enrolled in Maryville 
     College to play football, but injured his ``good'' shoulder. 
     He'd already had surgery on his left shoulder after his 
     senior season.
       That forced a decision:
       ``Being short and slow, I decided to quit football and go 
     to UT.''


                             Becoming a cop

       After his Sam & Andy's epiphany, he went back to school 
     full-time, supporting himself by working at the General 
     Products warehouse. He graduated in 1975 with a major in 
     psychology and minors in political science and sociology, and 
     started thinking about what to do next.
       Like so many Lonsdale boys before him, he became a cop.
       Theondrad ``Sarge'' Jackson, a retired sergeant from both 
     the U.S. Army and the Knoxville Police Department and 
     proprietor of Sarge's BBQ on Texas Avenue (famous for its 
     C'mon Back Smoke) helped him get hired under a federal 
     program at KPD. He was there for less than two years when the 
     new safety director decided to eliminate the program.
       ``I got laid off in June of '76 and started law school in 
     September of '76. That's when I met Richard Bean.''
       He counts the director of the Richard Bean Juvenile 
     Detention Center as one of the three most influential men in 
     his life, along with his father and longtime Republican 
     political boss Loy Smith. Two old police officers--Rass 
     Scruggs and Calvin Housewright, recommended that Bean hire 
     Stokes while he was in law school.
       ``I benefitted from the good ol' boy system. I worked 3-11 
     and Juvenile Judge Richard Douglass gave me the key to his 
     office with his law library and I'd sneak over to the court 
     side to study. During finals, Richard would go home and eat 
     supper and then come in and work for me while I'd go sit in 
     the judge's office and study. We were on the quarter system, 
     so we'd go through this every two or three months, and 
     Richard would take care of me because he wanted me to get 
     through law school. We were kindred spirits. I brag about 
     working full-time through law school, but if Richard hadn't 
     helped me, I never could have done it.''
       Stokes got his law degree in 1979 and joined the Army JAG 
     Corps, where he served three years.
       Another thing Bean did for him was to introduce him to Bay 
     Crawford, a schoolteacher from Roanoke who worked at 
     Shannondale Elementary School. They've been married for 33 
     years, have two daughters, three granddaughters and a 
     grandson on the way. They are also active members of Second 
     Presbyterian Church.


                           Entering politics

       Stokes came back home in 1982 and went to work for Bond, 
     Carpenter and O'Connor, and became president of the 5th 
     District Republican Club (at Bean's urging). In 1984, Bean 
     and Loy Smith urged Stokes to run for county GOP chair. He 
     served nearly four years.
       ``It required me to be a lot more partisan than I normally 
     am. I'm an old school conservative and I believe that 
     compromise is not only possible but beneficial. Howard Baker 
     and Bob Dole are my heroes.''
       He has good memories of his two years with Sundquist, 
     particularly of working with leaders of both parties on the 
     1996 Workers Compensation Act, and of taking on the state's 
     tire recycling program. His favorite memory is the time he 
     spent as Tennessee's point person on the Ocoee Olympic events 
     at a time when the Atlanta Olympics committee was considering 
     pulling the plug on kayaking and canoeing.
       He returned to Knoxville in 1997, and two things happened 
     that altered his world:
       Loy Smith died suddenly, and Stokes' law partner, Daryl 
     Fansler, a Democrat, ran for chancellor. Stokes supported 
     Fansler, upsetting many Republicans.

[[Page E551]]

       After Fansler departed for the bench, Stokes put together 
     the highly successful firm that has become Stokes, Williams, 
     Sharp & Davies.
       In 2004, he took on something that he calls ``a serious 
     miscalculation,'' running against state Rep. Jamie Hagood for 
     state Senate and losing badly.
       ``I'd suffered a pretty serious injury the year before in a 
     fall-down, and I decided that life is short and you better 
     grab it fast. I had some people encouraging me, and a lot of 
     great help and I'd always wanted to serve in that capacity.
       ``But I ran an inept campaign. I wish I hadn't gotten beat 
     quite so badly and I let a lot of good people down, but 
     otherwise I've moved on.''
       And then he grinned:
       ``Tim Hutchison got beat worse.''

                          ____________________