Stacey Campfield, Tennessee State Senator for the seventh district of Tennessee, says he's "just a regular guy."
Born and raised in Vestal, N.Y., Campfield spent his summers in Tennessee and fell in love with the geography and the people. His passion for politics began when Campfield volunteered to campaign for the Bush presidential campaign in 2000. Soon he was running for office himself.
Making his first foray into politics in 2004, Campfield was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives, henceforth establishing a name for himself as a radically conservative force in Tennessee and across the United States.
Born in 1968, Campfield holds a bachelor's degree in Management from Excelsior College (formally known as Regents College), an Associate's Degree from Broome Community College and another Associates degree in marketing from Excelsior College, formerly known as Regents College. Campfield also taught jiu-jitsu and martial arts at UT.
During Campfield's four years serving as senator, he has created and sponsored a number of controversial bills, eliciting both support and outrage. Campfield, however, remains unconcerned by his growing reputation.
"People have said everything under the sun,"Campfield said during a phone interview on Feb. 4. "I've been called every name in the book, trust me, you have to have thick skin to be in this business. I guess I have it because it doesn't really bother me."
In 2013, Campfield created Senate Bill 0132, which proposed the reduction of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families payments by 30 percent should the children of families receiving TANF benefits fail to make "satisfactory academic progress."
Opponents quickly renamed it the "Starve Our Children," bill, spurring criticism across Tennessee. The bill was dropped after Aamira Fetuga, an 8-year-old Tennessee student, followed Campfield around Capitol Hill for a day, questioning him about the bill and presenting a petition against it.
"That bill really did not tie a child's grades to welfare benefits," Campfield said. "It was all tied to parental involvement. I don't think it's too much to say, if your kid is failing every single class, that a parent should show up to at least two parent conferences a year to get the money.
"I don't think that's some incredibly hard bar to reach."
The written bill did not comment on parental involvement.
Campfield admits the legislation he supports often draws attacks from media outlets.
"A lot of times, the media would get in front of me and get a hold of something and name something terribly that had absolutely nothing to do with the legislation I'm trying to bring," Campfield said.
But the senator has released bills garnering wide bipartisan support. Currently, Campfield is working on a bill that would close a loophole in an existing copyright bill and expand music digital performance royalties to include songs created before 1972.
Campfield utilizes his blog Camp4u to communicate directly with his constituents and avoid media interference.
"We are having a war with the media, and a lot of it is ideological," Campfield said. "I always said the Internet is going to be a change for the conservative movement because it's our avenue to get out our point of view without the media."
Campfield's grammatical and spelling mishaps, however, are an admitted fault.
"If you are a second grade English teacher, don't look at my blog," Campfield said. "If you are a 'grammar Nazi' forget it. Save yourself the heartache and headache. Your head will explode reading my blog."
Claiming he has solely witnessed improvements in Tennessee during his time in the senate, Campfield cited dramatically improved education rankings, rising as the number one state for new business and becoming one of the best retirement states in the nation.
"For me, it's never been about being in politics, its more about pushing the things that I believe and the things I think are right for my city, my state, and my country," Campfield said. "I love Tennessee. I love the people. I love the environment."
To learn about other bills Campfield has sponsored, click here.