State Sen. Jerry Tillman, who represents Guilford and Randolph counties, announced his resignation from the Senate on Thursday, June 17.
Tillman represented District 26, which includes all of Randolph County and the southwestern corner of Guilford County, including a good bit of High Point.
Tillman was running for a 10th term and is currently on the ballot for the November election. With Tillman’s resignation, the Republican Party will pick a candidate to replace him on the ballot.
Tillman was first elected to the Senate 18 years ago after long career in education, where he served as teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent. Because of his background, he was considered one of the Senate’s leaders on education issues and served as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education as well as serving as chair of the Senate Finance Committee and majority whip.
While serving in the Republican majority, Tillman was instrumental in overhauling the pay scale for teachers and principals and providing teachers with the third-highest raises in the country over the past five years.
Tillman is known as lover of baseball and when he is not on the floor of the Senate wears a baseball cap most of the time. It makes it easy to pick him out of a crowd of men in dark suits, because usually he’s the only one wearing a baseball cap. A lot of his Senate colleagues call him “Coach.”
In the press release announcing his decision, Tillman said, “It has been a pleasure serving the people that I have been so honored to represent over the years. My greatest joy in serving has always come from helping people with their everyday needs.”
President Pro Tem Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, “Jerry has been a leader in the Senate and a fierce advocate for his constituents. Oftentimes, after a long day of work, I’d find Jerry sitting outside my office ready to go to battle over some provision that he wanted for his district. He’s left his mark on the Senate and our state, and I wish him the best in this next chapter.”
In the current legislative session, Guilford County has two of the Senate majority whips, Tillman and Sen. Rick Gunn (R-Alamance and Guilford). After serving 10 years, Gunn is not running for reelection and now, with Tillman announcing his retirement, Guilford will have two freshman senators in their places next session.
Sen. Jerry Tillman is the father of Guilford County Board of Education member Pat Tillman.