Songwriter Lee Thomas Miller is officially entering the race for the District 7 House seat that has been held by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn for nearly 20 years.

Miller announced his candidacy in a press release on Tuesday morning. Miller is one of the country music industry’s top songwriters, having penned songs for Brad Paisley, Jamey Johnson and Tim McGraw.

“I’ve been writing the stories of real Americans for as long as I can remember,” Miller said in a press release. “Stories about life and loss. Love and regret. Songs about innocence and youth. Songs about faith and the struggle to keep it. I give a voice to those who can not find the words they are looking for. I give a voice to those who are not being heard.”

Miller will bank his campaign on two strategic advantages. He is a political outsider, as this is his first bid for public office. And he is a Williamson County resident.

The district encompasses the wealthy Nashville suburban county.

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His campaign press release touted the roles Miller and his wife Jana Miller played with a group called Praying Parents, who gathered in 2006 to “pray for the children, the teachers and the Lord’s protection over the elementary school their kids attended.” 

The Praying Parents beat back a bid by the American Civil Liberties Union to halt their meetings, according to the press release.

Though Miller is running for office for the first time, he isn’t exactly a political neophyte. As president of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, Miller has been exposed to the politics of Washington D.C. NSAI is one of the leading advocates for music copyright reform and Miller has testified twice before Congress on the issue.

Music Row leaders circulated a letter in recent weeks pushing Miller to run for the seat Blackburn has held since 1999. Blackburn, who is running for the U.S. Senate, has pushed several NSAI initiatives in Congress over the years.

In addition to religious liberties, Miller also listed meat-and-potato Republican issues such as pro-life, cutting taxes and regulations and securing borders as stances he supports.

State Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, is also seeking the Republican nomination for the seat. Democrat Justin Kanew, a film writer and producer from Williamson County, has also launched a campaign.

Reach Nate Rau at 615-259-8094 and nrau@tennessean.com. Follow him on Twitter @tnnaterau.

 

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