MTSU alumna, Rutherford County Schools teacher challenges DesJarlais with 2018 run

Photo Courtesy of Facebook / Mariah Phillips 

Mariah Phillips, a Rutherford County Schools teacher and an MTSU alumna, announced her 2018 congressional run, which will challenge Congressman Scott DesJarlais, who currently serves as a representative for Tennessee’s fourth congressional district.

Phillips earned her master’s degree from David Lipscomb University after earning her bachelor’s degree from MTSU. She currently teaches personal finance, wellness and success skills for service learning at Daniel-McKee Alternative School. During her time at the school, Phillips was named one of Rutherford County’s 2016-17 teachers of the year, and she was recognized as the 2014 Jump$tart Teacher of the Year. She officially filed to run for office on May 8, 2017.

Her competition and Republican congressman, DesJarlais, was first elected in 2010 and is serving his fourth term in office. DesJarlais defeated the Democratic incumbent Lincoln Davis in 2010, after Davis had served as a representative for Tennessee’s fourth congressional district for seven years.

Phillips publically announced her campaign for the first time over Facebook. The announcement came on May 5, a day after the U.S House voted to repeal and replace portions of the Affordable Care Act.

“Yesterday, my representative in Congress voted to pass a bill that will hurt many Tennessee families,” Phillips said in the Facebook post. “I know the members in Congress who voted for this bill do not represent my values or the values of the people I talk to in Middle Tennessee. Support Representatives that stand for you, your family, and your health.”

DesJarlais was one of the seven Republican Tennessee representatives who voted for the legislation.

Sidelines reached out to Phillips for comment on her upcoming campaign, but she stated that she will not be making any official statements to the press until the summer when her campaign will be fully organized.

Phillips is also a trainee in an organization called Emerge Tennessee, which is a “premier campaign-training program for Democratic women in the state,” according to the Emerge Tennessee website.

The website also states that Emerge Tennessee is a 70-hour training program designed to “address the extra challenges that women face in the political arena.”

“Our mission is clear: We recruit, train and inspire women to run for office on every level,” said Emerge Tennessee Executive Director Kristal Knight. “Emerge Tennessee’s program includes 70 hours of intensive training on how to be the best candidate possible. Emerge works. The national success rate is 70 percent.”

Knight also stated that the Emerge Network had recently been selected by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as one of the top priorities for Clinton’s new political organization Onward Together.

“Just as (Clinton) is with us, we are with women who are stepping up for the communities they live, work and play in,” Knight said.

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email

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  1. […] MTSU alumna, Rutherford County Schools teacher challenges DesJarlais with 2018 run […]

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