by Joe Kirkpatrick
Last month, I made a "contradictory error" of sorts in my column. The theme of my article was I usually always vote for the incumbent if they have done at least a decent job, since they have to run on their record instead of being able to make possibly an unsubstantiated campaign promise they may or may not be able to fulfill.
To be honest, I was mainly centering my column around the county mayor's race, the trustee's race, and the register of deeds race. I had a few inches of column to fill, so I had some notes on the various County Commission races, so I wrote a couple of things about the 7th district commission race. In my statement, I said I thought Mike Plumley, and Lindsey Hathcock would make good commissioners, since Mike has made good decisions in the past, and Lindsey, though not on the commission now, was previously a commissioner and made what I considered to be good choices.
In my notes, I erroneously thought Mike Plumley was the only incumbent. I had mistakenly failed to see that Mark Hall is also an incumbent in that district, and in my opinion, has had a good voting record as well. I do want to go on record stating no one called and complained about me not listing Mr. Hall as an incumbent. I realized it before our paper came out on the stands, but it was too late for me to change it. To be fair, I decided to send all five commissioner candidates from the 7th district a questionnaire and one question to answer. They all received the same survey and question:
1. If you are presently serving on the commission, why should you be elected?
(Please limit your answer to 125 words or less.)
2. If you are not presently serving on the commission, why should voters choose you over the two present commissioners that are running for re-election? (Please limit your answer to 125 words or less.)
3. We are in difficult times. If there is a budget shortfall, would you vote to eliminate the various county recreation parks programs in lieu of raising taxes? Please answer A or B with no elaboration.
The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.
Floyd Clevenger (challenger) - Mr. Clevenger was given an opportunity but did not participate.
Mark Hall (Incumbent) - In 2006, I was elected to serve and represent the citizens of the 7th District. My enthusiasm and strong work ethic has never changed. After serving in the United States Marine Corp, I have dedicated my life to serving our community. As a small business owner, being accessible and in touch with the hardworking people of Bradley County has been my focus. As co-Chairman for the SE Tennessee Veterans home, I have worked closely with both city and county officials. Building better working relationships and being a strong advocate for Senior Citizens and Veterans has been my passion. There is still work to be done. I look forward to embracing the opportunity to see the community grow. I promise to serve with integrity, honesty, fairness and will strive to honor and respect our county, community, and commission.
(Note - Mr. Hall did not provide an answer to question #3)
Lindsay Hathcock (challenger) - With my desire to serve and a track record of success of not only accomplishments but also this being done within the limits of budget constraints. Many projects are worthwhile, but only so many can be funded with public money. As chairman of prior Bradley County Commissions I instituted the regular "breaking of bread" with Cleveland officials which in turn led to more productive meetings with the Chamber, Hospital, Nursing home, Sheriff's office, Education and other Government members as well. I also think it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. That even with strong emotions and viewpoints that other people may have the same intensity with another outlook and that is winning and finding common ground and working together to accomplish goals.
Mr. Hathcock's answer to Question 3: A
Michael Plumley (Incumbent) - Mr. Plumley was given an opportunity but did not participate.
Bill Winters (Challenger) - My credentials of public service, board memberships, and administrative responsibilities will allow me to offer a fresh perspective on the Bradley County Commission. I served eight years as the Lee University Student Aid Director and sat on the Administrative Council. I served with distinction as a member and chairman of the Bradley County Board of Education, during which time I received the honor of membership on the All Tennessee School Board. I have been the Assistant Principal and Principal of Bradley Junior High/Ocoee Middle School. My goal was to help create the "Dream," promote the "Dream," and build the Team that made the Dream work in each venue.
I am not "against" any of the fine candidates vying for this office; I am an alternative with a solid background in resolving issues.
(In reference to Question #3, Mr. Winters wrote a narrative instead of answering A or B, so in fairness to the other candidates, his answer will not be printed.
There you have it - I goofed, I have tried to make it right. It is now up to the voters of the 7th district to make two choices from these men.