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Hawkins County Commission District 7: Two GOP incumbents facing three challengers in primary

April 30th, 2014 5:48 pm by Jeff Bobo

Hawkins County Commission District 7: Two GOP incumbents facing three challengers in primary

With no Democrats running for Hawkins County Commission in District 7 the election will be determined in the May 6 primary among the five Republicans on the ballot.

Those candidates include incumbents Robert "Bob" Palmer and Charlie Newton; and challengers Carl "Ketron" Bailey, Fred Grillot, and Michael Herrell.

Each candidate was asked the same five questions: 1. Why did you decide to run for this office, and if you are an incumbent, why are you seeking reelection. 2. What is your employment and educational background, and does your past job and education help prepare your for the duties of the elected office you seek. If yes, how? 3. If elected, what would be your top goals and priorities for the full term of your office? 4. Why are you the best candidate for your office? 5. Talk to the voters and tell them why you deserve their vote.

Those who replied to the questionnaire have their answers posted below the video in alphabetical order. The video is from the March 25 Hawkins County GOP candidate forum in Surgoinsville.

Carl "Ketron" Bailey

After looking over the last eight years of how much money has been spent with no accountability and the embarrassment of the decision making of our county commission, I feel like the people of Hawkins County have been left out of the decision making and I want to bring back local government to the people because it is their money and they should know how it is being spent and the taxpayers should get the most for their tax dollar. Also I was asked by several people to run.

Education, Walter State Community College, business and management.Manager of Hunt-Wesson Fleet for Crete Carrier Trucking Corporation. Other management positions in manufacturing industry. "Plain common sense."

Top goals or priorities: Manage spending. Make every office accountable for their spending. Education. Grow our tax base through industry and business. Give the voters of Hawkins County back their voice in government.

I was raised in politics as I watched my father as a county commissioner and because I will not be "one of the good old boys" who goes along with everything go. I will speak loud and get my district plus other districts involved with what is going on. I believe we should open up Hawkins County web site so every citizen in Hawkins County can see how their money is being spent on a monthly basis. I believe in keeping them informed on what is coming up on the agenda. Because I am a manager and held responsible for what I do, I know what it takes to hold people responsible.

I will give voters of my district back their county commission seat as I will vote the way they say vote and not the way I think I should vote. I will be available 24/7 not only to citizens of 7th district but to all of Hawkins County. If you want a leader who is authoritative and will bring the agenda to the voters and listen to the voters.

Fred Grillot:

I have attended County Commission Meetings regularly for the past 2 1/2 years. I noticed that spending bills often passed without serious debate and an inordinate amount of time was spent on trivial and personal items. There were issues and questions I felt that were never asked or never discussed. I feel that I could add a different perspective from the "group think" that often seems to occur.

I have a degree in Finance and Economics from Syracuse University but I received a greater learning experience in dealing with businesses and regulators from my tenure in Bank Management. They plan for several years in advance and not just for the present time. They also have more effective controls than exist currently. There have been several instances of unauthorized spending initiated by individuals with no authority which put the County at risk. In any well run organization these individuals would be terminated and or held responsible.

Top goals and priorities: First and foremost to slow the level of spending by our County. Secondly, to give the people a voice. Currently the citizens that the politicians are asking for a vote cannot speak at the Commission Meetings without a Commissioners permission. They have no input into how their hared earned money is spent at the Budget Session. Thirdly, not only speaking for them but listening to the people of the 7th District. I will always explain my position, not bowing to political expediency.

I can only offer my knowledge and experience and dedication to be effective.

I am the only Candidate to put a "NO TAX INCREASE PLEDGE" in writing. I am the only non-incumbent Candidate that bothered to show up at all the Commission Meetings. If other people are concerned about what is happening, where have they been?

For the last 2 1/2 years I have put in the effort to study the issues that have come before the County Commission. There are two models of government financing that are at play here. The first parallels the Federal government model of continual increased spending, leaving the future generations to pay. The second model is how the State of Tennessee and the average citizen must budget their spending based on their income. This election will allow people to choose which model we will use going forward.

The County's spending has gone up over 12% every year. If all the people whose personal income had gone up by a similar amount vote for the status quo and all those that haven't had a similar increase vote for me, I would feel confident in the outcome. That is why a vote for me is "a choice not an echo." I base my Candidacy on that one simple premise.

Michael Harrell:

I have lived in Hawkins County for over 20 years. My wife and I are raising our children here. Now that the kids are moving into their teen years, I'm starting to look forward at what Hawkins County will be able to offer them and I don't feel confident about what I see. I decided that it's time for me to work towards providing more opportunities and a better quality of life here.

I grew up on a working farm in Hancock County and attended high school there. After graduation,

I obtained my machine tool sciences certification from Tennessee College of Applied Technology and went to work at TRW Automotive. I have been with TRW for 25 years. Throughout that time,

I continued my industrial science education at Northeast State, completed my apprenticeship through the US Department of Labor for Journeyman certification, and managed to open my own business. I've also been very involved in the community and served as Regional Commissioner for the local American Youth Soccer Organization for six years. I think my combined experience has given me some insight as to fiscal management and economic growth. I know the importance of hard work and a balanced budget. I've also learned how to balance different points of view in order to get things done and meet the needs of clients or participants.

Additionally, I am a TSSAA certified official and have attended a few county meetings where I thought my ability to manage conflict, maintain order and blow a whistle might have been useful.

My top priority will be to give a voice to my district, promote public trust and foster strong communication between my area and the Commission. This means being accessible to constituents, welcoming and respecting their input, and trying to effectively address their issues.

My areas of concern as a commissioner would be to maintain a good level of services without increasing the tax burden on citizens. In my opinion, this means promoting economic growth and job creation and ensuring that we have the skilled labor market, services and infrastructure necessary to support that growth. It also means making the most of the resources we have available and promoting ourselves as a "great place to locate." Of course, no candidate for commission could promise to make all of this happen singlehandedly, so my first goal would be to develop a good relationship with the citizens and other state, federal and local officials so we can move Hawkins County forward in those areas.

I am willing to work hard for my district and the future of Hawkins County. I won't be an expert about every issue that comes before the commission, but I'm willing to learn, research, and seek input. All constituents would have an open ear. Also, my wife is a retired reporter and tends to have some strong opinions about the role of the local government, it's obligation to citizens and the need for transparency. I'm guessing I'll be held to a higher standard than most commissioners and will do a good job or be in the doghouse.

I work every day. I have a family. I own property and a business here. I drive the same roads. I send my children to the same schools. And I hate to see the tax bill come in the mail just like anyone else. I completely understand that the actions of local government have an impact in all areas of our lives. I want to do my best to make sure that impact is a positive one.

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