2 Announce For 21st

At Monday's Loudon County Republican Women's picnic, both former Loudon County Property Assessor and one term county mayor, Doyle Arp and Lenoir City mayor, Tony Aikens announced they would be running for the 21st district state representative seat currently held by Jimmy Matlock. Matlock is running for the 2nd congressional district.

73 year old Arp held the assessor's office for more than twenty years when he ran for county mayor in 2006. Shortly after winning the mayor's race, Arp fell under investigation by the district attorney's office and the TBI for illegal activity while he was property assessor. Arp was accused of "developer discounting", a practice of giving developers discounted property tax rates. Arp allegedly gave now defunct developer, Mike Ross of rarity fame, special low rates on the property he owned in Rarity Bay. The investigation ultimately ended when investigators reported the statute of limitations had run out on Arp's activities. Arp did not seek re-election to the mayor's office.

Aikens, 59, began his political career as a Lenoir City councilman later winning the mayor's seat. Aikens also served as chief deputy for the Loudon County sheriff's department for many years.

In the most recent controversy, Mayor Aikens was the driving force to pass the Rain Tax scam on Lenoir City residents, businesses, churches and nonprofits.

Last year, Lenoir City council made the mayor's position full time and added a $68,000 salary to go with the job. According to Aikens, he can run for and even hold the 21st district house seat and continue as the Lenoir City mayor. Lenoir City Councilman, Eddie Simpson suggested that if Mayor Aikens were to become a state legislator, he may need to take a leave of absence while the legislature was in session.

State legislator's salaries can run to $35,000 or more per year.

This would be the second time Arp and Aikens have faced off in an election. In 2006, Arp, Aikens and myself ran for county mayor with Arp coming out on top in that race.

There are still many months till the deadline to file to run for the 21st district seat. Others may yet get into the race. The 21st district encompasses most of Loudon County and Monroe County.  

As a footnote, Mayor Aikens also introduced the picnic goers Monday to his fiancÚ, Lee Allison Ledbetter. Congratulations to them.