2 incumbents voted off school board

Staff Report-News-Herald
A little more than 6,000 Loudon County residents voted to remove two incumbents from the Loudon County Board of Education on Thursday, while one incumbent fended off three challengers to keep his seat.

District 1, Seat A challenger Kenny Ridings won with 452 votes to incumbent Bill Marcus' 360. Challenger Ken Hupp came in third with 286 votes. In the Greenback district, Phil Moffett defeated Michael Phillips by garnering more than 65 percent of the vote. Lisa Russell did not seek re-election.

District 5, Seat A incumbent Gary Ubben held onto his seat with more than 38 percent of the vote, besting challengers Freddie Walker, Brian Brown and Teresa Karimian.

Seat B challenger and political newcomer Jeremy Buckles defeated Van Shaver in a closely contested race. Buckles received 792 votes to Shaver's 753.

"I actually wasn't that surprised," Buckles said. "We visited thousands of residents in the 5th District and talked to many, many people, and it had become apparent that many were ready for a change and new leadership. I'm proud and honored that they chose and elected me for that position."

He said he gave a lot of thought to running for the seat, but in the end was motivated to take the next step.

"I really felt that I was being really pulled that I should do that and went ahead and ran, and it's been such a rewarding experience," Buckles said.

Buckles said that when he takes his seat on the board, he would first focus on developing friendships and working relationships with the other board members. He said he would work to continue Director of Schools Jason Vance's vision for education in Loudon County.

"I think that as a board we need to continue to look at Jason's mission of taking Loudon County Schools from good to great and work with that and try to budget responsibly," Buckles said.

Current school board Chairman Scott Newman, Loudon, and member Craig Simon, Tellico Village, ran unopposed.

Ridings and Ubben could not be reached for comment.

In state congressional races, Kent Calfee defeated Julia Hurley of Loudon County defeated in the 32nd district by a margin of about 1,500 votes. Hurley could not be reached for comment.

Lenoir City voters also weighed in on a couple amendment questions. On the first questions, residents voted against an amendment to change the recorder/treasurer position from elected to appointed. The "no" vote won by 53.88 percent. About 53 percent of residents voted to change the mayor's term from two to four years.

Voter turnout was about 20 percent, which is similar to the last comparable election in August 2008.