Tammy Cheek News Herald
turned out Thursday to hear from candidates seeking county seats
when Tellico Village HomeOwners Association (HOA) sponsored a
Meet the Candidates event at Tellico Village Community Church.
Residents crowded into the church's Christian Life Center, some
already wearing political buttons and stickers supporting their
candidates of choice while others milled around candidates'
tables offering buttons, brochures and other items. The first 30
minutes or so of the event provided residents and all candidates
seeking county officers with the opportunity to chat. There were
even refreshments made available to everyone who attended.
Because of the sheer number of candidates, the HOA focused on
only three races - general sessions judge, sheriff and county
mayor. Facing Villagers in the audience, those candidates
fielded questions presented by moderator Karen Brown.
In the county mayor's race, candidates, Glen J. Hagerman,
Estelle Herron, Mark Matlock, Van Shaver and Matt Brookshire
answered what they intend to do to revive the public's trust in
the county mayor's office.
Matt Brookshire, who is currently mayor of Lenoir City, said he
would get citizens more involved in government. "Look at my
record," he said, noting he hasn't always done things that are
popular because they were best for the city. "It's not my
government, it's government," he said. "One of the things I have
done is to involve people more and ask them to serve in various
Hagerman said he would ensure there were no secrets. "What you
see is what you get," he said. He offered town hall meetings as
one vehicle toward that openness.
Herron agreed transparency and accountability are
necessary. "I've always been honest and upfront," she said,
adding she agrees with the town hall meetings.
"If it takes going out into the community to keep people
educated, I'm all for it," she said.
Matlock noted a person's reputation is the key. "One thing that
travels with you is reputation," he said and added he believes
in service-style leadership.
Shaver quoted Thomas' Paine's "That government is best which
governs least." Shaver said he supports less government
intervention to bring honesty and openness to government.
Another concern was "aging in place," in which senior citizens
can live independently in their own homes. Brown asked what the
candidates would do, if elected, to help develop programs for
"aging in place." All candidates agreed on the importance of
helping the elderly."We need to protect our citizens," Hagerman
Brookshire agreed and noted the county has existing programs
available that could be utilized. "I'm a firm believer in
helping to take care of the elderly," Herron said. Depending on
the cost, she said she would do all she could to help.
Matlock noted while not everything can be funded, public and
private partnerships may help bring about some programs.
Shaver asserted he thinks the best way to help senior citizens
is to keep their expenses - property taxes - down. "One way to
boot seniors out of their homes is to keep raising taxes," he
said. "We all want to keep our homes. We need to listen to
approaches and take it to the county commission."
The final question for county mayor candidates is how they
propose to bring in more revenues for the county.
Herron supported looking at tourism and seeing what the county
is doing to make it more appealing and to get folks back to
Matlock, a developer himself, promotes more business
development. "Loudon County is easy to sell," he said. "We need
to work with them (businesses) and encourage them to be here. We
need a proactive stand, not reactive."
Shaver said there needs to be a balance of growth (industries
and businesses) and control of government spending. With growth
in industries, he warned, however, the county needs to be
careful of which industries it attracts.
Brookshire agreed and said the county needs to look at "quality"
development. He said he also supports encouraging tourism,
finding new ways to market vacant properties and taking care of
county finances. One way, he said, is by more aggressively going
after grant programs.
Hagerman supported taking care of the businesses and industries
the county already has.
Running for general sessions judge are Kimberlee Waterhouse,
Mary Longworth, Lee Ledbetter, Robert Hinton and Rex Dale. They
answered their solution to the general sessions court's delays
All candidates said they were not in favor of unnecessary
Dale said he is against unnecessary continuances, adding they
work a hardship on everyone involved.
Likewise, Hinton said lawyers need to be prepared as they go
into court. He said a judge should "hold their feet to the fire
and move it (proceedings) along."
Ledbetter said a scheduling system should be followed so the
judge is more aware of how a case is proceeding and so the
docket is more efficient.
Longworth said while some continuances are understandable but at
the same time, the continuances can be frustrating. She also
encourages "moving things along."
Waterhouse said she is "not in favor of wasting time and
resources." She agreed scheduling needs to be done more
The candidates for judge were also asked about their stand on
offenses involving children. Hinton said parents should be held
more accountable for their children's actions.
"I will make parents accountable for their children's actions,"
he assured. Ledbetter said the juvenile court does have a
mentoring program. She advocated getting more citizens involved
as mentors in that program.
Longworth agreed there needs to be more community involvement
and quoted "It takes a village to raise a child."
Waterhouse said she thinks there needs to be more appropriate
supervision of children. "I don't care if it's a juvenile or an
adult committing a crime, I'm against it," Dale said. At the
same time, he said a judge needs to weigh all the factors
involved. He advocated strictness on parents tempered with mercy
In the sheriff's race, incumbent Tim Guider and his challenger
Steven Cook, were asked about the presence of patrol cars in the
"I don't think you have enough officers in the Village," Cook
replied. He insisted there were too many officers sitting in the
office when they could be out in the communities, patrolling.
Guider explained several years ago, the sheriff's office had a
contract with the Property Owners Association (POA) in which the
POA helped pay for four officers to patrol the Village. He said
that agreement worked OK until costs rose and the POA pulled its
funding. The Village then became a zone, like other communities
in the county. "We treated the Village like everyone else,'
Guider said. "We try to be fair. I think we have been."
Cook and Guider were asked how they would use the Village's COPS
Cook said he thinks the county needs to enhance the COPS program
to provide a better check on the elderly. "I believe we can get
a lot more patrol with COPS," he said.
Guider said the COPS program has been a benefit to the
Village. "We're not getting as many calls," he noted.
Another question before sheriff's candidates was the enforcement
of the speed limits.
Guider said since Highway 444 is a state road he uses the
resources of the Tennessee Highway Patrol to issue tickets to
those violating the speed limits.
Cook agreed with using the THP and said citizens can also
prosecute speeders. "If you see a car speeding, you can get
their tag number and prosecute," he said.
Finally, the candidates were asked what improvements they could
make to the sheriff's budget. Cook said he hasn't seen the
budget yet. Guider said his stand is to stay in budget and
"continue to live within our means."