Candidates At Nightside Pachyderm Forum Against New Taxes, Domestic Partners Benefits

Friday, February 28, 2014 - by Hollie Webb
From left are John Shackleford of the Nightside Pachyderm, Randy Fairbanks, Perry Perkins, Curtis Adams, Sabrena Turner, Tim Boyd and Phil Smartt
From left are John Shackleford of the Nightside Pachyderm, Randy Fairbanks, Perry Perkins, Curtis Adams, Sabrena Turner, Tim Boyd and Phil Smartt
- photo by Hollie Webb

At an open forum hosted by the Nightside Pachyderm Club, the candidates running for positions on the Hamilton County Commission agreed that they were against new taxes, forced annexation and domestic partner benefits.

Randy Fairbanks, running against Commission Chairman Fred Skillern for the District 1 position, said he was a UTC graduate and an accountant. He told the crowd he had been involved in Republican politics since the early 1990s.

He said if elected he wanted to get out into the community and be a commissioner that people could talk to.

When asked if he would support a tax increase to fund projects put forward by the School Board, he said he was not in favor of any tax increase. He said, "You have to live within your means."

When asked what he had done to fight annexation, he said he did not have any experience living in an area that had fought annexation.

He was also asked if he would support same-sex benefits. He said he would not for religious reasons.

The next three candidates, Perry Perkins, Sabrena Turner and Phil Smartt, are all running for the District 7 position.

Mr. Perkins opened, saying, "We've all pledged to run a good, clean campaign." He said, if elected, he wanted to focus on "making sure people want to move to Chattanooga when they graduate from school." He also said he wanted students who graduated from Chattanooga schools to be able to find good-paying jobs here without having to go to Nashville or Atlanta.

When asked about increasing taxes, he said he believed every commissioner would face that battle soon. He said, "We have to support those schools," but told the audience money should be raised through growth and not tax increases.

He said he believed annexation could be fought more at the state level than local level but that he was against it.

As for same-sex benefits, he said, "I will never vote for anything against the Tennessee state law. Tennessee state law says that marriage is between a man and a woman."

He closed, saying, "It comes down to leadership, having a vision for this county. I can reach out to people with different ideas from different walks of life."

Phil Smartt started, "I believe in the values the Republican Party stands for." He said he had been a manager on the Reagan campaign and involved on the Romney campaign.

He said he believed that one of the keys to solving the crime problem was strong and traditional families.

When asked about taxes for education, he said, "I don't think at the present time there's need for a tax increase. I think there are other ways this can be done." He said since all of his children had attended Hamilton County schools, he had also had experience with the public school system.

He said he was against annexation and same-sex benefits. He said, "I'm against domestic partners. I'm totally opposed to it, I think it's wrong."

He said, "I'm the best qualified not only because I've served in small business for 38 years, but also because I've served in government and I know how government works."

Sabrena Turner, running against Mr. Perkins and Mr. Smartt, described herself as a small business owner who had worked on building lasting relationships with the people of District 7.

She said leadership was needed to keep the county growing. She said, "I want to look out for Hamilton County as a whole."

As for the annexation question, she disagreed with her opponents. She said, "I'm going to disagree with Mr. Perkins, it is fought on the local level. I've done it, filed lawsuits, and stopped it."

She also said she would never vote in favor of same-sex benefits and said she would only support a tax increase "if it were a dire emergency and there were no other options."

She said, "It's time for a new generation to lead."

Currently, there is also a three-way race in District 8 on the Republican side. Current Commissioner Tim Boyd is running for re-election against former Commissioner Curtis Adams and East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert.

Commissioner Boyd described himself as an entrepreneur and businessman who got into politics four years ago. He said since he had become a commissioner, he has worked to develop literacy and alternative sentencing programs with high success rates.

When asked about taxes, he said, "We do not need new taxes in Hamilton County at this time." He said the revenue coming into the county had increased, as had the fund balance.

He gave a solution to the issue of same-sex benefits. He said no one but the employee should be covered and if they wanted to bring someone else into the plan, they should have to pay the premium. He also said he did not support annexation.

As he closed, he said, "I'm a very analytic person. I represent the people. I'm not there to make a lot of friends. I ask the tough questions."

Curtis Adams, who previously was elected six times to the County Commission, said he used to be called the "Education Commissioner" because of his work to improve Hamilton County Schools.

He said, "We need to put our muscle into the schools that are weakest and help them get what they need."

He suggested a $25 wheel tax as an alternative to other tax increases to fund the school system. When asked about annexation, he said, "I think anybody would be crazy to want to be annexed." Like the others, he was also adamantly opposed to same-sex benefits as well.

He said, "I believe the reason I was elected six times for County Commissioner was because I did a good job." He also said he "tried to look after the little things about people, such as looking out for senior citizens."

He joked, "I didn't read anything in the Bible where it mentions retirement."

East Ridge Mayor Lambert said he was a "lifelong resident of the area and a lifelong Republican." He also said he was serving his sixth year on the East Ridge City Council.

He said, "I want to improve economic development in District 8." He also said if elected, he would work to create "stronger schools."

Mr. Lambert had to leave before he could answer any other questions, but he said he was also against annexation.

 


 


22 County Mayors Across East Tennessee Endorse Randy Boyd For Governor

Randy Boyd announced Wednesday that nearly two dozen county mayors from across East Tennessee have endorsed and are already working in support of his Republican campaign for governor.   Mr. Boyd is the only gubernatorial candidate from East Tennessee. More than 40 percent of the projected 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary vote is expected to come from East Tennessee.  ... (click for more)

Former Corrections Officer Arrested, Charged In TBI Misconduct Case

Special agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for a former Clay County corrections officer accused of inappropriately touching an inmate. At the request of 19 th  District Attorney General John Carney, TBI agents began investigating Spencer Mason, on March 9. During the course of the investigation, agents developed information that, ... (click for more)

Life For Our Ancestors In 1890

May 26-27 is the 1890’s Day Jamboree in Ringgold. I encourage any reader to attend and enjoy that wonderful community. I love having grown up in Northwest Georgia and celebrating our veterans, including both of my grandfathers who served in WWII.  But I also want to describe how the 1890’s were for my ancestors, living here in a singularly turbulent time. Based on, among ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Life With 007

I was 13 when the first of 24 James Bond movies came out and, at a time when my sap was just beginning to rise, I will never forget Ursula Andress stepping out of the sea wearing that white bikini. Our hero walks over to the dripping Honey Ryder – that was her name in “Dr. No” – and she says in the Swiss accent, “Are you looking for shells too?” And the first classic reply of thousands ... (click for more)

Baylor Gets Offensive In Softball Win Over St. Benedict

MURFREESBORO – The two-time Division II defending state softball champion Baylor looks ready to challenge for another title. The Lady Red Raiders spotted St. Benedict an unearned run in the first inning, but came back strong to prevail by a 12-1 final in six innings. Wednesday’s win, Baylor’s 25 th against three losses, sets up a winners bracket final with arch-rival GPS, ... (click for more)

GPS Erupts To Blast Briarcrest, 10-0, In D-II Softball

MURFREESBORO – The GPS softball team seemed to be in some kind of lethargic funk at the start of their game with the Briarcrest Lady Saints, but they finally got their act together in time for a 10-0 six-inning win in the opening round of the Division II state softball tournament at Starplex Field No. 3 Tuesday evening. The Bruisers had cruised to a doubleheader sweep of Harpeth ... (click for more)