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.

 


 



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report: ADAMS, JARRETT LEE  8219 CICERO TRAIL CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION COMMUNITY SUPERVISION FOR LIFE --- AKE, NAOMI MICHELLE  7321 SOUTH PITTSBUGH MOUNTAIN ROAD S. PITTSBURG, 37380  Age at Arrest: 41 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck On Highway 58 At Oakwood Drive On Tuesday Night

A pedestrian was struck on Highway 58 on Tuesday night. The incident happened around 7 p.m. at the intersection with Oakwood Drive. A Taco Bell is nearby. An ambulance was at the scene. (click for more)

Current Republican Tax Plan Will Add To The National Debt

Independent tax experts agree that the Republican tax plan will add over $1 trillion to the national debt, even accounting for economic growth.  Adding to the national debt during good economic times doesn’t seem smart to me. The time for adding anything to the national debt is during a major war or when the economy needs more government spending to stimulate it during a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s Focus On ‘Better’

As I stepped away from the overflow crowd at Monday night’s Town Council meeting on Signal Mountain, I leaned in to tell Jean Trohanis how sorry I was to hear of the loss of her dearest friend. But in that millisecond before I could speak, the former but still-loved elementary school principal gave me her best hallway hiss and, with a pointed finger, she ordered, “You be nice!” ... (click for more)

Hayes Surpasses 1,000 Points As Lady Canes Beat Walker Valley 54-43

East Hamilton sophomore Madison Hayes scored 17 points in a 54-43 victory at Walker County in Cleveland on Tuesday night and pushed her career scoring past the 1,000-point mark in the process. Hayes scored a team-high 19 points Friday in a 52-40 victory over Notre Dame in the East-West Classic, giving her 996 points in her career, including eighth-grade and freshman seasons ... (click for more)

McMinn County Slaps Soddy-Daisy With Two 5-3A Losses

McMinn County roared into Soddy-Daisy on Tuesday night and blasted the Trojans and Lady Trojans lop-sided victories in District 5-3A high school basketball action. The Cherokees (3-5, 3-0) blitzed the Trojans (3-5, 1-2) early to build a 26-14 halftime lead, built a 20-point lead and cruised to an impressive 58-30 victory. The earlier game was even more one-sided as the ... (click for more)