Experience: a plus or minus for new mayor

Sandra ClarkKarns/Hardin Valley

“Experience matters,” said Brad Anders, seeking votes in the May 1 Republican Primary to be Knox County’s next mayor. “Knox County is almost an $800 million business. There’s no time to sit and learn.” He cited his service on Knox County Commission since 2008, including two stints as chair.

Glenn Jacobs said, “I bring a new perspective. … I have no experience in government, but I have seen the enormous burden of taxes on small businesses. … I’m tired of politics as usual. Knox County is a great place; we can make it even better if we keep government out of the way. Government is not the solution to problems. Government is the problem.”

Bob Thomas cited his business experience, saying, “In every job I’ve ever had, my performance mattered.” He cited his record of leadership back to 1975 when, “I started the Knoxville Christmas Parade.” Thomas has represented all of Knox County as an at-large commissioner for three years.

Candidates for county mayor spoke Monday at a combined meeting of the Karns Community Club and the Karns Republican Club. It was standing room only at the Karns Community Center on Oak Ridge Highway.

In Trump World, is it a plus or minus for the county’s CEO to have had previous experience in local government? In Trump World, is it helpful for the CEO to believe in a role for the government or to say, “Government is the problem.”

On the issues, Jacobs gave one-word answers while Thomas and Anders were nuanced.

Property Tax Increase?

Jacobs – “No.”

Thomas – “Do I want to raise taxes? No. Who would be for a tax increase? Natural growth (of revenue) will take care of lots of things.”

Anders – “I want to keep spending within our (revenue) growth. We had $28 million of revenue growth this year. I would support a tax increase only as a last-ditch effort.”

How would your administration look different from Tim Burchett’s?

Thomas said he would be inclusive; would listen to all people and try to do what people wanted. “It’s your community.”

Anders said most people seem happy with the way county government is working. He would “do more planning, particularly long-range plans.”

Jacobs said he would “keep the Carhart and Twitter,” and would work to make Knox County the region’s leader. “Knoxville is the capital of East Tennessee.”

Candidates present:

State Rep. Roger Kane, running for Knox County Clerk

Jesse Nelson, running for Kane’s seat in the Legislature

Terry Hill, school board member running for re-election

John Weaver, chancellor

Nick McBride, running for Register of Deeds

Tim Wheeler, Scott Smith and Don Ridings, candidates for Circuit Court Clerk

Justin Biggs, candidate for county commission at-large (Seat B)

Ronnie Rochelle, candidate for county commission at-large (Seat A)

Randy Smith, Knox County Commission chair, running for re-election

Mike Hammond, Criminal Court Clerk, running for re-election

Vito Sagliano, candidate for Congress, and

Allie Jones, representing U.S. Rep. Diane Black, candidate for governor.



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