Making the case for Bud

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

I’ve not always agreed with Bud Armstrong, but I’ve always liked him.

Bud is smart, creative and willing to help folks when he can. His campaign slogan for Chancellor Part II is “the people’s chancellor.” The slogan fits.

Here’s how Bud helped Powell. In 2015-16, the Powell Business and Professional Association president, Sage Kohler, asked me to chair a beautification committee. I recruited Justin Bailey as co-chair and Justin changed the name. We rebranded as Enhance Powell.

Some 10 acres of mostly flood plain land behind the splash pad down to Beaver Creek lay overgrown and a habitat for rodents. Knox County Parks & Rec said “it belongs to the school,” and Knox County Schools had no use for it.

We asked Bud Armstrong to untangle the ownership so we could build a park.

Bud said, “It is Knox County land,” and he drafted a resolution (which Commissioner Charles Busler sponsored) to authorize Enhance Powell to develop the land to the standards of Parks & Rec.

We cleared the underbrush, tore down an old garage, secured a grant to install a nine-hole disc golf course, excavated and built a gravel parking lot and planted a few flowers. We were, after all, the beautification committee.

Bud visits the park

Until this week, Armstrong had not visited Powell Station Park. He had driven past the high school and splash pad. He had even entered his 1941 Ford in the Travis Wegener car show. “I just remember it being hot, really hot. I stayed with the car and never walked back here.”

He was amazed. The park looked spectacular. “We just wanted to thank you and tell this story,” I said.

Just doing his job, he said. “Government should not be a hindrance. The government belongs to the people.”

The race for chancellor

Clarence Pridemore

Democratic Judge Daryl R. Fansler presided over Chancery Court Part II for 16 years. Lawyers typically don’t oppose sitting judges, but in 2014, Clarence “Eddie” Pridemore, three years out of law school, qualified at deadline as a Republican. Despite weak credentials, the “R” by his name led to a Pridemore upset in a Republican sweep.

Now Pridemore is running for a second eight-year term. Bud Armstrong is in the race as is lawyer R. Deno Cole. The winner will be determined in the May 3 primary, since no Democrat qualified.

Judge Pridemore has a campaign Facebook page with 133 followers here.

Pridemore received his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama in 2004 and his law degree from the Nashville School of Law in 2010. He opened Pridemore Law Offices in Knoxville in 2011 and was elected and took office in 2014.

Deno Cole

Robert “Deno” Cole has a private law practice at 709 Market Street. His undergraduate degree is from The Citadel (1993) and his law degree is from Touro College, Huntington NY (1997). His website is here.

And he is all over social media including three YouTube videos. He’s published an impressive list of supporters, including several attorneys. Cole received the blessing of the Knoxville Bar Association.

Bud Armstrong

Richard “Bud” Armstrong is a lifelong resident of East Knox County. He went to Carter schools and the University of Tennessee, obtained a doctorate in education from Columbia University and then a law degree from the Nashville School of Law. His website is here.

He says his eight years as county law director was “a perfect training ground” to be a chancellor.

  • He sued former Trustee Mike Lowe to recover stolen funds.
  • He brought delinquent taxes in-house, saving over $8 million previously paid to outside counsel.
  • He saved another $4 million by reworking the administrative costs of the county’s workers compensation program.

As chancellor, Armstrong wants to have “fair play and substantial justice.” And help the people. “I fit this job.”

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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