As promised, today we will report on candidates for property assessor and law director in the March 3 Republican Primary. No Democratic candidates are running. Eight candidates spoke Feb. 11 at the Powell Business and Professional Association meeting at Jubilee Banquet Facility, and we reported on those for public defender and Criminal Court judge yesterday.
Property Assessor: Incumbent John Whitehead speaks with the ease and poise that come with years of public service. He’s run before and it shows. He joked that he’s worked in the office since he returned home from Vietnam. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn’t want to go back.”
He hired on with Property Assessor Edward G. Hill and stayed under Hill’s successor, Park M. “Parkey” Strader. Whitehead succeeded Strader, winning election in 2000 and 2004. He sat out eight years while Phil Ballard held the office, then returned as assessor in 2016, defeating Ballard’s chief deputy, Jim Weaver. Term limits restrict officeholders to two consecutive terms.
Whitehead said he has obtained “all the appraiser certifications” available and is certified to handle appeals on both residential and commercial property. He stressed his open-door policy and promised, “If you call me, I’ll call you back.” His info is here.
Tina Marshall said she decided to run for property assessor four years ago and has “worked hard to learn about the office.” She pledged to be conservative on spending and supportive of technology. “We need new leadership, new blood to implement change.”
She and her former husband built homes, she said, and her children are now 22 and 29. Her info is here.
Marshall is not the Tina Marshall who heads the Powell operation of Movement Mortgage and is a longtime member of the PBPA. Powell’s Marshall said she likes Whitehead and is not retiring from the mortgage business.
Law Director: Bud Armstrong is stepping down after two terms and his chief deputy, David Buuck (sounds like booth), is running to succeed him. Buuck was in private practice until he joined the law director’s office in 2012. This is his first time on the ballot. Knox is one of the few counties that elects its law director. The office represents Knox County on lawsuits and evaluates all contracts before they are executed.
Armstrong has run an efficient office, Buuck said. “Our budget has gone up less than the cost of living every year.” He and Armstrong cut the $500,000 budgeted for private attorneys; reduced $1.5 million to a Nashville firm to administer workers comp to $158,000 by bringing the work in-house; and worked with county commission to include teachers under workers comp. His website is here.
Cathy Quist Shanks served five terms (20 years) as clerk of Circuit, General Sessions and Juvenile courts. She did not seek re-election in 2018 and has been working as a mediator. After graduation from UT College of Law, she was in private practice and worked as a deputy law director.
“There has to be trust,” she said at Powell. “The mayor has to trust the law director. The sheriff has to trust.” Her campaign website is here.
Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of KnoxTNToday.com.