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Candidate forum shows array of personalities

By Susan Sharp

A Friday night meet and greet at the Davis Chapel Community Center saw possibly more candidates attending the event than constituents. With over 100 people vying for an office that was really an easy task to accomplish once you think about it.

Most of the politicians seemed genuinely invested in this community. They also appeared to want it to become more solvent, educated area. Among the issues put on the table were narcotics. Many of the candidates chose to address this as a societal issue as well as a personal one.

I will be the first to say David Young and I have never seen eye to eye on a number of issues. But on Friday night he stood up and readily admitted his marijuana related crimes. He did this without even flinching. For that he gets some credit. Young then explained he wanted to be working cog in the system that allowed him to rebuild his life following his conviction.

With each candidate given a maximum of five minutes at the microphone, they could just about stump until their hearts were content. Some surprised the crowd by admitting a case of the nerves, such as sports announcer

Josh Parker. While others hit a common chord by joking about the number of signs the candidates are putting up along the roadways.

Incumbent register of deeds Dormas Miller laughed when he told the crowd that a candidate’s best tools in a campaign arsenal  were a cordless drill and a set of drywall screws.

Of the 30 or so who came to the event most used their time to talk about their family, their backgrounds and what they would do if elected. Others, such as veteran politician and former sheriff Ron McClellan, implored the contenders to stick to the issues and “keep families out of the race.”

But others used their five minutes to take veiled jabs at their opponents, murder the English language and generally deflect any bad press they felt had come their way.

Mud slinging doesn’t go far in the eyes, hearts or minds of the voters. Neither does apathy.

It takes much more energy and intelligence to formulate a vision for an office than it does to jump back, throw hands in the air saying, “It’s not my fault.”

That portion of the evening, while expected, was disappointing.

For me it was disheartening as a voter when Scott Kitts stood up to explain his platform saying he wanted to make the county an “even more better” place.

Another low point in the evening was when incumbent sheriff Gary Perkins attempted to down play the crime rate in the county. The numbers that landed the county in the fourth place spot in a recent Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report came directly from Perkins’ office.

Instead of calling that bad press in an election season, as a voter I would have much rather heard his concern about the problem and how he planned to rectify it. Not an outright denial of the issue.

At least Robbie Goins, one of Perkins challengers, acknowledged the county’s crime rate. He told the crowd taming those numbers would be a priority for him if elected.

As a voter, that is what I want to hear- what a candidate’s intentions are. Not how they feel they have been wronged, how someone else is to blame or an assassination of grammar.

In addition, the Davis Chapel Community Center needs to be commended for hosting the event. Moderator Tip Jones kept the evening moving along in a humorous manner despite the oppressive heat in the building.

Looking in the news notes section of the Press other candidate forums are scheduled for the coming weeks. I urge all voters to take the time and attend one- you won’t be disappointed.