Education is the foundation that builds a community. We need to pay our teachers and staff competitive salaries so we can ensure we have the best support for our children. We also need to fund for the maintenance of the physical locations that our children, staff, and teachers work, teach, and learn in. Too many of our schools have mold issues, allergens and other items that impact the health and quality of the education our children receive. This is an investment in our future, and as County Commissioner I will work closely with the School Board and other organizations to ensure we give our schools what they need to ensure the success of our children.
Industry and businesses can be encouraged to move here when we can demonstrate a good quality of life for our residents. Good paying jobs require an educated population, and a great infrastructure to support the demands industry and businesses make on communities. Companies with high paying jobs look at the quality of life of the community because they know in order to attract talent to their companies, they have to be located in places that have things for their workers to do when they are not at work. Therefore, I would focus on ensuring we have greenways, sidewalks, parks and a good mix of businesses with our residential homes so our residents don’t always have to get in a car to go somewhere or do something.
Having a safe community requires a commitment by all of us. We need to ensure our Sheriff and Emergency Services receive the training and support they need to safely protect our county. Unfortunately, we do not pay our Sheriff and Emergency staff a living wage and many of them must work multiple jobs and long hours to make ends meet. This is unacceptable; we need to ensure we are paying living wages to those who keep our county safe. As County Commissioner I will advocate for better wages for our Sheriff and Emergency Services so we continue to ensure the safety of our community. I will also work with the Sheriff and Emergency Services to get them the training resources and support they need.
We have a significant deficit over $660 million and as we grow as a community that deficit will only grow. We pay too much money in interest on this and we need to look at ways to pay this down. There are many things we can do besides raising taxes; however, no options should be ruled out. We should look at the fee we pay the state of Tennessee when we collect our sales tax for our county. We should also be looking for inefficiencies in the government that we can either automate or consolidate to remove duplicate work. In addition, we should be looking at the budget assumptions that are made during the development of the budget to ensure the historical assumptions are accurate, and if they are not, then we need to change them. If we do not pay down the debt we will not be able to sustain our County’s growth, and this will impact our residents’ quality of life.
County Commission is about problem solving. I have a long history and successful track record working large projects with diverse and complicated groups to solve complex problems. We need visionary leaders in our County Commission that can work together to solve the current and future problems of our community. I will be a Commissioner that works with the Commission to ensure that we are thoughtful while keeping an open mind to solutions for our problems, even if they aren’t always popular. My life has shown me that problem solvers are the ones you want addressing complex issues, and I’ve spent my life being a problem solver and I want to bring these skills to our County Commission.