Friday, January 26, 2007


A Different Approach to the Knox County Commission

Advice has been pouring in from the far corners of Tennessee as to how to handle my candidacy for Larry Clark's 9th District seat on the Knox County Commission. Much to the chagrin of many and very possibly to the detriment of my chances of being appointed to the seat, I have chosen to forge a different path than that which is being pitched to me. Please allow me to explain.

My fear (as was documented previously in this post from earlier in the week and this post from last week) is that the backroom nature of this selection process may erode the faith that the Knox County citizenry has in its legislative body. I don't believe that I am alone in having this fear. In today's News Sentinel, Jim Andrews is quoted as saying that this process "stinks to high heaven," is "backroom politics," and "is a coronation." Strong words, but they cut to the heart of the matter.

I believe that this is a serious problem, and that is why I am blazing a new trail with my candidacy, one that is certainly not the one that people who know much more than I about obtaining office (because most of them are currently in or have previously held public office themselves) have advised.

My candidacy for the 9th District seat is going to be open to the public. Nothing that I do in it will be out of sight from the voters of South Knox County.

There will be no kissing of any rings, no kissing of any babies, no backroom deals or handshakes, no lobbying, or no endorsing of one warring faction over another in exchange for an appointment on the Commission.

To do those things would most probably help my candidacy. It would also be choosing pragmatism over principle, and I have been openly critical on this website of others in politics who do the same thing. I will not be hypocritical on that front.

That being said, I want to update the voters of South Knox County as to what has transpired thus far to get us to this point. On Wednesday, I fielded several calls from various people - some Republicans, some attorneys, some South Knox County residents - asking if it was true that I was interested in the 9th District seat currently occupied by Larry Clark. At the time, I had not planned to get involved with the race (my focus has been documented as being elsewhere), but I started to take notice that so many others were in favor of me serving the community in which I live.

At that point Wednesday evening, I decided to ask the opinion of two people who really matter to our 9th District - Commissioners Paul Pinkston and Larry Clark. I know Paul and Larry through various campaigns that I have worked in South Knoxville and through my involvement with the South Knox Republican Club. I spoke with Paul first, and all that we talked about was the process for getting my name before the Selection Committee that he and Larry had appointed as a clearinghouse for those interested. Paul made it clear that he didn't want to get involved until finalists were presented by the Selection Committee. Larry Clark and I spoke later on Wednesday night, and we spoke of how the process was evolving. He urged me to throw my hat in the ring, but said that I needed to make a decision soon.

My wife, the Republican State Executive Committeewoman for the 6th District, and I then went about the process of deciding whether or not I should announce my candidacy. After looking at the Knox County budget for the past few years, I made the decision to make myself available to the citizens of the 9th District if it was decided that I would be the best to serve as their representative on the Commission.

I cobbled together a letter of interest and made sure that my resume was updated in the wee hours of Thursday morning. A bit after noon, I faxed in my paperwork to the Selection Committee, the Knox County Commission, and the News Sentinel, which is compiling a website of all of the candidates.

Throughout Thursday, calls and e-mails flooded my law office with advice as to how I should go about winning the approval of the Commissioners. I don't feel that I need to get into these conversations because, for better or for worse, I've chosen to take a different path.

Late Thursday night, I received a call from Larry Smith, Knox County Commissioner for the 7th District. We talked for about 10-15 minutes about the process, and he asked me several questions about my agenda for the 9th District. He also cautioned that while he was being proactive in calling all of the potential new members of the Commission, he did not expect others to follow in his stead. He recommended that I make contact with the other Commissioners prior to the January 31st meeting. I greatly appreciate his making contact with me and enjoyed speaking with him in frank terms about what was occurring.

That pretty much has y'all up to date. As we stand now, I am going to let Commissioners Pinkston and Clark make their decision of which candidate they wish to endorse. As of this time, it appears that there are three confirmed candidates with the Knox County Commission's office, with the January 29th deadline fast approaching. If Paul and Larry choose to endorse my candidacy, then I will go about contacting the various Commissioners to introduce myself and ask for their vote on January 31st. Because of my respect for Paul and Larry and the process that they have instituted for finding the best representative for the 9th District, I will not "put the cart before the horse" by organizing a candidacy without their support.

One aspect that I have not mentioned yet are the many inquiries by South Knox County residents regarding my stands on certain issues. As Michael Silence wrote on his site, I'm kind of an open book, with this being my 998th blog post on this site, plus my posts on Blogging for Bryant, the Jim Bryson Blog, and my many newspaper columns. It's hard to find an issue that I haven't taken a public position on at some time.

However, if you have any specific questions, feel free to post them in the Comments here at VOLuntarilyConservative, call my law office (579-9177), or e-mail me (UTLegalEagle-at-Yahoo-dot-com).

While the entire process may be shrouded in secrecy, my particular candidacy will not be. While this may not be the way to win the office, it is the best way for me to remain true to the ideals which I espouse.

Thanks for reading this entirely too long post, and have a wonderful weekend.


I want you to know that I am praying for your candidacy, and as you had endorsed me, so I endorse you.

Nicole and I were talking this morning, and the irony of it is that if we still lived in Knox County, I would never have dropped out of the race initially first of all, and I certainly would have submitted my name for the 2B seat. I think it is safe to assume I would have at least one supporter on the Commission (Lumpy Lambert), which certainly could not have hurt.

Nicole said "well, perhaps the Lord had another plan." Indeed.

We expect to be at the Jeff County Lincoln Day Dinner. Perhaps we will see you there also.
Dave -

Angela and I are down for the Jeff County Lincoln Day (barring any unforeseen circumstances changing things), so we should see y'all there!


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