I spoke at public forum (the 3 minute variety) at the Hamblen County Commission meeting on April 21, 2022. Here’s the written version of the remarks I gave. I remembered my first draft talked the bunch of “old white men” on Commission. I went up there thinking I had left that line in, but I guess I didn’t.
Anyway, here you go…
Mr. Chairman, Commissioners
I’m here to talk about this Commission and its members being out of touch.
Last time I was here speaking before the Commission, one of things I touched on was the dire state of the EMS. I noted an emergency meeting they were going to have and suggested the Board show up at the meeting. There’s a need to do something to save the EMS. Kudos to Commissioner Cutshaw for showing up. I totally didn’t recognize him at first, but hopefully I won’t make that mistake again. But according to the website, I believe Commissioner Ward may be on the Board. He hasn’t shown up at the last couple of meetings, including the emergency one.
As many of you know, I’m the Chair of the Hamblen County Democratic Party. I’m also running for office. [Hi Teresa]. (Teresa West, the current Circuit Court Clerk and my opponent in the August 4 election was sitting in the jury box, behind the left side of Commissioners.)
But separate and apart from those things, I decided after the first of the year to start attending meetings of the Boards and Committees here in Hamblen County and Morristown. It was a good way for me to get to know the players in the area. I’ve also learned a lot of good information from these meetings.
So, I say you’re out of touch. One way to get in touch would be to get involved in some of these meetings. How many meetings you ask? Well, I’ll give you a list of the ones on my radar.
Executive Committee of the Joint Morristown-Hamblen Economic & Community Development Board
Parks and Rec Board – Kudos to Commissioner Haun, I think you’re on that board and I’ve seen you there
Civil Service Board
Planning Commission/Board of Zoning Appeals
Morristown Tree Board
Morristown-Hamblen Humane Society
Morristown Housing Authority
Morristown Regional Airport Commission
Morristown Hamblen Solid Waste
Morristown-Hamblen Library Board
Industrial Development Board
Hamblen County Emergency Communications Board
Lakeway Area Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization Executive Board
Morristown Utilities Commission
Hamblen County Community Advisory Board
Hamblen County Road Commission
Local Emergency Planning Committee
(I ad libbed a bit here because at the beginning of this meeting, the Board appointed someone to the Board of Equalization, which I didn’t have on my list. It’s on there now).
Now, I know some of you may be on some of those boards. I shouted out Commissioners Cutshaw and Haun. If I missed someone, I apologize. But I know you make appointments to these Boards. But how can you make appointments to the Boards if you don’t know what they’re doing? The only way to know that is to come to the meetings and find out.
And the people you appoint to the Boards, try to look outside the usual suspects. It feels like I see the same or similar people on a lot of these Boards.
So, I say you’re out of touch. The best way to remedy that might be for the voters to send you packing. To make a different choice.
Unfortunately, though, we know at least some of you will be back. I was able to find 4 Democratic opponents for you. Better than 4 years ago, but still not enough. Mark my words, I’ll do better in 2026.
Also, the folks over my shoulder have been instrumental in finding primary opponents for some of you as well.
But, at the end of the day, we know at least some of you will be back. Whether we like it or not. Either you’re unopposed or maybe you win a contested race.
But maybe over the next 4 years, do better. I say you’re out of touch. Well, try to get in touch. And these Boards and Committees are one way for you to do that.