Commissioners were uncontested for seven of the 25 total seats on the commission. They are Bobby Franklin in District 3, Terry Scruggs in District 7, Sara Patton in District 9, John Gentry in District 11, Terry Ashe in District 12, Gary Keith in District 17 and William Glover in District 19. Eight commissioners opted not to seek re-election.
The Democrat sent questionnaires to each commission candidate in the contested races, along with requests for biographical information. The following are the candidates’ answers and information about them:
In District 14, Commissioner Jeff Joines didn’t seek re-election, and three candidates – Bob Clarke, Tommy Jones and Michael Ramsey – qualified to run for the seat. Jones didn’t submit answers to the questionnaire.
Clarke is married to his wife, Cheryl, and they have two children and two grandchildren. He has a bachelor’s degree in commercial printing and owned a small printing company he retired. He’s currently a substitute teacher who works mostly in special education.
Ramsey was married to Susan Carol Ramsey 38 years ago, and they have three adult children. He holds an associate’s degree in applied science computers, attended FAA Academy in Oklahoma City and is a certified professional air traffic controller, quality assurance specialist and facility instructor. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 1977, worked as a contractor at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio until 1985. He was hired as an air traffic controller and attended training at the FAA Academy in 1985. He has worked and been certified as a professional controller for more than 29 years for the FAA in Indianapolis, Traverse City, Michigan, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Nashville and Huntsville Alabama, where he retired in 2009. After his retirement from the FAA, he’s worked as an air traffic controller and holds international ICAO certifications in Afghanistan, northeast Africa, Ascension Islands and south Atlanta. He retired for good in November after working another year in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
What prompted you to seek office? Was it a personal initiative or did others encourage you?
Clarke:It was personal.
Ramsey:I was approached by a county commissioner and another commissioner candidate and asked to run.
What are the most important issues in your race, and how do you plan to address them?
Clarke:To make sure that our tax dollars are used in the most efficient way.
Ramsey: Accountability for where and how our taxes that Wilson County residents pay are spent and ensuring the county’s continued growth doesn’t outpace available infrastructure.
Think of our county 20 years from now. Name three things that must be addressed now to make it better for the children of this county.
Clarke:Better schools and teachers, a more diverse learning program and to end Common Core.
Ramsey:Quality education, quality training and opportunities for professional trades, employment opportunities, recreation and parks and most importantly to give our children a safe place to live and grow.
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