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 2, Commissioner Adam Bannach didn’t seek re-election, and three candidates – Cyndi Bannach, Howard Blaydes and Jeff Hartline – qualified to run for the seat.
Bannach has been married to Adam Bannach for 23 years, and they have two daughters, Carolina, 13, and Addison, 8. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Cumberland University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University. She’s taught physical education at Mt. Juliet Elementary School since 2001.
Blaydes is married to Teri Sullivan and has two children. He graduated from high school and attended many college classes and training programs in areas that pertained to his employment, including labor management relations, collective bargaining, labor law and contract development. He previously worked for five years at H&W Printing during high school, college and then part-time while working at American Airlines. He worked 40 years with American Airline, 20 years in Los Angeles and 20 years in Nashville.
Hartline is married to his wife, Melodie, and they have three children and seven grandchildren. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Freed-Hardeman University and a master’s degree in biblical studies from Lipscomb University. He works as a health care consultant, custom cabinet maker, university professor, homeschool history instructor, public policy consultant and campaign manager.
What prompted you to seek office? Was it a personal initiative or did others encourage you?
Bannach:I, along with my co-workers and neighbors, felt like we needed strong conservative leadership to continue the good work that the current commission has in place.
Blaydes:I decided to seek this office because I saw a need for Wilson County to continue growing in a progressive and positive way. I was encouraged by friends, acquaintances and other county commissioners to run for this position.
Hartline:I have been following public policy since I ran for Congress in 2010. Wilson County’s growth and the need to manage that growth encouraged me to seek a place to influence good decision making.
What are the most important issues in your race, and how do you plan to address them?
Bannach:We need to figure out how we continue to handle growth in a way that does not stress out the taxpayers.
Blaydes:I believe the most important issues are education, support for the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and WEMA and effectively managed growth within the county. During the budget process, I will support competitive pay and benefits for the teachers and the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and WEMA to be at least in alignment with the average compensation for comparable counties within the state. In addition, growth in Wilson County needs to be supported by making sure the infrastructure is sufficient to attract businesses with good-paying jobs so current and future residents can afford to work and live here.
Hartline:Planning for the future and appropriate budgeting are high on my list of priorities.
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.
Bannach:We need to build and maintain good schools, find and keep the best teachers and staff for our schools and ensure that we will have good jobs and a robust economy so our children can continue to live and work here in Wilson County.
Blaydes:As I stated before, new schools have to be built, teachers’ pay to be at a level that is an incentive for future graduates to become teachers in Wilson County. We need the best sheriff’s office and WEMA to serve our communities to make it attractive for families to move to and work in Wilson County.
Hartline:We need to make better plans for where we build schools. We must do a better job of getting parents to engage the process, and we must do a better job of messaging to all taxpayers about how we are planning for the future.
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