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:
Four candidates qualified to run for the District 22 seat. They are incumbent Commissioner Wendell Marlowe and challengers Henry Jackson, John Jankowich and Matt Wilson. Jankowich didn’t submit answers to the questionnaire.
Jackson has been married to his wife for 11 years, and they have two daughters. As a logistician, he has more than 20 years of experience managing supply chains for companies such as Walmart, BMW, Amazon, Starbucks and Nissan. Recently, he started substitute teaching and has taught in all Wilson County Schools.
Marlowe is married to Sheila Marlowe, and they have two children, Josh Marlowe and Patrick Marlowe. He has a bachelor’s degree from Trevecca University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Middle Tennessee State University. He has worked for 40 years for Wilson County Schools, eight years as a teacher at Mt. Juliet Junior High School, 21 years as principal at Lakeview Elementary School, 11 years as principal at West Wilson Middle School and is the newly appointed principal at Southside School.
Wilson grew up on a farm in a small town in West Virginia, where he graduated in 1983 and immediately moved to Nashville and attended Nashville Auto Diesel College. While going to college, he worked for Captain D`s restaurant as a cook and then moved up to a management position. Once out of college, he worked for Lankford Hardware and installed and rekeyed locks and did repairs on small engines during the day. At night, he delivered newspapers for The Tennessean. He’s worked for Hoover Crush Stone, Menifee Crush Stone, Eatherly Construction and American Locators, where he formed his own business, Independent Towing and Recovery. He currently runs and operates the business on a daily basis, along with a Hazmat cleanup company, Material Spill Remediation, and Tennessee Executive Properties. He’s an alumnus of the Mt. Juliet Citizen’s Police Academy, Mt. Juliet Breakfast Rotary Club and Cedar Creek Yacht Club. He has one child, two grandchildren and is currently not married.
What prompted you to seek office? Was it a personal initiative or did others encourage you?
Jackson:I was compelled to run for county commissioner to ensure that District 22 was not neglected as the county continues to experience rapid growth. I was personally motivated to seek office, and once I announced my intentions, I quickly received the support of neighbors and friends.
Marlowe:It was both, actually. Years ago, I wanted to be involved because I thought I could make a positive difference with a few particular issues that I was interested in. It did not take me long to realize that county government is a big business, and you cannot afford to focus on just some areas. After a few years, I was recognized as being someone who was interested in all parts of county government and have been encouraged to seek re-election ever since.
Wilson:I choose to run for office to give back to the community and help be part of the future for the community I live in.
What are the most important issues in your race, and how do you plan to address them?
Jackson:The most important issues for District 22, I believe, are the top issues for all of Wilson County. They are overcrowded schools and under-compensated educators. Transportation infrastructure is inadequate. Community connectivity is lacking in many areas. I plan to address these issues with prioritized school projects ahead of commercial and residential developments, along with working with the school board to ensure Wilson County teachers are more than adequately compensated and rewarded for performance. Prior to new development, ensure that roads can handle traffic flow. We need to work the growth projected 20 years from now and require developers to pay for road improvements prior to approval. Use existing funds at points of congestion. Many of Wilson County schools lack sidewalks, which force parents to have to drive when they could be within a reasonable walking distance. I would appropriate funds for sidewalks and walking trails to connect neighborhoods, schools and parks. This would increase the sense of community and decrease the number of cars on the road.
Marlowe:We must make sure that our county dollars are spent in the most effective way possible. The only way to address that issue is to become as educated as possible with the true needs of our county and prioritize those needs without allowing egos and small pockets of divergent individuals to have a biased influence on the process.
Wilson:Most importantly would be to help prevent further tax increases.
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.
Jackson:Education: I have been afforded the opportunity to work and study abroad. In a global scope, the United State is behind. Even domestically, Tennessee is in the middle of the pack when compared to the other states. Drug abuse: Especially in Tennessee, the increase in opioid abuse is substantial. We need better tracking and control on the entire supply chain of these drugs from the pharmaceutical manufacturers to the prescribing physicians to the patient recipients. Financial awareness: The cost of living has outpaced the inflation; housing, education, groceries and medicine continue to increase. Children today have to be aware of financial expectations so that they will not be so caught up in trying to make living that they forget to live their lives.
Marlowe:Purchasing land for future school sites, maintaining a school building schedule that will meet the needs of a growing population, developing and sustaining a method of adequately funding salaries for our educational community.
Wilson:We need to control the growth at a rate the schools are not overly populated and focus on providing education to students that coincide with local business and business that we would like to attract to our county.
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