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:
Two candidates qualified to run for the District 23 seat. They are incumbent Commissioner Joy Bishop and challenger Kristi Galligan.
Bishop holds a bachelor’s degree and was the first Wilson County official to receive certification as a public administrator through University of Tennessee government training. She has served on several Wilson County committees. She was married to the late Glenn Bishop and is a member of Westland United Methodist Church. Bishop retired from Tennessee-Lebanon Woolen Mills after she worked there 28 years.
Galligan is the widow of the late Devin Galligan. She has two sons, Zak and Alex. Zak attends Cumberland University and Alex attends Wilson County Schools. She is a teacher at the Wilson County Adult High School, along with being an adjunct professor at Cumberland University. She’s a a member of the youth division of the Mid-Tennessee Workforce Development Board and was a member of the now defunct Lebanon Visionary Committee. She graduated from Cumberland University with a degree in English. She earned her master’s degree in English at Belmont University in 2016 and is completing her master’s degree in organizational leadership also at Belmont.
What prompted you to seek office? Was it a personal initiative or did others encourage you?
Bishop:Others did encourage me, but it was ultimately my decision to seek another term. I thought a lot and prayed about it because the position, if properly done, requires a lot of time. Too, the job has to be the priority for four years.
Galligan:It was a combination of both personal initiative and public encouragement. As I have become more involved politically, many people have asked, “Why don’t you run for county commissioner since you are an educator and an active member of the community?” I prayed over running for office and discussed the idea with trusted mentors in my life. After listening to their feedback, I decided to run because I want to serve the people of Wilson County by helping make fiscally conservative policy decisions and do what I can to help prepare Wilson County for the great influx of new people and the resulting need for infrastructure improvements.
What are the most important issues in your race, and how do you plan to address them?
Bishop:It is hard to pinpoint one thing since all issues are important. Education is getting 72 cents of each tax dollar, and most of the county debt has been created in the area of education. I also feel emergency services and law enforcement are very important as are roads. All of these professions and vocations, including the teachers, probably make a bit less in Wilson County than some of the surrounding counties. Yet, these departments operating on the other 28 cents of the dollar make us proud every day. However, our pride does not put food on their tables. My plan to address the situation is basically as it has always been. Research, research, research, then make the best unbiased decision I possibly can on whatever the issue.
Galligan:Wilson County is one of the fastest growing counties in Tennessee. We have not been proactive in handling the growth, and we must do so to preserve Wilson County for future generations. I have a young adult son who cannot afford the rising cost of housing in Wilson County. An apartment that once cost $500 a month three years ago is now $900 a month.
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.
Bishop:We need to focus on education, recruiting well-paying diversified jobs and infrastructure, including traffic control.
Galligan: Education: Overcrowded schools and building new schools; quality of life: Infrastructure, green spaces and traffic flow; and housing: The abundance of new developments and affordable housing.
Get The Democrat’s Weekly Email Newsletter
With The Lebanon Democrat’s weekly email newsletter, you can stay up to date and have the latest news and information sent directly to your inbox each week. Click here to sign up today.