District 8 candidates seek Wilson County Commission seat

Staff Reports • Jul 13, 2018 at 3:28 PM

The Aug. 2 Wilson County General Election features 43 total candidates who seek to fill seats on the Wilson County Commission in 18 contested races. 

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:

District 8

Two candidates qualified to run for the District 8 seat. They are incumbent Commissioner Frank Bush and challenger Kevin Costley.

Bush is serving in his third term as county commissioner for District 8 and provides Wilson County with more than 30 years of experience as executive management in finance, banking, information systems and the internet. Bush served as chairman of the first Ethics Committee in Wilson County history and has served as chair of the Insurance Committee. In the private sector Bush is currently retired as CFO of a global software company and had financial responsibility for operations in 10 countries. He previously served as CFO for several private companies and has managed all financial activities, including accounting, shareholder relations, budgeting and performance reporting. He was an Eagle Scout and the first national chairman of the Explorer Delegates Conference of the Boy Scouts of America. He and his wife, Carol, live in Wilson County where he was on the board of the Hickory Lake Farms Homeowners Association and active with the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce. Bush earned Series 7 and 66 securities licenses, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University and an master’s degree in finance and information systems from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Costley and his wife, Amy Costley were married 18 years ago and have five children, Brandon, 31, Kayla, 26, Braden, 18, Alyssa, 16, and Karli, 13 and three grandchildren, Collin, Luke and Tessa. He’s a 1987 graduate of Mt. Juliet High School and a 1988 graduate of Nashville Auto Diesel College. He was a business owner prior to coming to Mt. Juliet High School in 2007.

What prompted you to seek office? Was it a personal initiative or did others encourage you?

Bush:In 2006, a dispute arose between the city of Mt. Juliet and Wilson County regarding the provision of fire-suppression services.A contract existed between the two entities, and the county voted to cancel the contract. I thought this was wrong and ran against the county squire who voted to cancel the contract. I won.

Costley:I was approached by several voters in my district who encouraged me to run for county commission. That, along with my desire to help the community, factored in my decision to run. I have been an advocate for children and students my whole career, and that brought the desire to help people and want to make our community a better place.

What are the most important issues in your race, and how do you plan to address them?

Bush:The most important issues are financing growth and improving the quality of our education system. We need to ensure that we spend our tax revenues wisely and not just throw money at white elephants like expo centers. Education quality is about teachers and students, not about fancy overpriced schools. Training teachers to be the best they can be should be a high priority.

Costley:To me, the most pressing issues in our county are teacher pay, building a new high school, and we must address infrastructure issues due to the rapid growth our county is facing. I would also like to see our law enforcement and first responders adequately staffed and funded. How do you address the issues? Reality is that you have to have revenue to pay for them. I don’t know the answer on where the funds would come from, but I would be willing to sit down with the other commissioners and hammer out a solution.

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.

Bush:Twenty years from now, we need better quality schools, better quality infrastructure and higher-quality commercial development to create high-paying jobs.

Costley:Infrastructure – the rate of growth in our county is astounding, and right now we are way behind, schools, and I would love to see a sports complex in the future for our youth.

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