Challengers win seats in Loudon

Jeff Harris, Loudon mayor-elect, left, speaks with Eddie Mcallister on election night at the county office building.

There will be plenty of new faces in the Loudon City Council chambers following November elections.

Loudon will have a new mayor after Jeff Harris finished with 843 votes to 656 for incumbent Jim Greenway.

“I’m very humbled and overwhelmed by the support,” Harris, a current city councilman, said. “... Just the voters in the city, I’m just really humbled that they trust me to lead them for the next four years and I’m going to work really hard to not disappoint anyone. It’s an exciting time and I’m excited to take the lead and lead us to the future.”

The top four vote-getters for city council were Tim Dixon with 681, Tammi Bivens with 620, Johnny James with 609 and Tim Brewster with 608.

Rene’ McGill Schultz received 578 votes, while Jimmy Parks had 566. Incumbent Dennis Stewart finished with 475 votes.

Incumbent Johnny James called the vote a wake-up call of sorts and a sign that Loudon residents were wanting new ideas on council.

James was the lone incumbent to retain a seat. Dixon served on council from 1997-2001.

“For the voters to put their confidence in me, I’m just overwhelmed,” Dixon said. “Winning the top vote; I’m actually surprised.”

Dixon hopes to make progress on cleaning up the Hutch property, which he called an “eyesore.” He sees housing as a big issue.

“If you get more rooftops in Loudon then you’ll obviously have more commercial wanting to move in,” he said.

For Bivens, the results also came as a surprise.

“I am blown away by the support,” she said. “I never imagined I would get this many votes. This was my first run at political office and I was the newcomer. I was honored to be voted and to be in second place just blows my mind. It’s unbelievable right now.”

While two incumbent councilmen chose not to run, Brewster agrees with James that overturning a third seat shows voters in Loudon were ready for change.

“It tells me that it was time for change, it was really time for change, because I’ve got some good ideas and I’ve got good people to work with now,” Brewster said. “I’m confident that the other people that got elected, that we’ll be a good team and do good for Loudon. I think we can sit down and come up with a long-range and short-range plan, which hasn’t been done. We’ve got to do that.”

Harris is excited to work with the new council.

“Looks like we’ve got three new council members so that’s going to be an interesting and exciting time, too,” Harris said. “We’ve got new people on there and will have some great opportunities and challenges, too.

“... Things have kind of been in a holding pattern waiting for the election to be over … to see how the landscape was going to change, if it was going to change,” he added. “I think we can get things rolling now that we know who is going to be on council and who mayor is going to be. We can kind of get some things moving forward that we’ve got in the works.”