With the county general election approaching, 10 seats on Loudon County Commission will be up for vote, but the only two contested races are in the second and fifth districts.
Republican candidate Van Shaver is looking for a second consecutive term in District 5, seat B, while Democratic candidate Jan Hahn hopes to provide a fresh set of eyes.
Republican Julia Hurley also hopes to offer new insight for District 2, seat A, while longtime Democratic candidate Earlena Maples looks to retain her seat like she has for three decades.
Uncontested candidates include David Meers, Adam Waller, Harold Duff, Matthew Tinker, Bill Satterfield, Gary Whitfield, Kelly Littleton-Brewster and Henry Cullen.
Hahn challenges Shaver
Shaver is seeking his third term on county commission and the second consecutive. He previously served on county commission from 2002-06 and followed that up on the Loudon County Board of Education from 2008-12. Shaver most recently was elected in 2014 to county commission.
That experience is something Shaver hopes will help his re-election.
“I like to think I can have some input and some impact on what our county government does and how we operate,” Shaver said. “I’m very conservative fiscally and I like to think I can have some input on how our taxes are handled and raised and that sort of stuff.”
Shaver wants to see the county continue the path it’s on with controlled spending, low taxes and keeping “our services up for the citizens that they expect.”
“Experience, lots and lots of experience in ... government, just years of understanding how county government works with budgets and all the aspects like that,” Shaver said of his qualifications.
Hahn is running for the first time because he believes the county over the next four years will face “unprecedented challenges” as it continues to grow at a fast rate. He hopes to provide insight to complex issues he believes will require “imaginative solutions.”
“Rational growth enhances the vitality of a community but growth, unrestrained by direction or purpose, will destroy both its beauty and its health,” Hahn said.
Hahn hopes to promote rational growth, respect for neighborhoods and fiscal conservatism.
“This county needs a commissioner who embraces the future and confronts the inevitable challenges with enthusiasm and hope, not one who fights to preserve a time long since past and never return,” Hahn said. “I bring a skill set to the table that is uniquely capable of addressing the needs of the community. And I firmly believe that the welfare of all depends upon the success of each one of us.”
Hahn’s background includes founding Crisis Center for Woman-Immediate Vital Assistance Services and serving on the board for the Kids First Child Advocacy Center of the Ninth Judicial District.
Maples seeks another term
Maples has served on commission since 1986, which is something she considers an “honor and privilege.”
“Thirty-two years of learned and proven experience in government,” Maples said. “I live conservatively — in my daily life and have always treated taxpayer money the same way.”
Hopes are to continue that same mindset, she said. Maples noted the $17.5 million jail expansion without a tax increase.
“Being raised, living, going to school, church, working in the second district and paying city and county taxes gives me good understanding of the people of the second district,” Maples said. “... I know people work hard for their money and want the best service with the lowest tax rate. Anyone that knows me knows that’s what I have done in the past and with their vote will continue to do — guard their money.”
Although Hurley has never run for county commission, she is no stranger to politics, having previously been a state representative from 2010-12.
She now serves on the Loudon County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Loudon County Education Foundation Board of Directors and the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee. She decided to run after learning about the county’s intention to regulate planned unit developments, which is something she feels could hurt the area in the future.
“When you regulate the ability for developments to come in, you’re regulating not only the growth of the tax base but you’re regulating the growth of the business base as well,” Hurley said. “... What I would like to see happen is really understanding how the county system works to a T. I want to master that, I want to understand it from the inside out, and the way to do that is to serve on the county commission and to offer some solutions and insight from someone who does own their own property and sells their own property, owns a business here locally, contributes here locally, sits on boards here locally. I’m here and I want to serve.”
Hurley hopes her experience can help the county move forward.
“I think that my experiences and my expertise, especially in development and real estate and business owning, would really lend to the growth of the future of Loudon County,” she said.