published Friday, April 6th, 2012

Local candidates and wheel tax proposal faces voters in Bradley County

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Local voters now know who their candidates are for the August elections for Cleveland and Bradley County school boards, Cleveland City Council and Charleston City Commission.

The deadline for qualifying as a candidate for the local, non-partisan races was Thursday at noon.

“Some people picked up petition forms but did not return them,” said Fran Green, director of elections for Bradley.

But the biggest attention-getter for voters may be the proposed $32 wheel tax, assessed each time a vehicle is registered in the county. Both the city and county school boards, plus county commissioners and City Council members have asked each other to help sell the idea to voters as a way to raise money for school-related debt.

In the past, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland has said “we are joined at the hip on this.”

In the regular election races, three of the seven county school board seats are being contested. In District 1, where incumbent Richard Baker is not seeking re-election, three candidates — Ben Atchley, Laura W. Mountain and Christopher A. Turner — have returned qualifying petitions to the Bradley County Election Commission office.

In District 3, where incumbent David Kelley is not seeking re-election, candidates are Melvin G. Bryson and William Nicholas Lillios.

Two incumbents — Rodney Dillard in District 5 and Charles Rose in District 7 — are unopposed for another four-year term.

On the Cleveland City Council, incumbent George W. Poe Jr. is unopposed for his at-large seat and incumbent David May is unopposed for his District 4 seat.

In District 3, incumbent Avery Johnson is facing William J. Wheeler. In District 5, incumbent Dale Hughes faces challenges from Thomas Tucker Johnston and Jonathan Charlie Porter.

All three Cleveland school board incumbents on the August ballot are unopposed for another four-year term — John Stephen Morgan as an at-large board member, George Meacham in District 1 and Murl Dirksen in District 2.

In Charleston, which has a commission run by a mayor and two commissioners, incumbent commissioners James Larry Anderson and Donna McDermott are on the ballot as well as Tony L. Whitner.

Thursday was also the deadline for candidates to turn in qualifying petitions for party primaries in the state House of Representatives, also held in August. The winners of those primaries will stand for election in November.

In the Republican primary for state representative in District 22, incumbent Eric Watson is being challenged for the nomination by David R. Kimbro.

In the House District 24, Republican incumbent Kevin Brooks is opposed for the nomination by Jack L. Epperson.

No Democrats are running.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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