Two challengers are attempting to take over the seat of longtime Charleston Commissioner and Mayor Walter Goode in the Charleston City Election.Goode, the incumbent, has served as mayor for …
Two challengers are attempting to take over the seat of longtime Charleston Commissioner and Mayor Walter Goode in the Charleston City Election.
Goode, the incumbent, has served as mayor for multiple terms in the North Bradley County community, and is seeking re-election.
He and Commissioners Donna McDermott and Frankie McCartney have faced a number of challenges in recent years, especially with the industrial growth in the area, and the huge surge of historical significance of the Charleston and Calhoun communities.
Challengers for Goode's seat on the Commission, Allen Martin and Garett Hammontree, have expressed confidence they can contribute to city government for the people of Charleston.
Below are responses from each of the candidates to a series of questions concerning current and future issues in Charleston.
These comments are directly from the candidates, with limited editing for spelling and grammar, as well as for clarity in accordance with Associated Press style.
Comments are listed in alphabetical order by the candidates' names.
1. How would you address continued timber and long-haul trucks along Highway 11, and damage to Charleston streets?
Goode — We are continuing to work with MTAS to try and resolve the problem.
Hammontree — We are going to have timber trucks on our highway, but I would speak to the trucking companies to try and lower their load weights, causing less damage to our roads. I personally think large trucks should be on secondary roads. I would work with the freight companies on an acceptable route.
Martin — I would set up a meeting with TDOT to see what options, if any, are available. Highway 11 has been a busy road, and is getting more so. A loop road would be a great idea, but with only one bridge across the Hiwassee River, the expense would be too great. More lanes through town would really help, but room for them is the problem.
2. What impact has recent industrial growth to the west had on Charleston, especially that of Amazon and Wacker?
Goode — Some businesses have seen an impact at lunchtime, and with gasoline for travel.
Hammontree — I think it has been positive, as they are known for their commitment to the community.
Martin — The growth to the west has been good for Bradley County, and the Charleston area. More jobs are available, but traffic has increased on local roads at certain hours. The increased traffic also brings more money into Charleston. Charleston is growing, and I want to help in any way possible.
3. How would you rate police and fire/rescue service in the Charleston community?
Goode — I would rate the police service as good, and fire/rescue fair.
Hammontree — I believe our chief of police does a great job. There are places that need improving, but I know he takes them seriously, and is working on ways to improve. He is getting an updated system that will let our officers be on patrol more, and spend less time doing paperwork.
Martin — I've met with the chief of police, and I hope to sit down and discuss his department's needs for the future. I also think we have one of the best fire departments in the county. We have several longtime members, with experience.
4. How important are the city's partnerships with the Historical Society and Heritage Center, and how significant has the historical awareness of the community become?
Goode — They are great partnership, and we are still discovering our history.
Hammontree — We are so blessed to have such an amazing and dedicated group in our community. They strive to find ways to make learning about Charleston fun and engaging.
Martin — The history of Charleston goes way back. The Heritage Center will help locals and their children, plus people who pass through, to learn more about the city and the Fort Cass area. Our heritage and the history of Charleston is important, and should be remembered. The historical awareness in Charleston is not something that is heard about very often, however that is something that I would like to see become more prevalent. We have buildings, houses and churches that date back to before the Civil War. This is something we, as a community, need to pass on to future generations.
5. How do you see the role of the Charleston Recreation Board in the future?
Goode — The Charleston Recreation Board needs to improve, and become more involved.
Hammontree — We have a wonderful park that has the potential to hold a wide variety of events. I'm excited about seeing the CRB become more involved.
Martin — I would like to help schedule more activities at our park, such as a three-on-three basketball league, or monthly horseshoe tournaments for every age. We also need to repair the baseball field for weekend tournaments. I think there are several events that can be held to help earn money for the city of Charleston, such as monthly Trader Days, with a minimum charge for setting up. Charleston has always been family and community oriented, but has been getting away from that. These few simple and inexpensive ideas will help bring unity back to Charleston.
6. What projects are at the top of your list for Charleston?
Goode — We're still trying to expand the city limits, and raise the population.
Hammontree — We need proper sewage throughout our city, to protect our river. I would like sidewalks, and for our Hiwassee River Heritage Walking Trail to be completed.
Martin — First of all, talk to more people, in and out of town, and see what they have to say. The boat ramp is big on my list of needed improvements. It needs better lights, and cover for picnic tables as they are all in the sun with no cover. Our boat ramp is a major meeting place for Bradley County every weekend, and I feel it can be put to better use for our city. We now have two new bait-and-tackle shops in town, and we can utilize their presence to bring in more people who enjoy spending time on the river, whether it is to fish, or simply boating.
7. Why do you feel you're a good fit for the Charleston Commission?
Goode: I know what is going on inside, and outside, of the city. I've been here for awhile.
Hammontree — I love Charleston, and the people of Charleston. I'm drawn to the historic significance, and I want to play a part in its future. I'm good with people, and I truly care about our city, and our citizens.
Martin — I moved to Charleston in 1990 after 30 years of construction management on the road. I was born in Englewood, and I'm a Tennessee boy all the way. I have worked for all the local companies, Olin, Bowater, Wacker, and Amazon, before retiring in 2015. I have watched Charleston grow, and struggle, over the years, and now it is my time to help. I would love to see Charleston become a "Jewel on the River." I feel that with input from the community, we can make Charleston a shining light in Bradley County.
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