published Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Mitch McClure runs on record, love for Middle Valley

Campaign volunteer Bob Mullin, left, helps  of District 3 Hamilton County Commissioner Mitch McClure put out campaign signs. McClure is running against Marty Haynes for the commission seat.
Campaign volunteer Bob Mullin, left, helps of District 3 Hamilton County Commissioner Mitch McClure put out campaign signs. McClure is running against Marty Haynes for the commission seat.
Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse.

MITCH McCLURE

Born: 1957 in Cleveland, Tenn.

Family: Wife, Sherri; daughter, Sara, 25; son, Jonathan, 22

Education: Associate of science degree from Cleveland State Community College; master’s degree from Church of God Theological Seminary

Job: Pastor of Middle Valley Church of God

Community activity: Loftis Middle School Parent Teacher Association past president, Hamilton County Pachyderm Club past president, Ganns Middle Valley Community Council past chairman

Mitch McClure’s Middle Valley Church of God sits across an intersection from a store his granddaddy built.

The pastor-turned-interim Hamilton County commissioner describes his move 15 years ago to Hamilton County as a type of homecoming.

Though McClure was born in Cleveland, Tenn., went to East Tennessee State University and worked as pastor of a church in Knoxville, he always had family ties to Hamilton County’s Commission District 3.

“Any room I go into in Soddy-Daisy, Middle Valley or Hixson, I wouldn’t doubt if a third of the people in that room are kin to me,” he said as he held a 4-foot campaign sign steady last week along Gann Road.

The large red county commission sign doesn’t say “Re-elect,” it says “Keep.”

McClure’s fellow commissioners appointed him in January 2011 to fill a position left vacant when District 3’s Jim Coppinger was named county mayor. A March 6 primary now requires McClure to campaign for the first time in a special election to serve the last two years of the term.

After his appointment, McClure was named chairman of the commission’s Securities and Corrections Committee. In that role, he’s drawn on his experience as a member of a previous blue ribbon committee for the commission and senior chaplain of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

His body of work has been enough to convince former Lakesite Mayor Bob Mullin to back McClure. Mullin, a retired nuclear engineer, has been driving posts for McClure yard signs for weeks.

“I just appreciate his work habits and integrity,” said Mullin, who serves with McClure on the Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department’s board of directors. “He’s doing a great job.”

Though he’s long been active in Republican politics, serving as a past president of the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club, this year has been a lesson in resident relations, McClure said. He’s been called about stray cats, neighbor disputes and annexation concerns.

McClure gained Hamilton County resident Gene Hatfield’s support for responding promptly to one of those calls.

“I met Mitch through a little situation we had over at my house one day,” Hatfield said, declining to talk about the nature of his call.

McClure said he hasn’t had much time to campaign, but he’s raised more than $10,000. His pastoral duties, volunteer work at the fire department and County Commission requirements dominate his time, he said.

He called a town hall meeting for Tuesday night at Hixson Middle School to discuss the county’s uptick in violence. Months ago, he met residents at Loftis Middle School to take a stand against Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield’s proposed changes to the county’s urban growth boundaries.

“If you do the job of a county commissioner, it’s a full-time job,” he said.

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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