published Monday, December 16th, 2013

Bradley County commissioner who pleaded guilty to theft plans to run again

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    Howard Thompson has vacated his Bradley County Commission seat.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County Commissioner Bill Winters, who holds a 7th District seat, has announced he is seeking a second term in office.

His work has been spent fostering relations between the Bradley County and Cleveland governments, said Winters, whose district primarily falls within city limits.

"As you review my record, you will find that I have championed the cause of cooperation between Bradley County and Cleveland City," he said in a news release.

Winters was involved in the potential merger of fire protection services, sought animal control solutions and has worked to support new and existing industries, he said.

In regard to education, Winters said he is reviewing Common Core standards and sought to give voters the choice whether to approve a wheel tax intended to fund $14 million in major renovations for Lake Forest Middle School.

Commissioner Jeff Morelock, the sole Democrat on the panel, announced re-election plans for his 3rd District seat last month.

Except for Bradley County Commissioner Bill Ledford of the 5th District, all other members of the Bradley County Commission have either requested petitions for candidacy or announced intentions not to seek re-election. As of Friday, Commissioner Mark Hall, who holds a 7th District seat, is the only one to file a petition.

Commissioners Ed Elkins, Connie Wilson and Brian Smith have said they are not seeking re-election to their 1st District, 2nd District and 3rd District seats, respectively.

Commissioner J. Adam Lowe of the 4th District, who serves as vice chairman of the commission, is campaigning for the House District 22 seat, now held by Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland. Watson is giving up the seat to run for Bradley County sheriff.

Howard Thompson, who resigned from his 4th District seat in May 2011 after he pleaded guilty to one count of attempted theft under $10,000, is making plans to run again. Thompson had been accused of receiving stolen goods at his U.S. Highway 64 flea market.

Thompson, who served more than 16 years on the County Commission, said he's running "because I was able to help a lot of people while in office."

"I've received support from people who seemed to like the work I did," he added.

Dan Rawls, a member of the Bradley County Tea Party, has requested a petition for candidacy for a 6th District seat.

A statement on his candidacy will be released later, Rawls said Friday.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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