Vacant seats heat up Bradley County, Tenn., ballot

Vacant seats heat up Bradley County, Tenn., ballot

April 16th, 2018 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Kevin Brooks

Kevin Brooks

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Cleveland voters will make decisions on several vacant local and state seats in the Bradley County election on Aug. 2.

In January, long-serving Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland announced he would not seek re-election.

In turn, Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, decided to give up the District 24 seat to seek the mayor's post, and Bradley County District 7 Commissioner Mark Hall switched gears to seek the open House seat.

Brooks and retired educator Duane Schriver have qualified to seek election as the city's next mayor, described in Cleveland's charter as "the ceremonial head of the city" who has a "voice but no vote." The Cleveland mayor has veto power, with some restrictions, over city council actions.

Both candidates talked about why they wanted to be Cleveland's next mayor in recent phone interviews.

Duane Schriver

Duane Schriver

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

"If voters elect me as mayor, it will give me a chance to give back to the city that has given to me so much," Brooks said. "Cleveland is an amazing place to live, work and start a business."

Brooks named planning for long-term growth and good fiscal management as key focuses for the city, also placing a special emphasis on the "comprehensive renovation and revitalization" of the historic downtown industrial district as a major goal.

"I can't wait to get downtown back," Brooks said.

Schriver cites 42 years as a teacher and school administrator as core strengths to serve as the city's ambassador.

"We're doing so many good things and I want to continue that vision," Shriver said. "My goal is to provide fairness to all, favor to none."

He said he feels very strongly about infrastructure needs, especially concerning traffic congestion. Schriver listed the failure to widen the intersection of Ocoee Street and 25th Street several years ago as "a missed golden opportunity."

North Cleveland voters, who make up the core of Bradley County District 7, will choose Hall's successor in the Aug. 2 election. Democrat Tammy Davis, who faces no challenger in the May 2 primary, will run against the winner of the Republican primary: Kevin Raper or Joshua Rogers.

Mark Hall

Mark Hall

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Hall joins three other contenders in the Aug. 2 Republican primary for the Tennessee House District 24 seat: Israel David Farless, Alan Ledford and Garry D. Moore. The Republican primary winner will face Mallory Pickert, who runs unopposed in the Democratic primary, in the Nov. 6 state general election.

At-large Cleveland City Councilman Richard Banks also leaves a vacancy in voters' hands. Four candidates have qualified for the seat: Larry "The Canman" D'Agata, David Durkin, Scott McGowan and Ken Webb.

Two other city council seats are on the Aug. 2 ballot, but only one has been contested. Bill Estes faces no challenger for the District 2 seat, while incumbent Charlie McKenzie defends against Hiawatha Brown for the District 1 seat.

Contact Paul Leach at paul.leach.press@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @pleach_3.