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Hamilton County Commissioner Jim Fields

Jim Fields says it's really no secret he will not seek a third term on the Hamilton County Commission in 2018.

Fields, a 62-year-old attorney who represents the Signal Mountain and Waldens Ridge communities, said he made it plain when he first ran for office in 2010.

Back then, he said he favored term limits and did not see himself serving on the commission for more than two terms, according to Times Free Press archives.

"I just believe that government is best when citizens do the job for some period of time and then they get out to let somebody else do it," Fields said after a recent commission meeting. "I think you need fresh blood, I think you need fresh ideas. I don't want to overstay my welcome."

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Fields said he believes the nation's founding fathers never really envisioned long-term service by elected officials. Turnover of elected representatives "keeps everybody on their toes," Fields said.

When he completes his second term, he will focus more time on his law practice, Fields said.

"I have not given up my practice, but my practice has taken a little bit of a hit because the time I've devoted to commission work was not time I could devote to my practice," he said.

Commissioner Warren Mackey, who represents District 4 and sits next to Fields on the commission dais, praised his colleague's legal mind and for "rendering outstanding service" to the county.

"He's asked the right questions to make sure agreements we have entered into are well-grounded," Mackey said. "In addition, Commissioner Fields has been a pleasure to work with. He doesn't bring confusion. He has clear thoughts that he's able to articulate and I'm going to miss him on this commission."

The commission elected him vice chairman in 2011 and 2013, and chairman in 2014.

When it comes to accomplishments, Fields readily shares credit with the rest of the Hamilton County Commission.

"This commission has spent a tremendous amount of money in building new schools and renovating schools and putting in additions to schools," he said. "We have put a lot of money in the volunteer fire department system in the county. Those kinds of things are very positive."

He cited the county's support of the makeover of the Waldens Ridge volunteer fire hall as an example of good government.

Last July, the commission voted 9-0 to purchase land on which to build a larger facility for the 61 volunteers who serve in Waldens Ridge Emergency Service.

Waldens Ridge Emergency Service Chief Jimmy Hillis has said the existing building no longer serves the needs of the department and the next one needs to last 50 years.

"Our guys can't even shower before they go home at night or fix a pot of hot soup during inclement weather," Hillis said 0f the 37-year-0ld Taft Highway fire hall.

Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or pleach@times freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @pleach_tfp.

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