The following is one in a series of survey responses provided to the Times Free Press by candidates for public office in advance of the Nov. 3 general election. Today we highlight the candidates for seats on the Red Bank Board of Commissioners. Seats up for grabs are for District 1, District 2 and a commissioner at large. The candidates' answers are presented in alphabetical order. All candidates were offered an opportunity to submit a photograph, and four did so.
Red Bank Board of Commissioners, District 1 (non partisan)
* Name: Hollie Berry
* Previous public office experience: I am a newcomer to the political realm but not to public service. From teaching as an ArtsBuild artist in resident at HCS elementary schools with no access to art classes to leading a local team of artists to complete the monumental mural on M.L. King Boulevard "We Shall Not be Satisfied Until," I've learned that strategic planning and community-centered conversations is the best path to a future that works for all our citizens.
* Why should voters choose you? As an accomplished entrepreneur and artist, I bring a unique perspective, creative problem solving, and the ability to envision the long-term future we want for our city; A beautiful, walkable, bikeable town that supports small business and holds on to its family-friendly, small-town feel no matter how much we grow.
* What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? Throughout this campaign, I've spoken to hundreds of my neighbors, and I share their concerns and frustrations after years of not having our voices heard. We've worked hard on plans in the past that end up collecting dust on a shelf. Red Bank is ready for a fresh start.
* How will you address this challenge? My top priority as an elected official is to be accessible and communicate clearly with my neighbors. Providing video recordings of commission meetings online, update the outdated city website, and creating official social media and email accounts residents can follow to receive regular updates. By shelving the Red Bank 2035 plan that was supposedly adopted in 2014, the commission is not only failing to meet the expectations of our citizens but also a waste of resources. To follow that plan we need to start by protecting access to public space in the upcoming development of the old middle school property.
* What policy position of yours might surprise people? I believe in balanced budgets, developing public-private partnerships and finding grants to provide access to services for all our residents while keeping Red Bank affordable for our citizens. Since 35% of our revenue came from sales tax last year, supporting our small local businesses will be our best path forward.
* What past or current public servant do you most admire? Why? Former Hamilton County School Board member Kathy Lennon has been my mentor and cheerleader for years, first as an artist and now for my first-ever political campaign. She taught generations of students and now she is teaching me. I am grateful every day for her selfless dedication to our community.
* Campaign website: https://www.votehollieberry.com
* Age on Election Day: 33
* Occupation: Artist
* Employer: Self
* Education: BFA University of Texas at Austin
* Family: My engineer husband and I were high school sweethearts and have been married for 14 wonderful years. I'm an animal lover with 3 resident cats, a hedgehog, and a rotating cast of foster animals from the Humane Educational Society.
* Church/civic involvement: Humane Educational Society Foster, ArtsBuild Artist in Residence
* Best phone number for voters to contact you: 423-225-5592
* Name: Tyler Howell
* Previous public office experience: Red Bank Commissioner, District 1
* Why should voters choose you? I have a proven track record and have consistently voted for improvements to our city: new residential development, new commercial development, our great parks and public spaces, and to improve our roads, bridges, and infrastructure.
* What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? We need to continue to build on the work that's been going on the past [10 years or so] in Red Bank. Recruit new businesses, use our planning commission and design reviews to keep our city beautiful, invest in our parks, improve our sidewalks and continue to make our city more walkable.
* How will you address this challenge? I have already taken steps to address our challenges and it's clearly reflected in my voting record. I have great relationships with local businesses and will continue to recruit them to Red Bank. We have funded and improved our parks while I've been on the commission, are adding sidewalks in numerous areas, have a number of paving projects underway, and are improving our crossings with signal upgrades.
* What policy position of yours might surprise people? I have three little boys and strongly support the improvement of our parks, as well as working hard to make our city more walkable.
* What past or current public servant do you most admire? Why? Dalton Roberts. He was a visionary county mayor who saw the greatness of our county, encouraged commercial development, and loved our natural beauty. He spoke his mind and listened to all our citizens. And like me he was a musician, so I share an affinity with him.
* Campaign website: www.tylerhowellredbank.com
* Age on Election Day: 34
* Occupation: Employee Benefits Broker
* Employer: Haren Insurance
* Education: M.Div., Trinity International University; B.S. Belmont University; McCallie School
* Family: Wife, Lindsey - three sons
* Church/civic involvement: Red Bank Chapel; Board Member - Red Bank Chamber Council; Commissioner, District 1 - City of Red Bank
* Best phone number for voters to contact you: 423-718-7402
Red Bank Board of Commissioners, District 2 (non-partisan)
* Name: Bill Cannon - no response
* Name: Stefanie Dalton
* Previous public office experience: I have always valued service to my community, but this is my first time running for public office. I have over a decade of experience as a civil servant for two State of Tennessee departments, as a social worker in the public mental health and private health care sectors, and as a community organizer and advocate for children in the Hamilton County school system. The most fulfilling and meaningful moments in my life have been those of helping others, whether by connecting someone to needed community resources, building classroom libraries in our schools, or volunteering to clean up our streets or serve food to those in need.
* Why should voters choose you? As a devoted mother, wife, social worker, and Red Bank resident, I have the unique ability to bridge gaps in communication with my neighbors. I prioritize service over self-interest, and I place high value on community-led initiatives and will advocate for partnerships that support our vision for Red Bank's future.
* What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? In talking with my neighbors throughout this campaign and hearing their thoughts and concerns, I've found that one of their greatest issues is trust in our City government. Red Bank citizens are frustrated over having their concerns ignored, having plans shelved for years, and having little governmental transparency.
* How will you address this challenge? Transparency starts with openness, a willingness to listen, honesty, integrity, and accessibility. I have already started addressing this challenge throughout my campaign by having conversations with my neighbors and listening to their concerns, taking constructive feedback, and providing awareness about developmental and infrastructure projects, especially concerning the old Red Bank Middle School property on Dayton Boulevard. That property has been under a wastewater moratorium for seven years, but that was lifted on Sept. 1, 2020. However, because of a lack of governmental transparency or efforts to raise awareness of this project, almost all citizens were unaware of this upcoming development.
* What policy position of yours might surprise people? I'm an advocate for keeping property taxes low and expanding owner rights on private property. Red Bank property taxes can stay low by generating more revenue from other sources, such as sales tax and grants, and ordinance language can be updated to expand and empower owner rights on private property.
* What past or current public servant do you most admire? Why? I greatly admire Frances Perkins for her achievements on behalf of worker's rights, social service, child labor laws, and the Social Security Act. As the first female cabinet member, she set the bar high for all public servants, and I'd be honored to continue her legacy of service to others.
* Campaign website: www.votestefaniedalton.com
* Age on Election Day: 37
* Occupation: Social Worker
* Employer: Currently a Stay-At-Home-Mom
* Education: "Bachelor's in English from East Tennessee State University; Master's in Social Work from University of Tennessee"
* Family: I have been married to my wonderful husband, Bobby, for seven years, and our son, Leon, is 5 years old and just started Kindergarten at Alpine Crest Elementary. We also have three furry rescues that make our family complete: Luna (calico cat), Amos (black cat), and Boone (lovable mutt).
* Church/civic involvement: Community volunteer (litter clean-up, food pantry, clothing/necessities drives, projects for Hamilton County Department of Education)
* Best phone number for voters to contact you: 423-914-1870
* Name: Mitchell Meek
* Previous public office experience: None
* Why should voters choose you? I grew up in Red Bank and I love our community. As an engineer, I have skills in problem solving, project leadership, and budgeting that I am excited to bring to the commission board in order to promote successful growth in our city.
* What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? There is a delicate balance between growing and developing the city while being careful to keep our identity as a small town.
* How will you address this challenge? I will work diligently to keep a good working relationship with co-commissioners, city staff, and citizens. Additionally, I will always keep the city's best interests in mind while evaluating businesses and developments looking to move into our community. We must attract the right establishments in order to maintain our characteristic "small town" feel that makes Red Bank such a wonderful place to live, play, and work.
* Campaign office phone: 423-313-7317
* Campaign office email: email@example.com
* Occupation: Reliability Engineer
* Employer: Mars Wrigley Inc
* Education: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
* Family: Married to Arden
* Church/civic involvement: "Attend First Presbyterian Church; Board Member of YMCA HLC at North River"
Red Bank Board of Commissioners, Commissioner At Large (non-partisan)
* Name: Rick Causer - no response
* Name: Peter H. Phillips (no photo provided)
* Previous public office experience: First time Running
* Why should voters choose you? I have proven leadership in the business community serving as the president of the Chamber of Commerce for Red Bank. I have run a successful business at Clean Sweep for the past 20 years, and I am willing to serve on the Commission and be a level head for the development that is coming to the city.
* What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? We must direct and plan all the development, green spaces, and parks. To get the best results we need community input and a business-friendly commission
* How will you address this challenge? First find out what we want in our community, then we make the plan and work the plan.
* What policy position of yours might surprise people? That we need to rebrand our city and tell the people who we are, not what they heard 30 years ago! I propose that we erect banners that tell of all the events that are happening in our city and changing the narrative on how people perceive our city.
* What past or current public servant do you most admire? Why? Teddy Roosevelt — not the most polished but determined to fight for America, while creating the national parks!
* Campaign website: petephillipsforcommissioner.com
* Age on Election Day: 55
* Occupation: Owner of Clean Sweep
* Employer: Clean Sweep Inc
* Education: Hixson High School '83
* Family: Married all my children are grown
* Church/civic involvement: I hold my charity and church as very personal.