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 Walden Board of Mayor and Aldermen. One alderman seat and the mayor's seat are on the ballot this year. The candidates' answers are presented in alphabetical order. All candidates were offered an opportunity to submit a photograph, and several did so.
Town of Walden, Alderman (non-partisan)
*Name: Kristin M. Allen
*Why should voters choose you? I entered this race for the simple reasons of advocating for the town's residents and their interests, being a good steward of the community and to do what is best for the Town of Walden now and for future generations.
* What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? The biggest challenge is finding ways to make up the loss of the Hall Tax for the town without raising taxes for homeowners.
*How will you address this challenge? I will look for innovative ways to address the impact of the loss of the Hall Tax by researching grants available for the town and seeking input from the residents on how best to develop a plan for future revenue.
*Campaign Facebook page: https://facebook.com/AllenforAlderman
*Occupation: Program manager
* Education: Master of science
* Family: Married for 16 years to my wonderful husband with one child
*Neighborhood of residence: Summertown
*Church/civic involvement: Treasurer for Chattanooga chapter of UT Alumni Association, past president of IAAP, member of Red Bank Baptist Church but attend The Little Brown Church during the summer months
*Best phone number for voters to contact you: 865-309-4368
*Name: Edward Colin Johnson
*Previous public office experience: N/A
*Why should voters choose you? As a licensed civil-engineering consultant, I have experience overseeing both public and private projects and working with municipalities to manage cohesive development plans and many other aspects of their towns. As Alderman, I will be wholly committed to transparency, vision, and decisiveness to ensure Walden continues to fulfill its mission.
* What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? More than ever before, private development is putting pressure on Walden. This challenge, combined with diminishing Hall Tax revenue, has left town leaders and residents the difficult task of seeking new revenue sources — a debate which has increasingly divided neighbors on how to responsibly grow while maintaining Walden's small-town character.
*How will you address this challenge? "With development at the forefront [of] our town's challenges, our ability to curate contextually appropriate development and manage its implementation is crucial. I am well-suited to oversee new projects and ensure they are being held to incredibly high architectural and engineering standards. Additionally, I have experience managing public capital projects and working with municipalities to pursue, win, design, and build grant-funded infrastructure projects. These funds could be used to offset current capital expenditures and improve the overall placemaking and pedestrian environment in our town. Finally, the town of Walden needs a renewed vision and master plan, and my experience as a municipal consultant allows me to bring perspective and knowledge to help our board discern what Walden wants and deliver it to our residents."
*What policy position of yours might surprise people? Given my profession, voters might find it surprising that I don't consider myself to be a "pro development" candidate. As an elected official, I hold very seriously my job to represent the town's interests and not my own. In fact, I have been purposeful in ensuring that my firm and I have no financial interests in any private or public projects in the Town of Walden.
*Campaign website: www.whatwaldenwants.com
*Age on Election Day: 36
*Occupation: Civil Engineer
*Employer: Ragan-Smith and Associates
*Education: M.B.A. in Global Business, (Georgia Tech) B.S. in Civil Engineering (Georgia Tech)
*Family: Wife - Kirby Johnson, Son - Blevin Johnson (8), Daughter - Salem Johnson (5)
*Neighborhood of residence: Brow Estates
*Church/civic involvement: Lay Leader/Sunday School Teacher - Signal Crest UMC
*Best phone number for voters to contact you: 423-883-6149
*Name: Elizabeth Rollinson "Lizzy" Schmidt
*Previous public office experience: Though I am a relative newcomer to the political realm, I have served my church and community in a variety of ways. I have done a significant amount of low-cost and free legal work for homeless and low-income clients. I have also worked to help criminal defendants regain their driver's licenses. And I actively and financially support my local church and am a member of their missions committee.
*Why should voters choose you? I am an attorney who understands the law. I have experience as a hearing officer, listening to both sides of an issue and formulating a solution that supports the common goal. I also love Walden and want its small-town character to remain unspoiled.
*What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? It is ensuring that Walden grows in a way that is acceptable to all residents and maintains its unique charm. Walden has been a special town since its formation and it would be a shame to allow overly aggressive development to mar its natural beauty and change its very character.
*How will you address this challenge? To address this challenge, I will be aware of the concerns of residents, make important information available to them, and uphold current laws and zoning ordinances. I will encourage community feedback through public forums and personal availability to residents of Walden. I will also insist that the town website be maintained and updated to better communicate important information to everyone. And I will only support developments that meet our high standards.
*What policy position of yours might surprise people? I believe that my policy positions are all clear to the voters through my literature, my website, and the candidate forum hosted at the McCoy Farm and Gardens on Oct. 6 (available online). I want voters to know what they're getting, and I hope there are no surprises from me.
*Campaign website: schmidtforalderman.com
*Age on Election Day: 54
*Occupation: Unemployment Hearing Officer
*Employer: TN Department of Labor
*Education: Juris Doctor from University of South Carolina, School of Law
*Family: married 26 years with three grown children
*Neighborhood of residence: Summertown
*Church/civic involvement: Mountain Fellowship
Town of Walden, Mayor (non-partisan)
*Name:Lee Davis - no response
*Name: William Louis Trohanis
*Previous public office experience: Alderman and Mayor of Walden
*Why should voters choose you? I will keep Walden Charming, Safe, and Affordable.I am the only candidate that can make a full time commitment to leading this community.
*What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? The loss of the Hall Tax revenue presents a significant challenge for maintaining our low property tax rate, second lowest in Hamilton County.
*How will you address this challenge? The recently approved retail development presents the opportunity to offset the loss of the Hall Tax via additional sales tax revenue. This development will become the foundation of the new Town Center and provide a focal point for our community, that is fitting with our mountaintop aesthetic. This Town Center will ensure Walden access to convenience, variety and quality options without leaving the mountain.
*What policy position of yours might surprise people? My vocal opposition has accused me of siding with the retail developer, yet I voted for 23 conditions to hold the developer accountable and ensure a design fitting our mountaintop aesthetic. Just look to the new Firehall as an example of how I worked with the architect to protect Walden's charm.
*Campaign website: www.mayortrohanis.com
*Age on Election Day: 67
*Occupation: Mayor of Walden. Retired after 35 years with P&G
*Education: B.A. at University of Cincinnati
*Family: Married to Jean Trohanis for 40 years, former principal of Signal Mountain Elementary and Thrasher Elementary. We have a son who grew up on the mountain and two darling granddaughters.
*Church/civic involvement: Greek Orthodox Church, current mayor and former alderman of Walden.
*Best phone number for voters to contact you: 423-886-3201