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Meet Your Candidates

Two Soddy-Daisy men are hoping to win the hearts and minds of District 1’s Republicans for the County Commission seat through the upcoming primaries.

Veteran Commissioner Fred Skillern is defending his seat against challenger Randy Fairbanks, a certified public accountant who has made multiple runs for various public offices but has not yet succeeded.

“They’re [people in the community] just wanting a commissioner who’s more accessible to the people working in the community,” Fairbanks said.

If elected, he said his background as a CPA would be a boon to county taxpayers. He also would focus on getting more in touch with residents, and said he would spend more of the district’s $100,000-a-year discretionary fund on local schools.

Skillern historically has kept a large balance in the fund.

“The younger parents I’ve talked to that have school-age kids are not pleased that [Skillern] holds those discretionary funds and doesn’t spend those on things kids need,” said Fairbanks.

But Skillern, who has represented District 1 for 33 years on either the school board or the commission, said he’s about as accessible as they come.

“I live in my district, I work in my district, so I have regular contact with the people in my district,” he said.

As far as District 1’s discretionary money goes, Skillern said he spends it very conservatively, because he is conservative — but most of his spending goes to schools.

According to county records, Skillern has spent $64,298 since July 2013, and $52,487 of that went toward school programs.

Skillern said the public already has a good idea of what he intends to do if he’s elected again: Keep an eye on the county’s budget and represent the district.

“I plan on running like always. Like I said, I’m not going to change to get elected, and I won’t change after I’m elected. I’m just going to be Fred,” said Skillern. “I’m just going to run and hope the people elect me.”

Whoever wins the April 16 Republican primary for the District 1 County Commission seat will more than likely walk on in the August election. No Democrats are running for the post.

District 1 includes much of the northwest part of the county north of Signal Mountain and west of the Tennessee River.

Districts 2 and 3, which also cover portions of the northwest part of the county, do not have any opponents to incumbents Jim Fields and Marty Haynes, respectively.