County Commission candidate roundup — District 1

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories about races in the August county general election. Check upcoming editions of North Hamilton Weekly for a roundup of other area candidates.

The ballot won’t show it, but there is a contest for Hamilton County’s District 1 commission seat.

Randy Fairbanks, a Soddy-Daisy CPA, won the Republican primary in May over longtime Commissioner Fred Skillern. But Skillern’s political ally and three-term Republican Board of Education member Rhonda Thurman has put in as a write-in candidate against Fairbanks.

Fairbanks said he had planned to spend the pre-election months preparing for his new duties by talking with principals in schools and business leaders about their concerns. But the late write-in effort has forced him to keep knocking on doors and asking for votes.

“Now we’re back in campaign mode, getting out and getting in touch with new voters,” he said.

He doesn’t have any specific plans for the district if elected, outside of watching tax dollars and answering community needs.

Thurman said she is running because she doesn’t feel the primary was a good representation of the people in her district.

“Almost my entire family lives in District 1. So I know the people, I know the district and I know the needs,” she said. “I’m a very conservative person, I speak my mind and I don’t make promises.”

Thurman said she’s running because she wants to make sure several projects Skillern promised discretionary funds to get finished.

Skillern has committed $50,000 to help build a football field at Sale Creek Middle/High School; $50,000 for a fire hall in Soddy-Daisy; and $100,000 to Soddy-Daisy for a running track. Another $100,000 that might be budgeted on July 1 would go to new road and entrance into Daisy Elementary School.

Skillern will have plenty of time to spend that money before September when he leaves office. But Thurman said there are “other projects she’s not at liberty to discuss” that she wants to complete.

Fairbanks said the projects Skillern has earmarked sound like good ideas.

“Every one of those projects is very worthwhile that I would totally support,” he said.