The identifying terms “Democrat” and “Republican” will likely be removed from the equation when it comes to county-level elections here in Carroll County.
At the November 14 meeting of the Carroll County Legislative Body, county commissioners gave unanimous approved on a resolution to send a request to the Tennessee Legislature to pass a private act establishing nonpartisan elections in the county.
If approved at both the county and state level, such an act would mean that candidates for county offices would no longer be labeled as Democrat, Republican, or Independent on local ballots.
“It would also mean the end of Democratic and Republican nominations for candidates in races for elected county positions,” said County Mayor Kenny McBride.
As McBride explained, anyone wishing to run for county offices would be free to pick up and submit petitions as a candidate, but without any considerations given or limitations imposed regarding political party affiliation.
In the past, the Democratic and Republican Executive Committees have held caucuses and selected their candidates that would be placed on the ballot and identified as Republican or Democrat. Although there will still be Executive Committees, no longer will there be caucuses to select the candidates that will be on the ballot.
All county officials had requested the change in a letter sent to McBride.
Carroll County Sheriff Andy Dickson said after the Monday night meeting that he felt it would promote a greater sense of local unity and hopefully keep the kind of extreme political partisanship that has infected government at the federal and state levels from causing division and strife at the county level.
“I have had people to accuse me of being unfair in situations because they believed I was partisan,” he said. “I am the sheriff for all Carroll Countians.”
House member Curtis Halford will introduce the act into the legislature in the 2017 session.
McBride pointed out that many other counties here in West Tennessee are currently considering the move to nonpartisanship when it comes to county government and elections. Hardeman County has already adopted the proposal with the counties of Obion, Henry, Crockett, Gibson and Weakley to be considering it in upcoming weeks.
Other resolutions and items passed at the Monday night meeting include:
•A resolution creating detailed provisions and zoning regulations governing tent-only campgrounds in correlation with existing provisions governing travel trailer and recreational parks. This resolution was initiated by the Carroll County Lake Regional Planning Commission for the Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake. Landowner Steve Pope had proposed to build a campground near the lake, but says he will have to alter his plans now because of the new regulations. A public hearing was held regarding the resolution prior the Legislative Body meeting.
•A resolution appointing Steve Parker to the Carroll County Audit Committee with term ending in May 2020.
•A resolution to amend the current fiscal year budget to include $5,000 donated to the Carroll County Office on Aging from Granges Americas for home delivered meals to clients in the 2016-2017 budget.
•A resolution to amend the current fiscal year budget to account for $36,433.33 being contributed from the Carroll County Electric Department as one third of the cost of removing existing communications equipment from the Charter Tower and constructing a new tower on which to place this equipment. Concrete foundations have already been laid for that tower, which will be located behind the existing Carroll County Jail facility.
•A resolution to amend the Highway Department budget to account for $1,027.60 received from the Huntingdon Industrial Development Board as reimbursement for gravel hauled for use at the shooting range.
• Five persons were elected as notaries. They included: Greg Blackburn, Kim Carter, Clint Manns, Cheyenne Moore and Rebecca Orr.
• The county mayor swore in three commissioners who were recently elected. They included Darrell Ridgely, District I; Lori N. Nolen, District 5; and Gaylon Sydnor, District 8.
• UT Extension County Director handed out information on the agriculture, family and food services that her agency provides.
• Monthly reports from county officials and departments, and quarterly reports of actions of the Carroll County Indigent Care Board were approved.