Loudon County Elections


Abigail Kennedy, Staff Writer

Local government is very important, but many people in Loudon County do not keep up with the local government. They want change but don’t know how to get involved. The best way to make your hometown better is to vote and change who is in office based on how they want to see the town. A person can legally vote when he/she turns eighteen. Loudon County government elections open up on May 1st. They include the following positions: County Mayor, Sheriff, Trustee, Register of Deeds, Circuit Court Clerk, County Court Clerk, Road Commissioner, County Commission, 1st District Seat A, 2nd District Seat A, 2nd District Seat B, 3rd District, 4th District, 5th District Seat A, 5th District Seat B, 6th District, and 7th District.

Each of these positions are crucial to the function of the government and need to be filled. That fact leads to the reason that many of the people that already fill these positions are running for reelection. Although, this can lead to some of the same faces continually staying in the same office positions and leading to a government filled with like minded people. This can have its pros and cons. For example, this can lead to minimal changes occurring within the city and county. On the other hand, there will be less debates and drawn out decisions. Some of the offices that are being voted on in May have one to three opposing politicians.

Many of the more major positions have two or more competitors, and the competition is heating up. For instance, Mr. Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw and Mr. Steve Harrelson are going head to head in the race for the spot as Mayor of Loudon County. Mr. Bradshaw has been the mayor for the past four years and is now running again, while Mr. Harrelson would be new to the mayoral position.

Although Harrelson would be just beginning at this profession, he has already had a role in the Loudon County government. He is head of the Loudon County Parks and Recreation Department, has served on the school board, is currently a county commissioner, and is head of the Loudon County commission. He has also been involved in many community improving projects and organizations such as Rockin’ the Docks, Lenoir City Central Park, Town Creek Greenway, Boys and Girls Club, Young Life, and Downtown Merchants Association.

On the other hand, Mr. Bradshaw has already been in the position of mayor and has also accomplished many things while in office. For example, he has lowered the unemployment rate in Loudon County to the lowest it has been in over a decade, brought about no new taxes, and has brought in $70,000,000 to Loudon County through Capital Investment. He also had a past in government before his role as the mayor. He began by serving as a police officer in 2004 and served for ten years. (He went on reserve after being elected.) He also volunteered with several youth organizations to help ensure a positive future for the citizens of Loudon County.

Some of the smaller seats don’t have any competition. For example, the Register of Deeds, Circuit Court Clerk, and Trustee do not have any opposers. This means that there is only one person running for that office and they will win that position unless enough write-ins go against them. These people have typically been in office for several terms, and while many think they have done a sufficient job to keep them in office, sometimes they only stay in the position because they have no opposition. Having no competition for local elections can lead to no changes and advances in government.

Local elections may not seem like a big deal, but they can make some of the biggest changes in the community and the lives of the people who live there. Without change in the local government, things would never change in the cities and counties across the country. Without local government, parks would never be built, roads would fall to pieces, and new laws would never be passed.