The two open council seats currently held by Randall Franks and Jake Haynes are a big deal for the future of the city of Ringgold. Rhonda Swaney and Kelly Bomar are challenging for those two seats. When you vote, you get to vote for two people you would prefer represent you in our local city government. Sharing some of my tougher experiences over the past two years as Ringgold mayor may help some of you in the decision you have to make. Hopefully it inspires you to get out and vote.
Since I first came onto the council, my main goal has been to keep residents informed about what is happening at city hall and to get valuable input from as many people as I can to make the best decisions for our city. I have taken my job as your voice at city hall seriously, and held nothing back about what is happening in regards to projects, policy decisions, public notices, and politics. To say this has rocked the boat would be an understatement. While I go out of my way not to personally attack anyone….ever….that has certainly not been the case in return.
I have been wrongly accused, in an open council meeting, of breaking the sunshine laws. It was said by another council member in our local newspaper that I am not included in some of the council discussions because of my “propensity to use social media.” In another open council meeting, Randall Franks called for getting rid of me. His exact words were, “This mayoral anchor will drag our residents, businesses, and all of us under, and I think we should throw it overboard.” This was in response to rightfully informing the public that their authority over local government had been diminished by a charter change moving authority away from your elected body to an appointed official (all without our knowledge or consent despite state law requirements that we are told ahead of time). I was told before I made this public that it would be the end of my political career and the attacks would be relentless….. Despite all these hits, I will not punch back. What I will do is tell you that it is happening.
Policy disagreements and dissent should always be welcome. I find great joy in exploring the nuances and ramifications of meaningful policy decisions we regularly have on the council. All our council members want what is best for the city, but demonizing dissenting views and making personal attacks is an unacceptable way to try to achieve that end. Undoubtedly, I will be accused of rocking the boat and sowing discord after posting this. Not posting would be nice, but as long as there’s good, bad, and ugly….you’re going to hear about it.
I look forward to working with whoever wins next week.
Vote at city hall 7 am to 7 pm on November 7th. Set a reminder.