The city of Ringgold has two seats up for grabs on its City Council this election season, with four candidates vying for the two at-large positions to be decided Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The candidates are incumbents Jake Haynes and Randall Franks, along with challengers Kelly Bomar and Rhonda Swaney. The top two vote-getters will be elected.
The Catoosa County News sent a questionnaire to each of the four candidates.
Early voting is currently underway Monday through Friday at Ringgold City Hall and will close on Friday, Nov. 3. Early voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. On election day polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
City Hall is located at 150 Tennessee Street, and voters will need to have a valid photo ID present when casting their ballots.
Anyone with additional questions about the election can contact Ringgold City Hall at 706-935-3061, the Catoosa County Elections & Voter Registration Office at 706-935-3990, or visit the Catoosa County Elections & Voter Registration Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/catoosaelections.
Q&A with Kelly Bomar
Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I am an elementary school music teacher, assistant with the Ringgold Tiger Marching Band, part time worship leader, and small business owner.
Q: What type of local government/if any experience do you have?
A: Being a citizen of Ringgold for 37 years, I have experience with several leadership committees and boards throughout the community and schools, but none in an official, elected capacity.
Q: What made you decide to run for/seek re-election in this year's Ringgold City Council race?
A: My first desire to run came a few years ago when I saw how some of the incumbents were treating our then mayor, Joe Barger. It was, to me, very disrespectful to a senior citizen who is an icon of our town. In recent months I have grown increasingly frustrated with the difficulty it seems businesses are having to grow, there seems to be entirely too many restrictions and roadblocks for new growth. On a more positive tone it is because I believe I have a great vision for the future of Ringgold, one that honors our small town charm but offers an updated perspective.
Q: What types of ideas, plans, or adjustments would like to present for the future of the city if elected?
A: Namely, more events that would draw a younger crowd to our town and showcase our city more than a couple times a year. I would promote transparency in decision making and seek community input beyond just the council meetings I would make sure our police department and city services are sufficiently funded and staffed. Most importantly I would treat all opinions and citizens with respect and dignity.
Q: What do you feel are the biggest issues that exist within the city now, and how would you address them?
A: Guiding our growth to make Ringgold the model city in the Tennessee Valley by continuing to expand our appeal to the surrounding communities. It also seems there is a lot of room to improve in the area of transparency and accountability in decision making. And lastly, making sure our decision making benefits the citizens in and around Ringgold first, not our personal interests. This includes taking steps to ensure our power stays local, and making changes to the charter to protect that ability if necessary.
Q: What would you like to say to voters about the importance of the election to encourage them to get out and vote?
A: We should always vote, those who don't lose their voice. In this specific election I'd say there are several things to consider; if continuing Ringgold's rich history but growing our regional appeal is important you, if honesty and transparency in decision making and budgetary items is important to you, if ensuring our first responders are adequately equipped is important to you, if respecting the older citizens of our community is important to you, then the choice is clear. Together we can do it, I appreciate your support and your vote.