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 Randall Franks (incumbent)
Q: What do you do for a living?
Q: What type of local government/if any experience do you have?
A: As a former government journalist elected in 2009, I’ve participated in approximately 900 public meetings, reviewed thousands of documents and 16 annual city budgets, and received close to 200 hours of municipal government training. I coordinated volunteer services for city/county during the 2011 tornado and served as public information officer alongside our county manager telling the world how they could help us.
Q: What made you decide to run for/seek re-election in this year's Ringgold City Council race?
A: There is a saying that "government moves slowly," and in many respects, that is true. Now, more than eight years after my first election, I am seeing some of the early initiatives that my first council adopted to pursue come to fruition. Positive projects are still in the pipeline and I would like to continue serving to see those completed.
Q: What types of ideas, plans, or adjustments would like to present for the future of the city if elected?
A: We change something at each council meeting as we adjust policies or ordinances to be more effective, or purchase equipment to improve the ability of our employees to do their jobs. I think the operation of our city is amazing, our staff does so much with so little, but yet they enable us to give our residents a greater quality of life for the money invested. I am tremendously excited about the upcoming 30-year visioning plan that combines the planning our council has done for many years alongside of the input of the hopes and dreams of our residents, business and property owners. When released in a few months, I know our community will be amazed at the Ringgold we envision together that we all can work to enhance.
Q: What do you feel are the biggest issues that exist within the city now, and how would you address them?
A: Our greatest challenge is also a blessing that many communities desire – growth. How do we manage the economic growth and the doubling in population while keeping the look, feel and community spirit of a small town? Those goals have long been the focus of the council as we listened to our residents and defined the future of our community through improved ordinances, long-term planning, and attracting business, industry and government partners to help us reach the vision.
Q: What would you like to say to voters about the importance of the election to encourage them to get out and vote?
A: It is a pivotal time in our community as we guide the investments made to bring our current and future economic growth. Being an elected official is a privilege and a trust. It is a position of serving others. It requires giving more time than is expected, studying extensively to make sure the right decisions are made for all of us. We are voting for someone asking that person to look out for our future and the future of our children and grandchildren in the town we all love. Every council vote may not have monumental impact on our lives but we never know when an unforeseen incident could occur, or a council vote may arise, that could change everything that means the world to us. Please make your choice for council members based on your faith the candidate will review all the information available and make the right decision for all of us and for Ringgold. Where would our city be without the leadership team we had during the 2011 tornado?