Advocating free market principles, business owner and mayoral candidate Terry Frank has been knocking on doors in Anderson County for three months, delivering a message of less regulation and lower taxes.
“It’s just time for a strategy change,” Frank said at a Saturday grand opening ceremony at her campaign headquarters on Oak Ridge Turnpike. “Tax-and-spend isn’t working. We can’t tax our way to prosperity.”
Seeking her first political office, the Clinton Republican has knocked on enough doors that she can tell you how many homes she herself can visit in a three-hour shift: close to 100 in the city and roughly 45 in the county.
Residents at those homes have told her they want county officials to repair and improve roads, and fight drug abuse, including the illegal use of prescription medications.
About 50 people attended Frank’s grand opening ceremony on Saturday, and she encouraged them to help with sending out postcards and knocking on doors.
Frank, 44, has owned Nature’s Marketplace in Oak Ridge since 1993, and she is running against Warren Gooch, an Oak Ridge Democrat in the Aug. 2 county election.
Asked how she would cut the regulatory burden, Frank said county officials could lower the costs of building permits, for example. Many tax breaks are given to big businesses, and county officials should also send a message to other business owners and homeowners, Frank said.
“We want you to build here,” she said.
She said she wants to stabilize the tax rate and then, if possible, lower it. Last year, Anderson County commissioners raised the property tax rate by up to 16.2 cents to pay for a major jail expansion and new alternative school, among other things.
Frank said this could be one of the most expensive races for Anderson County mayor. Gooch may have a larger network of donors than she does and will probably raise more money, Frank said, but she plans to win through grassroots support and a quiet, steady door-to-door campaign.
A former blogger and Anderson County Republican Party chair, Frank said she has a long-standing interest in public affairs.
“I have a long history in Anderson County in being involved in county government,” she said.
Frank said she wants to engage in more long-term planning and make the county more prosperous and a better place to live. She also wants to make the county government more accountable, putting more information online, including databases.
“If it’s online, everyone’s a watchdog,” Frank said.
The winner of the August election will serve a special two-year term, filling the rest of the unexpired term of Anderson County Mayor Rex Lynch. He resigned in January 2011 after being indicted for sales tax fraud.
Former Anderson County Commissioner Myron Iwanski is serving as interim county mayor.