Anderson County Commission Chairman Chuck Fritts wrote this letter in response to a March letter by Clinton resident Stephen Flick.
To the Editor:
With the May 6 primary drawing closer and the Aug. 7 general election not far behind, you are going to start seeing a lot of negative ads, articles, and letters to the editors in our newspapers, flyers/letters in your mail, and ads on your TVs.Â Itâ€™s extremely sad that a candidate can no longer run on their own merits and what they stand for, but they have to try and always attack their opponents.Â In the end, they think that this will win them votes, but in many cases it just turns a lot of folks off and in the long run loses that candidate the votes they are seeking. You used to just see this type of campaigning in the state and national elections only, but anymore itâ€™s starting to get extremely bad even here at the local level. Iâ€™ve been a county commissioner now for 12 years and have gone through three elections, and I can honestly say that I have never ever run a negative campaign. Iâ€™ve run on my merits only and have never attacked another opponent. When I go door-to-door or talk to a potential voter, I talk about myself only and always ask if they have any questions.
The first two elections for County Commission that I was involved in were basically pretty clean campaigns. Things seemed to change in the last election four years ago. Even though there were four candidates running, one of my opponents continued to run negative ads on the radio directed at me only. Why I was singled out since there were other candidates that were running also, I donâ€™t know. I guess when youâ€™re the senior incumbent for your district you have a target on your back. It has already started for this election year, and the primary has not even been held. In the March 15 edition of the Clinton Courier, a pastor of a small church here in Clinton personally attacked me in a letter he wrote to the editor. Iâ€™ve never met him and the Internet says he lives in Knoxville. Iâ€™ve had my pastor to pray for me and my family, to provide spiritual guidance, and to just be there in time of need, but Iâ€™ve never had one to personally attack me on behalf of another candidate. It makes me appreciate my pastor and my church that much more.
By being the chairman of the Anderson County Commission for the past three years, I guess I again carry a target on my back for the actions of the commission. That Iâ€™ll gladly carry. The first 10 years of being a commissioner there have been times of disagreements, etc., between the different offices, but those differences were worked out for the betterment of the county, and we moved forward. All this conflict and turmoil didnâ€™t begin until approximately two years ago. The only change that happened then was that Anderson County elected one new commissioner, a new property assessor, a new school board member, and a new mayor. The make-up of the 16-member Anderson County Commission didnâ€™t change.
County Commission is not constantly fighting the law director and refusing to use his office and follow his guidance. County Commission values the works our law director is doing, and we stand solidly behind him. County Commission is not fighting with the Sheriffâ€™s Department. Instead, we are working together to address the many needs within the county and the overcrowding issues associated with the jail. County Commission follows â€œRoberts Rules of Orderâ€ and a set of rules approved by the 16-member Commission to conduct our meetings. These rules are available to everyone and have been followed by County Commission without any problems. Unless something is deemed an emergency, we try to address everything within a committee to allow time for more discussion and citizen involvement if need be. We donâ€™t want to spring surprises upon the Commission without anyone knowing about it.
This County Commission has been a good group of commissioners, and we have accomplished a lot over the past four years. Yes, I am proud to have been able to serve as their chairman for the past three years. To place the blame on me or anyone else on this Commission for the conflict and turmoil thatâ€™s been going on here in Anderson County is just playing politics and trying to shift the blame and focus where it actually needs to be.
From today until after Aug. 7, be careful what you read and/or see. During this election year, the truth will be twisted, the facts distorted, and every effort possible to try to lead you astray so you wonâ€™t vote for a particular candidate. If you see something and if you have a particular question, call your commissioner and ask him/her for an answer. We would be glad to hear from you! Donâ€™t believe in these negative ads and articles youâ€™ll be seeing. Thatâ€™s what they want you to do. Find out the truth for yourself!
I know that I can safely say, that for at least for the next five months, every commissioner on this Commission will be giving it everything theyâ€™ve got to keep this great county of ours moving forward. Do we rubber stamp everything the comes before us? â€œNOâ€! Itâ€™s our job to make sure what we do is not only the best for our district, but for all of Anderson County! I personally will continue to work hard for the citizens of District 1 and will always make myself readily available if the need ever arises.
Is the source of the conflict and turmoil associated with the County Commission and/or one individual commissioner? No, I believe you would need to look elsewhere for that!
Anderson County Commission