Meet the Candidates for Mayor of Hawkins County | Local News

There are eight candidates running for mayor of Hawkins County.

The same five questions were asked of all candidates. Below are unedited responses from three of the eight candidates.

Stacy D. Vaughan

Why did you decide to run for mayor of Hawkins County?

I am running for mayor of Hawkins County to be active in communities, serve the needs of citizens, and work with the commission to create a reasonable operating budget for the county. My intentions are for the mayor’s office to be an essential part of the county government team.

Please list your educational and professional background and describe what past experience, whether professional, educational or personal, will make you a better mayor of Hawkins County.

I graduated from Volunteer High School and Walters State Community College. Currently, I am employed as a Patrol Shift Supervisor for the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office and Assistant Instructor for Walters State Community College. During my career, I have obtained over 1500 hours of training in public safety, law enforcement, budgeting, team leadership and employee management. I served 14 years as a county commissioner and for over 32 years I volunteered with the Stanley Valley Fire Department. I am a fourth generation farmer residing on my family farm.

What would you like to accomplish as mayor of Hawkins County and what are your main goals?

My biggest goal and challenge will be trying to manage an ever growing budget. A common concern I have heard relates to county roads. I want to support the new road superintendent as well as all the elected officials.

Is there anything you would like to see the county do differently?

For over 20 years I have served Hawkins County as an employee, elected official or volunteer manager of a non-profit organization. My entire career has given me first-hand experience and knowledge of county government operations. I am dedicated, knowledgeable and capable of going to work for you as your next mayor.

Tell the voters of Hawkins County why you should represent them as Mayor of Hawkins County.

I plan to provide thoughtful leadership to the Hawkins County Mayor’s Office by promoting community cooperation, participation and education. My plans include encouraging teamwork with the county commission so they can make informed decisions on issues that impact the community. By keeping abreast of local, state and national issues, the mayor’s office will function as a hub of information that will keep the commission up to date. I want to create a pleasant atmosphere where the inhabitants of the department feel welcome and where employees like to come to work. I humbly ask for your vote and support to be your Republican nominee for mayor of Hawkins County.

Kenneth William Stapleton

Why did you decide to run for mayor of Hawkins County?

The reason I decided to run for mayor is the truth evident over the past few years that there is a growing disconnect between our residents and elected officials. I would like to see a more open and transparent system.

Please list your educational and professional background and describe what past experience, whether professional, educational or personal, will make you a better mayor of Hawkins County.

The education and experience required for this job comes in many forms. My educational experience includes a degree from Cherokee High School, several local Tennessee technology center programs in our immediate area, including teaching, and Wyotech (Wyoming Technical Institute). The experience I have for this job comes from many life implications, including as a representative for many firearms, apparel and equipment companies. I have traveled with and for these companies, directly reflecting the standards and expectations they seek. I have lived and traveled in and across many states, meeting people from all walks of life. This led me to learn that you are only as good as the company you keep. I would like to know that our residents might consider me a friend with county interests at the front of my agenda.

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What would you like to accomplish as mayor of Hawkins County and what are your main goals?

Being a leader and taking responsibility for guiding the county is essential. I will also strive to educate all residents on the importance of voting and to be informed on matters reflecting the needs of the county.

Is there anything you would like to see the county do differently?

I believe there is a separation in our county that with duly elected officials we could begin to go to schools, county departments, communities, businesses and various events to discuss what is needed in various areas of our district because what one area needs is not always the same as the others.

Tell the voters of Hawkins County why you should represent them as Mayor of Hawkins County.

If elected, I offer the opportunity to grow with the community for years to come. I am a leader who seeks to bring cohesion between the inhabitants and the elected officials. Honestly, I hope the people of this county want me as mayor because they can see that I’m going to pursue my goals rather than vote because I’m their friend. Nor do I have any past or current interests that would conflict with my duties as mayor.

Keith Gibson

Why did you decide to run for mayor of Hawkins County?

I want to advocate on behalf of the residents of Hawkins County using conservative principles to seek common sense solutions. Hawkins County needs economic growth and responsible fiscal spending. My vision is to see the next generation have a high quality school system, good job opportunities, and families choosing to stay in Hawkins County.

Please list your educational and professional background and describe what past experience, whether professional, educational or personal, will make you a better mayor of Hawkins County.

I attended Church Hill High School, then went to Virginia Tech on a football scholarship and got a bachelor’s degree, then got a master’s to receive administrative approval. I started working at Church Hill and Volunteer High Schools; and ended at Sullivan Central, with my last eighteen years as an administrator. I am proud to say that I spent 32 years in education. I am currently a commissioner and alderman in Church Hill. These experiences will be invaluable to me as mayor.

What would you like to accomplish as mayor of Hawkins County and what are your main goals?

My primary goal is to plan for prudent spending of Care’s Act funds. No dollar should be wasted or hastily spent. The recruitment of new companies would be an ongoing objective. Economic growth promotes tax revenue, creates jobs and expands employment opportunities. The provision of high-speed Internet access is also important. The pandemic has proven that remote workers depend on reliable internet. Public safety must also be a top priority. Currently, tourism is a priority for the state, so my goal is to see this initiative brought to Hawkins County. I will work with the state for subsidies to support tourism.

Is there anything you would like to see the county do differently?

I want the mayor and commissioners to work as a cohesive group. I will chair the Commission during the monthly meetings. It is imperative that the mayor have a working relationship with the fourteen commissioners. The mayor must be a person who can unify, not a person who causes division.

Tell the voters of Hawkins County why you should represent them as Mayor of Hawkins County.

My campaign message is to serve “One Hawkins County”. I want to be a mayor who represents everyone in Hawkins County with integrity. I will maintain an open door policy to ensure communication with the Mayor’s office is always available. The only promise I will make is to do the best job possible. Check out my website at vote4gibson.com to learn more.