Arlington Board of Aldermen Candidates

Six Municipal Candidates Share Their Visions for Arlington

Election Featured PhotoLast month, The View 38002 contacted the six candidates running for Arlington’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

On September 17, voters will choose from candidates for Board of Aldermen positions 1, 2, and 3. Only the top vote-getter in each position will be elected to a four-year term.

Participating candidates were given a 350-word limit for their responses. The responses printed here are unedited, except for formatting that does not change the content or intent of the answer.

The responses are grouped alphabetically by position and separated by municipality, as that is the way that they will appear on the ballot.

An Electoral Candidate Forum for the Alderman and School Board Candidates will be held on Thursday, August 20 at 6:30pm at Arlington High School. This event is hosted by the Northeast Shelby County Republicans.

Position 1: Brian Elder and Larry Harmon, Jr. ; Position 2: Gerald McGee and Lee Mills; Position 3: Jeff McKee and Harry Spore

Position 1

Brian Elder

Occupation/Career: President, Brian Elder  Roofing

Contact Info: brianelder@comcast. net; 901-848-2546

Why are you running for office?        

For over ten years, I have been active in the community, serving as the President of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Coordinator of the Arlington Fire Department Reserves, Organizer of the Veterans and Memorial day ceremonies, Program Director of Music on the Square, and Chairman of Relay for Life, among other things.

As a US Air Force Veteran,  and owner of 2 businesses in Arlington, I feel I am uniquely qualified to add perspective to the leadership of Arlington.

How many meetings of the board have you attended in the past year? Have you voted in every election in the past five years?

I haven’t attended board meetings. I have voted in all but 1 municipal elections in the last 5 years.

Where do you see Arlington five years from now in terms of industrial/retail/commercial development (and location), infrastructure, population, and new residential developments? What specific steps are you going to take to achieve the five year end state you described?

I am opening a retail space next to Kroger, so I am optimistic and excited about the retail and commercial environment. With the schools and the expansion of 385 through Collierville, we are already feeling the growth. I believe the current mayor and aldermen are doing a great job at managing the growing pains while maintaining the charm of our small town.

What would be the first thing you would do if elected?

I do not seek to be the candidate of change. This position has been held by Glen Bascom who has done a great job for several years. I am mostly satisfied by the direction of the current leadership.

Position 1

Larry M. Harmon, Jr.

Occupation/Career: Battalion Chief with Memphis Fire Department

Contact Info: Elect Larry Harmon Arlington Alderman Position 1 on Facebook

Why are you running for office?        

Most of my life has been devoted to public service and community. I have been a firefighter for 35 years with the Memphis Fire Department. I have been a Battalion Chief for the past 14 years, which has provided valuable management and decision-making experience. I have been serving on Arlington’s Planning Commission for the past several years and have tried to be a strong voice on the zoning issues that affect our town. My service has provided the knowledge and understanding of what is involved in making a community a great place to live. I am running for alderman because I feel it would allow me to better serve our community.

How many meetings of the board have you attended in the past year? Have you voted in every election in the past five years?

I believe that attending the BMA meetings provides a very important way to understanding the inner workings of our town. I have attended approximately three fourths of the BMA meetings over the past year. I have also attended many of the BMA meetings over the past several years, which gives insight as to the future direction of our town. I have voted in every election for the past five years.

Where do you see Arlington five years from now in terms of industrial/retail/commercial development (and location), infrastructure, population, and new residential developments? What specific steps are you going to take to achieve the five year end state you described?

The Arlington that I see five years from now will have a modest increase in population and corresponding growth in residential development to accommodate the new families. I see commercial development that will fulfill the needs of the community but not alter the small town feel that every one came here for. The commercial development should be located where it is properly zoned according to the ordinances and the town master plan. Overall, I would like to see slow, controlled growth for our town. The steps I would take to insure proper growth of residential and commercial developments would be through strict adherence to zoning and design ordinances.

What would be the first thing you would do if elected?

The first thing I would do if elected would be to take steps to insure greater transparency in the operation of our town. BMA, Planning Commission, and other critical meetings would be taped and streamed on the town website to allow our citizens greater access to information.


Position 2

Gerald W. McGee

Occupation/Career: Field Facilities Contract Advisor, FedEx-29 years

Contact Info: www.facebook.com/Reelect.Gerald.McGee;  Cell phone: 901-335-1411

Why are you running for office?

I am currently the incumbent for Position 2, and have held the seat for 3 terms.  I am running for re-election because I have the experience to continue to guide Arlington towards the future.  I have always touted myself as the voice for the people, and to me, those people are the tax-paying residents of our town.  I have always listened to our residents, whether at a formal meeting, or whether shopping at Kroger.  My plan is to continue to do just that.

How many meetings of the board have you attended in the past year? Have you voted in every election in the past five years?

I attend all meetings of the BMA, unless I have planned vacations out of town.  I think that it is imperative that everyone should attend meetings.  Residents need to get their information from reliable sources, and those sources are town hall meetings.  Also, I vote in every election, regardless of how short the ballot.  I have been a registered voter since I turned 18, and I feel that voting is a right and a privilege not to be taken lightly.

Where do you see Arlington five years from now in terms of industrial/retail/commercial development (and location), infrastructure, population, and new residential developments? What specific steps are you going to take to achieve the five year end state you described?

I look to the future constantly. I feel that our town will definitely grow in the next 5 years, and that growth must be controlled by Arlington, not by deep-pocketed interests from outside our town. I certainly want to see our retail options increase, but feel strongly that those increases should come from smaller retailers.  We must not grow just to increase revenues for our town.  We must continue to maintain our current fiscal conservatism, and should strive to always operate within our means.  Continually balancing our budget by the use of our reserves should cease.   Even though residential development does not normally pay for itself, we certainly will continue to increase in that area.  To paraphrase an old adage, “If they come, it will be built.” It always has been, and I see no reason for that to change. I will continue to push for town-friendly development.

What would be the first thing you would do if elected?

Thank my opponent for a clean and positive race.  I will continue doing everything that I can to ensure that Arlington remains a ranked and rated town for both current and future residents.

Position 2

Lee Mills

Occupation/Career: Pilot, FedEx Express

Contact Info:  901-444-1974; Millsdo@gmail.com

Why are you running for office?

I am running for office because I believe I can make a difference in my community. I would bring enthusiasm, fresh ideas and a fresh voice to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

How many meetings of the board have you attended in the past year? Have you voted in every election in the past five years?

Over the past year I have made approximately five Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings. I have also attended numerous school board meetings, special called meetings including town superintendent interviews, all but two Parks and Recreation Committee meetings in the last three years and while serving on the Arlington School Planning Committee I had perfect attendance.
Yes, I have voted in EVERY election in the last five years.

Where do you see Arlington five years from now in terms of industrial/retail/commercial development (and location), infrastructure, population, and new residential developments? What specific steps are you going to take to achieve the five year end state you described?

Arlington is one of the fastest growing towns in Tennessee. There are many reasons for our growth, but I believe the most important reasons are our excellent schools, low taxes and our small town charm. Assuming the economy continues to improve, the next 5 years will continue to bring steady growth.

Because of current zoning and population distribution, the next area that will most likely be developed commercially is the intersection of Milton Wilson and Airline Road.

Arlington is strategically located between I-40 and the soon to be I-269 (SR 385). I believe growth will be highest along this corridor. Within 5 years the areas south of I-40 will begin to develop. The initial growth south of I-40 will most likely be located near the exits off I-269 (SR 385) at Donelson Farms Parkway and Highway 64. I would like to see commercial developments located down this corridor.

Residential growth will continue north of I-40 over the next year or two. It will then need to shift south of I-40.  As we move forward, I would also like to see an increase in lot and home sizes.

We cannot stop the growth. However, we can control it.  I value quality of growth over quantity of growth.

What would be the first thing you would do if elected?

The first thing I would do if elected is to make sure that the town continues to move forward on hiring a new Town Superintendent. This is a very important position and it needs to be filled.


Position 3

Jeff McKee

Occupation/Career: Medical Sales—Stryker

Contact Info: arlitiger@gmail.com

Why are you running for office?

I am running for re-election because of my love for Arlington and the unique vantage point that I bring to this position. I have lived in Arlington for nearly 15 years and we have been involved in the Arlington business community for over 13 years with a business in Depot Square. I have been involved in helping start Music on the Square, the Fall Festival and the Easter egg hunt. My wife and I decided several years ago that if there was a way to be involved in our town, we would choose Arlington first. We live, work, worship and play here. In my first term we worked hard to create Arlington Community Schools. We also saw Arlington rated as one of the top towns to raise a family in Tennessee. I would appreciate the opportunity to continue my service to our great town.

How many meetings of the board have you attended in the past year? Have you voted in every election in the past five years?

Since being elected to my first term four years ago, I have attended at least 50 meetings, including regular monthly board meetings, special called meetings and work sessions. I am also a member of the Design Review Committee and have attended those meetings as well.  I have voted in every municipal election since moving to Arlington in 2001.

Where do you see Arlington five years from now in terms of industrial/retail/commercial development (and location), infrastructure, population, and new residential developments? What specific steps are you going to take to achieve the five year end state you described?

I am supportive of the existing Land Development Plan that was adopted in 2010. These documents ensure that the town develops in a controlled, quality manner. The development plan is very specific where certain types of development will occur. Over the next five years we will see commercial growth at Hwy 70 & Airline, Milton Wilson and Airline, as well as Depot Square. We have made significant progress in improving roads and sewer capacity to accommodate future development. If re-elected, I will continue to support thoughtful execution of our Land Development Plan.

What would be the first thing you would do if re- elected?

I will continue the process that is ongoing to select a new Town Administrator. This is crucial to ensuring the continued success of our town and leadership of our employees. I am hopeful that we will identify and select the right person by the end of the year.

Position 3

Harry Spore

Occupation/Career: owner / managing broker / real estate agent at SPM real estate

Contact Info: office 800-8273;  Harry@Spore111.com; www.HarrySpore.com

 Why are you running for office?

I feel that we need to have at least one true small business owner (and true champion of the small business owner) on the board as well as a Real Estate expert to oversee future developments of single family homes.  Arlington also deserves more diversity on the board of Alderman. Also as a local business owner, I’m here every day. I would be the most accessible, personal source for information and concerns.

How many meetings of the board have you attended in the past year? Have you voted in every election in the past five years?

Less then I should have and no, not every election.

Where do you see Arlington five years from now in terms of industrial/retail/commercial development (and location), infrastructure, population, and new residential developments? What specific steps are you going to take to achieve the five year end state you described?

We have to make ourselves attractive to new industrial growth. I think the retail will stay in the hands of the small business owners. We do not have the demographics or numbers to attract large retailers at this time. Commercial will only come as the population grows and we loosen up or rezone the possible beer sale laws. Applebee’s and Chilies, for example, are not coming to a town to build if they cannot sell alcohol. When the Baptist hospital board sees Arlington and the surrounding area grow they will see the numbers and benefits they need to see to build.  I do see Arlington growing. That is going to happen. We can have good controlled growth that will help push property values up even faster than they are recovering now. Our homes are our largest investments that most of us have. We have got to maximize that return to its fullest potential.

What would be the first thing you would do if elected?

I would check into making minimum lots sizes and minimum square footage of any new construction. Try to install term limits for the board of Alderman and Mayor to a maximum of 2 terms / 8 years. Put in place regulations that would not allow spouses, siblings or parent & child to serve on the board at the same time. This would make for a better, fair and balanced system.

 

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