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County Commission Dist. 9

Term: 4 yearsThe commissioner makes policy for the county, adopts county budgets, approves taxation and financial decisions, adopts ordinances, and makes land-use decisions. The commissioner is responsible for all county legal matters, health services, social services, highway and other safety programs, personnel, benefits, grievances, recreational facilities, county roads, sewers, solid waste, all county vehicles, garages, and parking lots. The commissioner also approves the sale of delinquent tax property.

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  • Candidate picture

    Steve A. Caudle
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Steve Highlander
    (Rep)

Información Biográfica

What was your impression of the county’s redistricting process and the new 11-district map adopted last fall?

What is your position on providing discretionary funds to each Hamilton County commissioner?

A Chattanooga Times Free Press report states that homelessness in Hamilton County increased 81% in one year. How would you work to remedy the situation of homelessness in our county?

What is your position on the county relinquishing control of Erlanger Hospital?

Do you think there is sufficient diversity in county government? If not, how would you change that?

Campaign Website / Ballotpedia http://www.stevecaudle.com
While the new eleven district map is an improvement, results could have been even stronger had the process not been rushed. This redistricting was an extremely complex, one that demanded more time for the Commissioners and their constituents to study the map and analyze the data; however, that time was not given. Citizens who spoke their concerns to the commission appeared baffled by the haste of the process. The haste raises concerns about transparency or a lack thereof.
Discretionary funds can be beneficial — they can be an opportunity to fund small capital projects that are vital to the community but have few other ways to get funded. But if discretionary funds are brought back, there needs to be transparent restrictions and criteria attached to the funding. I advocate that the funds be (1) Limited in amount. (2) No annual roll overs. (3) Restrictions and criteria on funding expenditures should be instituted.
Homelessness is a consistent wound upon the flesh of American life. It exists for a variety of reasons: lack of affordable housing, gentrification, mental illness, substance abuse, poverty, unemployment, and racial discrimination, have combined to cause homelessness to trouble our nation. As County Commissioner, I would advocate for a partnership with the City and County Mayors, along with the City Council and County Commission, to address the problem. While many of the services to alleviate homelessness fall under the umbrella of the City’s responsibility, the County must work to connect people experiencing the problem. Lastly, I would suggest that we partner with the National Alliance to End Homelessness, who offer proven solutions.
I am open to exploring the process of transitioning Erlanger to a non-profit structure like UT Medical Center in Knoxville has already done. However, my primary concern is maintaining its status as a “safety-net” hospital. My direction to the County Attorney would be to investigate every angle of this transition to ensure that there will be no compromise or change of care for low-income or uninsured patients. If there is any indication that removing county authority would reduce the level of care offered, I would firmly oppose it.
I believe that more diversity is needed within our county government. In 2021, the racial employment make-up of the Hamilton County government was 83% white and 13% black. That's compared to 2019 census data, which indicates Hamilton County's population is about 76% White and 19% Black. The numbers clearly indicate that there is not enough diversity within our county government. More needs to be done. I would advocate that the county follow the example of the city by hiring a Director of Equity and Inclusion.
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