Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wilson Co. (TN) County Commission District 16 Race - Brockman vs. Weathers

A little over four years ago, I ran an article about Jason Brockman, a newcomer to Wilson Co. (TN) politics. At the time, he was running for County Commission in the 16th District hoping to upset the long-time incumbent, Gilbert Graves, who had held the seat for 40 years. Brockman shocked everyone upsetting Graves with 60% of the vote (see the results here). Now, four years later, Graves' daughter, Diane Weathers, is challenging Brockman in his re-election bid. 

Even though he is a first-term commissioner, Brockman has accomplished much during the last four years including :
Jason Brockman
  1. pushing along the Interstate 40 widening project in Wilson Co.,
  2. voting against increasing county property taxes,
  3. voting against increasing the hotel / motel tax, which if passed would've made Wilson Co.'s one of the highest rates in the U.S. likely hurting local hotels,
  4. opposing forced annexation which earned him an endorsement from Tennesseans Against Forced Annexation (TAFA), and
  5. working tirelessly for infrastructure improvements within District 16 and the rest of the county.
He has also been involved in :
  • adding new fire stations,
  • adding an ambulance to the new Mount Juliet fire station,
  • the expansions of three schools, and
  • adding mechanical, plumbing, and framing requirements to Wilson Co. building codes enforcement.
Up until this past Saturday, I had never met Brockman's 2014 opponent, Weathers. I was at early voting holding a sign to support Brockman. Around 9:30 a.m. I saw a woman walking down the sidewalk toward me that I thought might be her based upon pictures I had seen in local newspapers. Weathers passed from my left to my right, went down the sidewalk, lingered for a bit, left a sign, and then headed back in my direction.

I was standing about 10 feet off the sidewalk. When she got to a distance of about 15 yards from me, she looked in my direction, and asked, "Do you live in the district?" I replied, "Yes ma'am." Then, she stepped off the sidewalk and made a bee-line straight to me. At the time, I had no idea what was about to happen. Let's just say that today, I wish I could still say, "I have never met her." Yes, the experience was that bad.

As soon as Weathers got within about arms-length of me, she begin a harsh verbal attack upon me for supporting Brockman. Please remember that the only thing I had said to her up to this point was, "Yes ma'am." I had only treated her with respect, but she still unleashed a disrespectful rant claiming that Brockman was not providing good representation to the district. She waived some handwritten piece of paper in my face repeatedly claiming it showed a lack of attendance at meetings. I asked her if it was "an official county commission document." She never answered the question directly with a "yes" or "no", but instead said she "had researched it all herself" continuing her verbal attack. I guess she just expected me to take her word and handwritten piece of paper as gospel.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Sorry. That ain't happening. I had never met her, didn't know her from Adam, and she had just jumped my a$$ for no reason. So, any credibility she might have had just went to zero. She might be able to jump on some people and get her way, but that dog don't hunt here in Sheepdogland. Never has. Never will.

She had other things to say, too, but I finally had enough. So, I told her that I had not jumped her case and been rude to her when she arrived, and I did not appreciate her doing it to me. I said, "I'm just here to help and support a friend," but that didn't seem to matter to her. As I said, she never answered my question about the document being official but continued the tongue lashing claiming, "We deserve better representation and that's why I am in this race." I grinned, looked her in the eye, and said, "No ma'am. I know better. That's not why you are in this race." She then turned and left. Either she didn't think what I had to say was as important as what she did, or she realized that I was onto her game. I don't think she wanted others hearing my thoughts about her real reasons for running.

English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting
English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Personally, I don't think providing better representation has anything to do with why Weathers decided to get in the race. Remember, I shared that Brockman beat her father, the 40-year incumbent, 4 years ago to win the seat. I think "revenge" and the hope of getting the seat "back in the family" are the motivation behind her campaign. I think that's what this is all about.

So, my first, and hopefully only, encounter with Weathers was not a pleasant one. She came across as a bully. She reminded me of some of the ones I had to deal with back in school who wanted to impose their will upon me and other classmates. I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now. If that is the way she treats people she doesn't agree with, then, if she were to win the commission seat, how is she gonna be an effective representative of her constituents? A person will never agree with everyone all the time. Is she gonna jump on her colleagues, like she did me, when she doesn't agree with them? If she does, she won't be able to get anything done and we will have poor representation.

As I look back on it now, there are so many things I wish I had said to her, but at the time I was in shock. I couldn't believe that someone I've never met, but who wants to represent me, would walk over, get in my face, and jump my case like that. I didn't really know what to say.
Since she kept harping on this idea of "lack of representation", I wished I had asked her exactly how she plans to provide better representation? Why? Because if elected, each year she will have to vote on the county budget. Her husband is a School Board Member and the School Board Chair. The schools budget generally makes up approximately 70% of the county's total budget. Here's a question for my fellow voters of District 16 - is this a potential conflict of interest? I think it is. So, if you agree with me, before you vote, think about the following:
  • What is Mrs. Weathers gonna do each budget year?
  • Should she abstain or recuse herself from voting on the county budget?
  • Should she recuse herself from discussions involving the school's portion of the budget? 
  • How can she properly represent her constituents at budget time?
To me it appears there is a problem whether she votes, abstains, or doesn't. The above questions are tough, but yet important, questions, and they should be considered by each one of us in the district before voting. The good news, though, is that Jason Brockman doesn't have any such potential conflicts of interest. Remember that when you go vote. It may make your decision easier.
Jason Brockman with wife, Crystal, and son, Landyn.
Let's get back to Weathers' claims of poor representation, in regards to Brockman. He has voted against increasing property taxes, voted against increasing the hotel / motel tax rate, helped push along the Interstate 40 widening project when it stalled, strongly opposed forced annexation, pushed back against nepotism and conflicts of interest within county government, helped improve public safety, and continues to push for infrastructure improvements. Does that sound like poor representation to you? Of course not. It actually sounds more like Brockman's doing his job. Therefore, in my opinion, Weathers' claims are not credible.

So, why am I sharing all this? I think it's important for voters to know exactly who the folks are that are wanting to represent them. I also think it's important for voters to know not only about a candidate's record and stance on the issues but also the type of people they are. So, I felt it was important to share some of Brockman's record over the last 4 years and, based upon my encounter with Weathers, what voters may be getting if she were to win.

The main reason I am so disgusted with politics today is because of the way I see politicians and candidates from both sides of the aisle treat others, take advantage of their position, and act like they are above the law. Based upon the way Weathers treated me on Saturday, I wouldn't vote for her for anything. My initial impression is that she is not the type of person I want representing me on the county commission or anything else. Remember, I did absolutely nothing to instigate her verbal onslaught, but I got it anyway simply for holding a sign and supporting her opponent.

Therefore, The Sheepdog's officially endorsing Jason Brockman for Wilson Co. Commissioner District 16. For more information about Jason, please visit his website at The election is August 7th and early voting is taking place now. If you're not sure if you're in District 16, this map may help.

1 comment:

paula jobe said...

Way to go Johnny!