With District 3 Wilson County Commissioner Dan Walker opting not to seek re-election, Bobby Franklin and Paul Harvey each put in bids for the seat in the Aug. 7 election.
Franklin is the former Mt. Juliet planning director for seven years. He also worked as city manager in Lakewood for three years. He currently works as marketing director for Alco Products in Murfreesboro.
Franklin grew up in Donelson and attended Middle Tennessee State University before working for UPS for 15 years. He’s been married to Barbara King Franklin for 32 years, and the couple has two children. Their daughter is a second-grade teacher in Wilson County, and their son works at UPS. They also have two grandsons.
Harvey chose not to answer questions from The Democrat.
What prompted you to seek office? Was it a personal initiative or did others encourage you?
Franklin: Family and friends have asked me to run for office.
What are the most important issues in your race, and how do you plan to address them?
Franklin: The citizens of Wilson County deserve a more open and transparent government.
The county should publish a balanced budget every year and make it available on its website. The commission should stream all of its committee and full meetings for citizens to see. The video should be available for any citizen to review online. It is 2014 in Wilson County, too. The commission should not allow county employees to be commissioners. This conflict of interest is not fair to the citizens or other county employees. I will introduce appropriate legislation to accomplish these goals.
What would you say to voters opposed to your running for office to convince them you are the most qualified?
Franklin: I have 10 years of experience overseeing multi-million dollar budgets in the public sector. Each budget that I oversaw finished with surplus.
I’m am very familiar with state law and what it authorizes elected officials to do – and what it prohibits them from doing. I believe in the rule of law. It’s not enough to want to do something good. You have to know how to do it the right way. I’ve served alongside elected officials from every county in Middle Tennessee on the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Regional Transportation Association and the GNRC. I’ve learned a lot from them about what good county government looks like. My experience will allow me to “hit the ground running” if elected.
What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?
Franklin: I was director of planning in Mt. Juliet from 2000-07. My department recruited Providence Marketplace, Paddocks, Del Webb and administered 77 planning commission meetings. My department obtained the funding to widen Mt. Juliet Road, improve its interchange and build the Beckwith Road Interchange. I have a thorough understanding of the county’s infrastructure, and a proven track record of improving it. The recent changes in the state annexation law have a lot of the infrastructure building burden now up to the counties. County government is going to have to be smart and plan for the long term.
How is your experience – or lack of experience – a plus or minus for the position you are seeking?
Franklin: An effective commissioner must be able to bring legislation to a vote of the board. I have served on, and for, many boards and understand that process – I was elected parliamentarian of the MPO Technical Coordinating Committee in 2007.