Editor’s Note: The following is a series of questions and answers taken verbatim from a Lebanon Democrat questionnaire recently filled out and returned by each candidate in the District 7 Wilson County Commission race. The Democrat will publish the responses from candidates in this and other races leading up to the Aug. 7 general election.
Scott Brady and Joshua Hinerman challenged incumbent Wilson County Commissioner Terry Scruggs for the District 7 commission seat in the Aug. 7 election.
Scruggs is owner and operator of Terry’s West Main Texaco and Wrecker Service for the past 13 years. He has also worked for Wilson County Emergency Management Agency for the past 15 years. He previously worked for Jersey Manure Zinc Mine for 18 ½ years.
A high school graduate, Scruggs attended auto mechanics trade school in Trousdale County.
He is married to Mary Scruggs, and has one daughter, Jennifer Scruggs Brown, and two step-daughters, April Jennings and Audra Murray, who he said he considers his own children. He also has two grandchildren, Kane Greer and McKenzie Greer, and three step-grandchildren, Marissa Jennings, Alicia Jennings and Madison Jennings, who he said he considers his own grandchildren.
Hinerman moved to Wilson County to join the Wilson County Board of Education’s transportation department, where he served as operations and safety manager and currently director of transportation.
He has worked in the public sector for 13 years, of which he prepares to begin his 14th year in public schools. He served in various positions with Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers for more than seven years.
Hinerman has a bachelor of arts degree in human resource management and a transportation management degree.
Hinerman is single and has no children. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and grew up in Cornersville.
Brady did not provide a profile to The Democrat.
What prompted you to seek office? Was it a personal initiative or did others encourage you?
Scruggs: It was both. A good friend came to me and said he had been trying to get a hold of our county commissioner at that time, and he said they called the county commissioner three times, left all the information on their answering machine each time and never got a return phone call. That person said I should consider running for county commissioner, knowing that I was always helping someone. I thought about it for a while, asking friends, family and co-workers what they thought about me running for the county commissioner seat. They were all for me running, telling me that I’m always there to lend a helping hand no matter what.
Brady: Quite simply, I believe that I could make a difference. Although, I’d be wrong to not mention that my family inspires me and constantly reminds me how important it is to spend your time not only improving your life, but also helping to serve and support those around you. I have been serving the people of Wilson County in the Postal Service for more than 20 years and I desire to serve in a more significant way.
Hinerman: When I looked at the array of issues facing our county and the challenges ahead, I felt strongly that I could make a valuable contribution. I have dedicated a large portion of my life to service, serving my family, church, community and employer. When I thought about the prospect of running for office, I concluded that if I truly wanted to make a difference in this county, I had to run. Yes, I sought counsel and advice from those close to me. They all encouraged me to run. I was hesitant, but ultimately my passion for service prevailed.
What are the most important issues in your race, and how do you plan to address them?
Scruggs: The citizens of Wilson County are the most important issues in my race. I am here for them, not for myself. I am their voice, the voice of for the people.
Brady: I believe we have room to grow, expand and support small businesses and industries. I’d love to be at the forefront of that type of initiative and growth in my district. But overall we live in a beautiful and successful county, and I want to keep it that way. If it’s possible to make this county a better place to live, I want to be a frontrunner in helping make that happen. It’s like this – you can have the most perfect diamond available, but even it needs to be polished now and then.
Hinerman: Education and rapid growth are two major concerns for me. I understand that Wilson County is growing rapidly, and I want to work as public servants to ensure that we provide all the resources to help all facets of government succeed; however, I understand that for government to be able to perform at its optimal level, it will require well-run departments and disciplined leadership across the board. Education is certainly a cause I will always support, and I believe that we should never allow ourselves to lose sight of this most important investment into our future, our children.
What would you say to voters opposed to your running for office to convince them you are the most qualified?
Scruggs: The candidate did not answer this question.
Brady: I would remind them that I am well aware that citizens depend on county government now more than ever before and that makes it even more important that a commissioner be not only qualified for the position, but also completely dedicated.
Hinerman: Wilson County is the greatest county in Tennessee. The residents of this county are hardworking, decent people, and I believe they want someone who is an outsider, who understands their position and is honest and transparent. They want someone who can look at the issues with subjectivity and not with his own interest at heart. If I am afforded that privilege of serving the residents of District 7, I will be their voice on the commission. I will place their concerns before my own, as we are only truly happy in this life when we are serving others.
What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?
Scruggs: I bring history. I moved here from Trousdale County 38 years ago because I wanted to be part of this great county. I know the people, listen to them and know what they want.
Brady: I have no long-term political connections, loyalties or family connections, so I have no preplanned commitments to any special interest groups. So, what’s best for the people and greater good of the district will be my focus.
Hinerman: Obviously my opponents have a long history in Wilson County. I wouldn’t seek to trivialize that in any way. But I believe the citizens of Wilson County want something new…a fresh set of eyes and a new approach. They want a new face to represent them. Having years of experience and repertoire can be a great asset, but I also believe it can hinder an organization when leaders become complacent in the work they have been called to perform. I believe I will bring new ideas and a new perspective to the commission. My opponents can’t make that argument.
How is your experience – or lack of experience – a plus or a minus for the position you are seeking?
Scruggs: I made positive changes during my last term. For example, I supported the people of the Highway 231 South area with their request to keep a camper sales from moving into their residential area. I got speed limit signs and children at play signs installed in areas where people were requesting signage for years. I worked with the Animal Control Committee to help make positive changes to their policy for better animal control in Wilson County. Those are just to name a few.
Brady: During my time at the Postal Service, I served in management positions over the main post office, as well as the annex and the carriers of both. During this time, I developed many relationships with not only my fellow employees, but also many in the community. This as well as other business experiences I have had should be helpful in that they have gotten me out in my community among the people. I’ve shaken hands, laughed with and gotten to know my neighbors. Therefore, I’m a familiar and friendly face that welcomes input and advice from the people I will serve.
Hinerman: As indicated previously, I am the outsider in this race. I believe having experience is certainly an honorable quality, but too often, with longevity, it becomes more about the individual and less about the folks who elected you to office. It becomes more about cronyism and less about delivering good policies for the people. I strongly believe we need a new, fresh perspective. We need new ideas and common sense solutions to the various issues that we are tasked with addressing.