Vice Mayor James Maness has officially announced his candidacy for the office of mayor of Mt. Juliet.
Maness stood with his wife and two daughters at a podium in front of a small gathering of about 30 people in front of the Mt. Juliet Police Department Saturday morning. He and his wife, Tracy, took about 15 minutes to highlight his achievements and announce that he would be running for mayor.
The decision came down to influence on planning decisions and the ability to set meetings, Maness told the Mt. Juliet News.
“We have the same vote on the commission, but you know, when it comes down to sometimes influence or committees or other things like that, the mayor does get more input on that, so ... .” Maness said. “And that was really one of the things where I started thinking about what can we do differently in the city, and when it comes down to calling meetings and stuff, the mayor has the ability to call meetings by himself versus commissioners.”
This comes less than a week after Mayor Ed Hagerty announced that he would not be running for re-election this year, stating that he’s served a “proper” amount of time in the office. Hagerty was first appointed mayor in 2011, and he’s had Maness as his vice mayor for the entirety of his service.
Maness had previously been the city commissioner for Mt. Juliet’s second district for less than a year before being appointed vice mayor. Having been reappointed vice mayor four times, James has held the position longer than anyone in Mt. Juliet’s history, and he believes he kept that seat for as long as he did by being the safe choice among city commissioners.
“I’d almost call myself a consensus candidate at that time when I was first appointed, and I think it just got easier to keep reelecting the same person in that situation instead of hashing it out, so I benefited from that.”
Tracy Maness introduced her husband at the podium for his official announcement, and in so doing, she also reminded those in attendance that he had originally been moved toward public service to get rid of the city’s red-light cameras. He was ultimately successful in getting elected and spearheading the policy initiatives that removed them.
Maness has also positioned himself as the transparency candidate, having put together several media platforms for his messaging while in office. He has particularly focused on building his media presence for the past year now with consistent releases of monthly issues of his newsletter, regular airings of his Virtual Town Hall during which citizens can comment and ask questions in real time, and the launch of a brand new podcast now less than a month old.