Bill Dunlap is the incumbent in the upcoming 2010 race for highway superintendent, but he doesn’t like to campaign that way.
“I go at it with or without opposition like I’m running behind,” he said during a kick-off reception at the Blount County Public Library.
Dunlap was he was thankful for a tremendous turnout during the April 27 reception and estimated more than 300 turned out for the event.
While he’s been in office since 1994 and hasn’t heard if he’ll have an opponent, Dunlap said each campaign brings the same emotions when planning receptions.
“It’s like every one before. You get nervous wondering what kind of crowd you’ll have,” he said.
Dunlap said he enjoys campaigning. “I like meeting the people, shaking hands and seeing people my dad introduced me to. I enjoy getting around to different community dinners,” he said.
Dunlap said one thing he has learned in his years in office is to be honest. “Be yourself, be honest. If you can do, do, and if not, explain why,” he said.
The road superintendent said 130,000 to 140,000 cars a day travel on county roads. One of the things he emphasizes, he said, is safety for his employees. They recently attended a workshop by the Tennessee Transportation Assistance Program refocusing on the skills necessary for maintaining a safe work environment on the road.
Jim Angel of Blount County praised Dunlap’s record. “I think he’s doing a fine job with the limited funds allotted,” he said.
Roads inspector Ronnie Sharp said he’s worked with Dunlap 24 years. “I support Bill 100 percent,” he said. “Bill’s a great leader.”
Assistant Superintendent Hubert McKee said if Dunlap can help someone, he will. “You have to work for Bill Dunlap to appreciate him,” McKee said. “He’s good.”
Susan Mills, Blount County Republican chair, praised Dunlap for running an efficient operation. “He does a very good job with limited resources,” she said.