Blount County commissioner Wendy Pitts Reeves answered the question on many people’s minds in the first five minutes of a reception for supporters on Thursday, Feb. 11. The incumbent who holds seat C in District 4 announced she would run for re-election to that position.
Reeves said that over the past year many had encouraged her to run for county mayor. “When you first started saying that, I thought it was sweet and cute,” she told supporters. “I’ve been cornered at Panera (Bread Company) more times than I can count. I have taken (the encouragement) seriously.”
The commissioner said a run for county mayor may be a decision she will consider in the future, but for now, she could think of no higher calling than representing her constituents on county commission. “I’m here to announce my decision to run for re-election to District 4 seat C,” she said.
Reeves said issues such as spot zoning, improving opportunities for citizen input and the increasing county debt are subjects of concern for her and will be subjects she will address in the upcoming election.
“In 2003, our debt was $125 million and now it is $219.8 million. That’s a $95 million increase in debt in six years. That would buy a lot of textbooks,” she said.
Cathie Golden of Maryville said she was supporting Reeves because she has integrity. “I’m a cheerleader for her. I know her to be honest,” Golden said.
Diversity was the key word for Homer and Nancy White of Maryville, saying Reeves gives the commission diversity. “If you take all the Democrats off, you have lost that, and she asks questions,” Homer said.
Nancy White said some of the Republicans are afraid of Reeves. “She digs too deep, and they don’t like it,” she said.
Tom Weston said he has supported Reeves because of her political beliefs. “Wendy will stand up for what she believes in and do what’s right and not what’s politically correct,” Weston said.
Marian Kelly of Maryville said she’s never met anyone as diplomatic about asking questions as Reeves. “I think she’s one of the most important people on the commission,” she said.
Reeves said she thought the event went well, with about 180 people attending.
“I thought there was an incredible mix of people in terms of political philosophies. We had young folks and old folks, people who have lived here their whole lives and some who have moved here from all over the country,” she said. “There was good energy in the room.”
During the reception, Reeves showcased a package she has compiled and donated to the Blount County Public Library. She had agendas and minutes of commission meetings dating back to September, 2006, plus DVD footage of the same commission meetings.
“This way, if you want to research some issue in the county, you can flip through the agenda and minutes, and also have a DVD of that meeting,” Reeves said.
The commissioner said she plans to continue supplying agendas, minutes and DVD footage of meetings to the library.
“When all is said and done, the public will be able to look at video and see what commissioners said and not take someone else’s word for it. The public will be able to research it for themselves,” she said. “My hope is this is a service to the public and they will make good use of it.”