On August 23rd, citizens of Athens will be casting their vote for the two City Council positions that have opponents. In our interview, I asked Charles Sample to tell me what had motivated to seek the District 5 position, and he told me that several people had encouraged him to run. It was after much reflection and prayerful discussion with his family that he decided to enter the race.
Charles spent his career as an electrical engineer, having graduated from Vanderbilt University. He worked for the TVA for 25 years at Browns Ferry and in their customer service department. At Browns Ferry, he helped to bring the nuclear plant back on line to produce electrical power for Athens and the entire Tennessee Valley. With regard to his duties in the customer service department, he said, “Basically, I was a high level trouble shooter. I solved electrical problems for end-use customers, did infrared scans and preventive maintenance." Sometimes “trouble shooting” meant dealing with problems that were “hot,” and by that I mean, they were running at 480 volts!
Another important aspect of his experience was serving on the Athens Personnel Board, which is the means by which City employees seek redress for job-related grievances. “If a City employee had a complaint, they would file it with us. We would hear their side, hear the City’s side, and then make a recommendation to the City Council.” This is a “transferable skill” that Charles feels will greatly aid him as a council member. As part of his TVA job, he had to deal with costs, and found ways to solve problems well, while spending as little as possible. That is another strength he feels he can bring to the table if elected as the District 5 City Councilman.
Here are some more things that Charles has to say about who he is, and how he will serve Athens:
“I will oppose and vote against any new or increased taxes. I will evaluate any expenditure against two criteria: 1 .Is this an expenditure the city should make? 2. Is this the proper amount? Economic growth and job creation require a favorable economic climate. Over-regulation and over-taxation are an impediment to both. I will work to keep regulation and taxation to the minimum necessary. In order to maintain contact with the people of the 5th District and give them access to me, I will schedule periodic town hall type meetings. I believe government’s first priority should be serving the people they represent. We should focus on roads, public safety, and education. Pet political projects are not the proper way to spend taxpayer money.”
I asked him to tell me more about his platform, and he said, “I am very conservative, and I know I need to be fiscally prudent with the people’s money. I want to conservatively and responsibly represent the people. The money is the people’s,” he added. He also said, “I believe that government must learn to live within its means as you and I must.” He mentioned that when he has been out knocking door to door, he has found that one the biggest complaints that people make is that after the election is over, no one ever sees their representative. One of the most important promises he is making will be to stay in touch with the people of District 5. “I will see to it that District 5’s interests will be represented,” he said. Charles mentioned that he is the only candidate who opposed last year’s property tax increase. He also made it clear that he is “not a politician or part of the Athens political establishment. My goal is to serve the people of the 5th District as their voice on the City Council.”
By way of background beyond career, Charles served for several years as a reserve police officer, and is a member of the National Rifle Association. He is also a member of Madison Street Baptist Church. “I am a Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares about the future of our community. I will fight to be a voice for responsible spending, family values, and our 2nd Amendment rights.”
With regard to the possibility of legalizing Sunday liquor sales, he said, “The recent discussions about legalizing Sunday liquor sales have saddened me. I truly want to keep Athens a city that places a high priority on family values. Therefore, I would oppose and vote against legalizing Sunday liquor sales. I reject the premise that Sunday liquor sales would significantly increase revenue. I am sure those who want to drink on Sunday already do. They just buy it on Saturday.”
His final statements were:
“My family and I have been residents of Athens for 29 years. I raised my children here, and my son and daughter-in-law are raising my grandchild here. I love Athens and want to serve its people. Please feel free to contact me with your questions, comments, or concerns.”
If you are a resident of District 5, and this is the type of leadership for which you are looking, then vote for Charles Sample on Tuesday, August 23rd.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner