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Leuthold to seek second term to Knox County Commission District 5 seat

Knox County District 5 B Commissioner Craig Leuthold believes he has done a good job for the citizens of his district and wants to continue the work he has started.

Leuthold will face challenger Kyle Phillips in the May 2 Republican primary.

Leuthold cited many accomplishments of his first term in office, including the creation of a new high school in west Knox County.

“I was the leading advocate to secure funding to build a new high school,” he said. “We haven’t built a new high school in Knox County since I think Doyle opened up and I believe that was in 1967 or somewhere in that vicinity. We’re talking it’s going to be the first new high school for Knox County in 30 or 40 years.”

Leuthold said he was the commissioner who pointed out a discrepancy in the amount of money being spent per student.

“I was the one that came up with the studies that showed that west Knox County high schools – Farragut and Bearden and Karns too – were getting the least amount of resources per student than any other high schools in Knox County,” he said. “Those were numbers that I had requested and then got and then used that as part of why we needed desperately to have a new west Knox high school.”

Other accomplishments, he said, included helping with the creation of a veteran nursing home off of Dutchtown Road, a memorial park for veterans at the former World’s Fair site, and the expansion of a senior citizens center.

Leuthold was also a driving force behind the creation of a roundabout at the intersection of Northshore Drive and Concord Road.

Leuthold said he tried to get a stoplight at that intersection, but Northshore Drive is considered a state highway by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

“That’s a case where Knox County can’t tell the state what to do,” he said.

The TDOT officials said a light wasn’t an option because of the lack of land required to install turn lanes. Leuthold said the roundabout was the only option.

Leuthold said he supported the creation of a wheel tax for Knox County. In fact, he had proposed making the wheel tax $41 instead of the current $36, with the extra $5 being designated for school construction funding. An increase in the wheel tax in the future, he said, isn’t something that’s on the table.

“That was really a way, because I had some folks down there at the meeting, to get it on the agenda that day and to allow those folks to speak on their concerns about the need for funding,” he said. “At the time, it was a way to make sure we could get a high school out here. At that very instant in time, we did not have a plan that included any money for a new high school. And that’s when the mayor decided to appoint the committee to investigate further the need for the new high school. I think it served its purpose because that committee did come back and report that there was a true need for the high school.”

Leuthold said he has an advantage over his challenger because of the relationships he has developed on the county commission and his civic activities. He is a past president of the Optimist Club of Knoxville as well as a past lieutenant governor for Optimist International in the Tennessee district. He has also served on the West Knox County homeowners association. He said he also coaches youth basketball for Cedar Bluff Farragut Optimist.

A 1981 graduate of Farragut High School, Leuthold went on to earn a degree in finance from the University of Tennessee in 1985. He and his wife, Brenda, have been married for 21 years and have three sons.


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