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Williams new Ward I alderman; almost doubles foes in vote

Local endocrinologist Dr. John B. Williams won the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen Ward I race Tuesday, April 10, and will replace Alderman Joel Garber on the Board effective April 26.

Williams faced local residents Ron Rochelle and Robert Bob Edlund for the seat and prevailed. Knox County Election Commission records show out of 907 votes cast, Williams earned 453 votes or almost 50 percent of the vote. Edlund earned 258 votes, or 28 percent of the total. Rochelle earned 196 votes, or almost 22 percent of votes cast.

Ward 2 incumbent Mary Dorothy Dot LaMarche faced no challengers and won re-election with 165 votes.

Williams said the support the community has placed in him is a moving experience.

I feel humbled, quite frankly, that so many people stepped forward to expend so much energy and time to make this possible, he said. Im looking forward to having the opportunity to work with the rest of the Board to continue to see the town does well.

Williams said his first goal would be to see to the needs of his supporters.

Many of my supporters are very happy with their lives in the town, but they are a little nervous about this school rezoning issue, he said. I cant help but feel the magnitude of the support is linked in many ways to not being zoned for Hardin Valley. That makes me feel its important the town immediately establish a new relationship with the school board on school-related issues within the town.

Williams said he plans to spend the next couple of weeks educating himself on this issue and others before he takes his seat on the Board.

During his campaign, Williams said he would like to see some type of community center be developed in the town.

My first priority would be to address the lack of a community center, he said. I think the town needs to build a central community center that includes meeting rooms, performance spaces, recreational spaces, etcetera, that would give leisure services space to do things for the town. It would decompress town hall and allow the municipal government to expand into more facilities there. Even the museum could potentially be re-located.

Williams said he would address the needs of businesses in the community, an area he feels is much neglected by town administration.

Ive had conversations with business people in town and there seems to be difficulties in dealing with the town over business issues, he said. One that comes up very frequently is restrictive sign ordinances, and it seems to be a double-edged sword in that everyone recognizes the aesthetic value of preventing inappropriate signage.

But at the same time its highly restrictive to support their business.

As for a solution, Id like to see some sort of liberalization or compromise on issues like that, Williams said. I dont think the town has done a very good job marketing itself in terms of recruiting retail and commercial enterprises.


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