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Former D5 commissioner now Knox County Commission chair

Mike Hammond, former District 5 county commissioner, is a new at-large commissioner and commission chair.

“I still consider myself representing the fifth district, even though I’ve moved to South Knoxville. I feel like, as an at-large commissioner, I represent everybody,” Hammond said.

“There will always be a soft spot in my heart for the fifth district, because they are the ones who gave me a chance to be on commission,” he added.

Hammond has served six years as a commissioner, in a partial and a full term.

Since being elected as an at-large commissioner, Hammond has moved to South Knoxville, but said West Knox County and Farragut always will remain dear to his heart.

“Getting to know the people in that district and getting to represent the people, not only in the fifth district but also the town of Farragut, was special,” Hammond said.

“I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now without the people of the fifth district. I still have very much of an allegiance to their issues and needs and problems, and I’m still going to be very active in terms of being visible and active with what’s going on down there,” he added.

The most important thing to address as commission chair, Hammond said, is restoring voter confidence in county commission.

“The county commission has been the laughingstock of county government now for the last three or four years. We’ve been the subject of jokes and editorials and cartoons in the paper.

“People just basically, I think, lost confidence in the commission,” Hammond said.

“So my job and my goal is to try to restore some of the confidence. ... I want to get the commission out into the community more.

“When issues come up, I want us to actually go into the community where the issues are occurring, talk to people, gather information,” he added.

Since Hammond was named chair, commissioners already have traveled to the Knox County Detention Facility to learn about the mentally ill and to Carter Elementary School to discuss renovations versus new construction.

Hammond said he also would investigate taking some commission meetings into community venues and out of the City County Building downtown.

“One of the goals I have is to have a county commission meeting at Farragut Town Hall. I’m hopeful we can work that out,” Hammond said.

Hammond also has a personal goal of spending “a day in the district” with each of the separate district’s commissioners and school board members, meeting people and discussing issues.

“One day, spend an entire day visiting places in the eighth district, then spend a day visiting the fifth district ... visiting business people, schools, organizations and so forth,” Hammond said.

Hammond said he was proud of his accomplishments as a District 5 commissioner, particularly with the success of West Knox County schools.

“Hardin Valley Academy was something I was very much involved in, trying to bring that about and eliminate overcrowding at Farragut.

“Cedar Bluff renovations and now getting this new elementary school in the southwest sector — from a school perspective, those were huge,” Hammond said.

Still on his radar is permanent fire protection for residents of Choto.

“Those folks down there need a fire hall. It will help with their insurance rates and I’m still in conversation with Rural Metro,” Hammond said.

“That’s really the main item I feel was left undone,” he added.

Hammond said some of his favorite memories as a District 5 commissioner include bringing various country music stars — including Jewel, Taylor Swift and Jo Dee Messina — to Farragut High School for a fundraiser.

“That was special,” Hammond said.


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