By Max Hrenda
Kent Williams says his success getting a state budget through a divided House during his controversial tenure as speaker is just the kind of experience he needs to mend Carter County’s seemingly fractured government.
So he plans on doing just that.
On Thursday, the four-time state representative announced he will step out of the Legislature and into Carter County’s mayoral race, seeking to unseat Mayor Leon Humphrey.
While some may think that the decision is almost a step backwards, politically, Williams said that he wanted to spend more time closer to those closest to him.
“Eight years is long enough to make that long haul to Nashville and be away from family and friends,” Williams said. “I think it’s time for somebody else to take the reins. But I want to stay home, and I want to stay involved in local government.”
‘We Just Want to Argue’
Williams hopes that level of involvement could prove to be a proactive one.
In the past, the relationship between Humphrey and the Carter County Commission could, at times, be adversarial.
Along with his desire to remain closer to home, Williams said he wanted to bring a sense of cooperation back to Carter County politics.
“I’m not blaming everything on the mayor, but it takes cooperation and working together to accomplish anything,” Williams said. “I’ve attended a few county commission meetings, and it’s pretty nasty sometimes, from both sides, and from the citizens. There’s a sense of ‘we just want to argue.’ You lose focus when you concentrate on what your next argument is going to be.”
Humphrey acknowledged he may have “ruffled some feathers” with his approach as county mayor, which he said he modeled after a business leader.
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