ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - Positive -- it's a word that's been positively used a lot in the campaign for Carter County Mayor by incumbent Leon Humphrey and his challenger, county commissioner Joel Street.
"Most importantly, I think we need to continue the positive trends that have been started during this administration," Humphrey said.
"I don't believe in the nature of politics in Carter County right now," Street said. "I just feel like that we need a much more positive feel to our government instead of all the negative that we've seen over the past nearly four years."
The main negative the way Street sees it: a breakdown in communication between the current mayor and the county commission.
"From time to time there are certain individuals that you just can't work with," Humphrey said. "Never before in my career have I ever experienced anything like this in county government. There are some individuals that were in powerful positions on the commission that resented me from day one, the reason being I wasn't one of them. I'm a firm believer that government must be run like a business, it can."
"To a degree I agree that we can run it like a business," Street said. "But politics is different. A house divided cannot stand, and I think I can bring unity back to Carter County government."
That's the biggest strength Street tells us he'll bring to the mayor's office: people leadership. While Humphrey says his main strength is the fiscal leadership he's provided during his first term, with 16 new commissioners coming on board, both candidates say it's imperative to develop a coalition to serve the best interests of Carter County. "I haven't backed up one inch," Humphrey said. "I will continue to do the people's business, not Humphrey's business."
"I believe I'm the right man for the job at the right time," Street said. "We need a little less talk from the mayor's position and a lot more work, and positive work."
The winner of the Republican primary for county mayor will face independent Kent Williams in the August general election.