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Listening to "The People" by Josh Gilliam

As I arrived at our County Commissioner’s meeting in August, it looked a little different than normal. Finding a parking spot was the first challenge as every spot was taken, and cars lined the street. Once I finally parked my truck and began to walk in, I passed by, easily, over a hundred people. Some of them were familiar faces, but many of them were not. You see, although it was reported that the infamous “Nuisance Resolution” would be pulled from consideration, people had shown up in droves to make sure their voices were heard.

During public comments, we heard stories from residents who have moved here to escape runaway local government regulations. We also heard from those born and raised here who made it clear that what they do on their property is none of the county’s business. On the surface, you would think simply saying that we were not going to vote on the resolution would have been enough to satisfy the demands of those present. But, in my opinion, their issue ran much deeper than that.

Our people elect us because they trust us. They don’t have time to watch our every move or attend every meeting. They count on us to represent them. When they heard that the people they’d elected to uphold the conservative values that they hold so dear were even considering such overreaching regulations, they didn’t just feel anger. They felt like their trust had been broken. I believe that was the driving force behind the unprecedented, passionate, and even a little rowdy, response that we witnessed that evening.

The fear now among some citizens is that someone will pass this resolution in future by “sneaking it in.” I don’t believe that is true at all, and I want to give the County Commission an opportunity to prove it and help to rebuild the trust that citizens have placed in us. That is why I’ve filed a resolution to be considered at the August Commission meeting that resolves that the County Commission “will never adopt T.C.A. 6-2-201(22) and (23) or similar powers afforded the county by the state that should be considered contrary to Constitutional liberty.” 

I believe passing this resolution will draw some hard lines in the sand when it comes to government overreach and regulation in our county. It will serve as a reminder to ourselves and future Commissions just how deeply Hawkins County values personal liberty.  My hope is that myself and my fellow commissioners will pass this resolution unanimously.

I appreciate the people of this county. Sincerely, I consider every one of you “my people.” You all have spoken as loudly as any of us have ever heard you, and you can rest assured that I, for one, am doing my very best to listen.

Josh Gilliam

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