City alderman candidates make campaign pitches at Republicans of Kingsport meeting

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Kingsport citizens will head to the polls on May 18 to elect the city’s next leaders. This includes voting on three alderman positions for the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Alderman candidates are not listed on the ballot as running under any political party. However, mayor, alderman, and school board candidates were invited to speak at a Republicans of Kingsport meeting on Monday. Six of the nine alderman candidates appeared at the meeting.

Candidates were given three-minute time slots to share how they would lead Kingsport. Alderman candidate speakers included Sara Buchanan, Joe Carr, Betsy Cooper, Collette George, Bob Harshbarger, and Paul Montgomery.

Other alderman candidates on the ballot but not at the meeting include Wesley Combs, J.S. Moore, and Gerald Sensabaugh.

Alderman candidates listed on a sample ballot
“I’m the candidate with the financial and project management experience to effectively address the issues we have in Kingsport. I strongly believe in gathering data and information before spending taxpayer money.” – Sara Buchanan, retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer and alderman candidate
“Simply put, I’m running to rekindle Kingsport. That means we need to continue to lower our city’s debt by stopping some of the stupid spending.” – Joe Carr, realtor and alderman candidate
“The reason I want to run for re-election is simple. That 2020 happened and we all went on pause. And I think 2021, when everything is starting to open back up, is going to be the year for Kingsport.” – Betsy Cooper, incumbent alderman candidate and current interim director of First Broad Street child care center
“It is a wonderful time to live in Kingsport. I’m asking for your vote, one more time, to continue to move the city forward.” – Collette George, incumbent alderman candidate and realtor
“I’m willing to make those hard decisions that need to be made. I’m the stable candidate that will look at both sides, make the best decision.” – Bob Harshbarger, pharmacist and alderman candidate
“We are blessed to have strong candidates for all offices at this point in time. However there are things that need to be strengthened, and I want to be part of that to make it stronger for the future.” – Paul Montgomery, alderman candidate and former president of the Kingsport Chamber and Board of Education

More information on Kingsport’s upcoming municipal elections can be found here. Early voting begins on April 28.

UPDATE: Candidate Wesley Combs reached out to News Channel 11 following the Monday meeting, sending the following comment:

“I wanted to clarify that, I wasn’t invited to speak. I did reach out to the Republicans of Kingsport on how I missed the invite.  The Republicans of Kingsport responded that they only invited republicans.  While I am a registered republican and was overlooked, I would have happily attended the meeting to meet people. This race is non-partisan in nature and I am in favor of it staying that way. ” 

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