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Meet the Candidates

Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Grundy County Mayor 


Michael Brady (D)

My name is Michael Brady and I am seeking re-election as Grundy County Mayor. Grundy County is my life-long home and I care about our beloved Grundy County. During the 2nd week in office, the General Fund budget went into the negative, while facing a jail closing at an estimated cost of $1.8-$2.4 million and the Affordable Healthcare Act at $800,000. We currently ended the 2016-2017 FY budget with $2.4 million in General Fund Balance. We have had 2 plant expansions and expecting more soon. We have received $3 million in grants with $350,000 applied for. I have promoted tourism and recreation in Grundy. I have worked with the State to market and improve our industrial sites. I am currently in conversations with 3 prospective companies about locating in Grundy that offer living-wage jobs. I have been persistent with TDOT regarding our state highways. Fourteen road projects have resulted from this with more expected. I humbly ask for your support and vote to continue to work for you with dedication and passion because it is you, the citizens, who matter!


John Hargis (D) 

Over the past few months, I’ve had a wonderful time meeting with people and talking about the future of Grundy County. I have heard from so many people in personal and touching ways, encouraging me to run for county mayor, and volunteering to help the campaign. The show of support has been tremendous and shows that people are ready for change. As chairman of Budget and Finance Committee for the past four years, I worked diligency with the commissioners to deliver a balanced budget while protecting and increasing our rainy-day fund. I understand that we need a blueprint for success. It will take more than promises to move our county forward. We need a plan: my vision is for exceptional schools, safe communities, and a vibrant economy, and a place where we all feel a sense of belonging. It is important for the county mayor to establish a functional and productive working relationship with the county commission, and to ensure open and transparent government, while striving to develop a governing consensus. I would appreciate your vote and support May 1st.


Iva Michelle Russell (R) 

Hello, I am Iva Michelle Russell and I am running for Grundy County Mayor on the Republican ticket this August 2nd. Many of you may know me as the co-host of GCTV6’s Morning on the Mountain show, others may know me from the various organizations and causes I have been involved with over the years.

I am a proud fifth generation Grundy Countian on my Mom’s side, originally from the Gruetli area. My grandparents Iva and Tubby Wallace owned Tubby’s BBQ in Monteagle from 1946 to their deaths in the late 60s.

My passion for good government and politics is well known. I truly believe elections do matter and have worked in local, state and federal elections since I can remember. The key to good government is listening to the people, following the rules before you, changing the ones that don’t work and being the kind of public servant that builds trust and cooperation towards a common goal.

I am running for County Mayor because my heart needs a challenge. I hope to earn your vote. God Bless America #MAGA.


County Sheriff

Clint Shrum (D) 

In the past four years, GCSO has transitioned into an organization holding honesty, integrity, and transparency to the highest standard. We’re on the right track. Our budget is solid, returning over S500, 000 to the fund balance. The jail generates enough revenue to pay for itself and is certified for the first time in 20 years. Transparency is unparalleled. Printed, social, and televised media keep you informed. Over $350,000 in grant money let us expand our vision and strengthen our mission. My commitment to fighting the drug and opioid epidemic is apparent in work with local, state, and federal offices. I will continue to press that fight.

I work diligently forging strong partnerships, making tremendous progress gaining community trust, employee morale, fatality reduction, resource availability, and inmate recovery. We bolster one of the best re-entry programs in the state. Minds are being changed, lives saved, and communities engaged. We feel the people of this county appreciate this; we appreciate the opportunity.

Much has been accomplished, but there is still more to do

On May 1, I ask for your support and an opportunity to return to the Sheriff’s Office.


County Trustee

Tyler McCullough (D) 

My name is Tyler McCullough and I would be honored to have your support and ask for your vote in the upcoming Election!

It truly has been an honor to represent you in the Trustee’s Office.

Over the past four years, there have been many changes in the office. The result of these changes is a significant improvement for our citizens. For example: new payment methods & location options, new website with easily accessible features, as well as in-office speed and efficiency with our updated computer systems. As a taxpayer, I want to make sure we provide these services as inexpensive and time efficient as possible. Since elected I have tripled the interests on investments, resulting in a substantial return on tax payers dollars.

In 2015, I was honored to be named Trustee of the Year and in 2018 received Certification as Government Finance Official, and chosen to serve on the on the NACCTFO Legislative Committee.

I believe in delivering real results and dedication to Grundy County – Given the opportunity, I am eager to serve you for another term!


Register of Deeds

Gayle VanHooser (D) 

Gayle VanHooser announces her bid for re-election for Grundy County Register of Deeds. “Serving the citizens of Grundy County has been an honor and a blessing. You have entrusted me with a great responsibility. I have not taken that task lightly. We insure that the land records are recorded with accuracy and preserved for future generations. Chief Deputy Connie Gallagher and I work to provide the citizens of this county with efficient, honest and courteous service. We strive daily to give the citizens an office they can call their own and be proud of. I am blessed to be running unopposed this year, however, I will never take a single vote for granted. I promise to give you my ALL, in return for your vote of confidence.” In 2017, VanHooser was named Tennessee Register of the Year being the only Register to be given the honor three times. She also received the highest recognition of Tennessee County Official of the Year by COAT. “I will continue to be a true public servant, always working with you in mind.” VanHooser stated.


Circuit Court Clerk

Crystal Stiefel (D) 

My name is Crystal Stiefel, I am humbled and grateful to the Citizens of Grundy County for the opportunity to serve as your Circuit Court Clerk. I am excited to announce that I will be running for the office in the 2018 election. Serving as Circuit Court Clerk, my goal has been to make this office as efficient as possible and treat everyone with the courtesy and respect that they deserve. The Circuit Court Clerk’s Office is one of the most important positions in local government. I am the best candidate because of my experience in the office. As Deputy Clerk, I learned the hands-on-knowledge of the day-to-day operations. After being appointed Circuit Court Clerk, I have had the opportunity to grasp a full understanding of the procedures and the many responsibilities associated with this office.  I have been delighted to hear comments and receive letters from the community about the professionalism and courtesy of the office since I have been clerk. I hope you keep experience, dedication, and honesty in office by voting “Crystal Stiefel” for Circuit Court Clerk in the 2018 election.


Penny Sons (D) 

My name is Penny Smartt Sons, and I am running for the office of Circuit Court Clerk. I was born and raised in Grundy, and I am proud to call it my home. After graduating from GCHS, I completed three years of college and one year of paralegal school. I have been employed as a Paralegal with the same law firm in Tullahoma for over 25 years. During that time, I have gained valuable experience in the legal field and the court system. A few of my job responsibilities include: preparing various legal documents for filing, managing the court calendar and assisting the attorney in litigation. I have also served as the firm’s office manager for over 20 years. I feel my education, experience and dedication to working hard makes me duly qualified to run the clerk’s office to its full potential. I am asking for you to give me that opportunity when you go to the polls. Vote Penny Smartt Sons for Circuit Court Clerk. Remember-be smart, vote Smartt.


Road Superintendent

Hubert Dewayne Turkey Hargis (D) 

I, Hubert Dewayne “Turkey” Hargis, respectfully ask the citizens of Grundy County to allow me the honor of continuing to serve as road superintendent for the next four years.

I have worked thirty years for the Grundy County Highway Department; the first fourteen of those I operated heavy equipment. I pride myself in being a hands-on superintendent, while also working to secure resources and maintain positive relationships with government officials. By securing state funds, we have repaired and/or upgraded many roads throughout the county, and funds have been allotted for work to continue in Spring 2018. I am passionate about keeping Grundy County roads maintained and safe for all of Grundy County.

Due to obligations at work I may not be able to personally meet with each of you to ask for your support, but please know that each and every vote is greatly appreciated.  I am here to serve you and if you need anything or want to talk about any issues, please contact me at 592-3751 or 235-2369. I appreciate your support and votes on May 1, 2018.


Johnny Ray Fults (D) 

Hello Grundy County. I’m Johnny Ray Fults and it’s with great excitement that I announce that I will be seeking the office of Grundy County Road Superintendent in the Democratic Primary on May 1, 2018.

My wife is Sherry Fults and our children are, Dustin (Andrea) and Lacey Fults. Our grandchildren are McCoy and Tucker Fults.

I was employed at the Highway Department for 27 years. During my 27 years at the Highway Department, I served as Assistant Road Superintendent and foreman during the last 12 years. I received training in numerous paving classes, bridge maintenance, OSHA, Local Government Guidelines, Governmental Accounting Standards, and I am a state certified underground storage tank operator.

I am confident that the knowledge and experience I have gained during my employment with the Highway Department will make me a strong, successful Road Superintendent.

If elected, I will work fairly and honestly for ALL of Grundy County.

I feel that I can make a difference in the quality of our roads and with your help on May 1, 2018, together we can make a difference.

County Clerk

Tammy Sholey (D) 

Hello, my name is Tammy Sholey. I am your County Clerk. As your County Clerk seeking re-election I would like to ask you for your vote and support. One of my main goals is to make the County Clerk’s office easy and accessible for anyone who walks through the door. While I have been in office we have reduced the wait time on duplicate and new car titles, added hunting and fishing license and boat renewals, but we haven’t stopped there.

At no cost to the citizens of Grundy County I have purchased a self renewing Kiosk for tag renewals. The first of these will be located at the Citizens Tri-County Bank at 26 Coylar Street in Tracy City Tennessee.

As your County Clerk I am and have always been available anytime, after hours and on weekends at no cost to the county. My number is in the telephone book. It would be an honor and I would be very humbled to continue serving as you’re Grundy County Clerk.


Blake Sanders (D) 

Hello fellow citizens of Grundy County. My name is Blake Sanders I am asking for your vote and support as I run for the Office of County Clerk. It has been a lifelong desire of mine to serve you the citizens of the county. As clerk I feel I can do just that. It would be an honor to work for each and everyone throughput the county. Grundy County is a special place to live and has been so good to me. The people are what make a place special and we should all be thankful to live in such a tight community. My parents the late Teddy Ray and Sandra Sanders have instilled a hard work ethic and unwavering desire to give back to my fellow citizens. My mother Sandra Sanders has worked in the public eye for over 40 years. So when you go to the polls vote Blake Sanders as you County Clerk!


District 2 Commissioner 

Daniel Crabtree (D) 

Daniel Crabtree has announced he is seeking re-election for District 2 Grundy County Commissioner. Crabtree is a life long resident of Grundy County and resides in Palmer. Daniel has served as Chairman of the Grundy County Commision for the past 4 years and he has also served as Mayor of Palmer for 12 years. “I feel that the experience I have will allow me to continue to be a good steward of the citizens tax dollars and that I will continue to work to help move Grundy County forward”, said Crabtree. Serving as Chairman, Crabtree has worked to ensure that the property owners and tax payers of Grundy County were not burdened with new property tax increases. “We were able to build, open, staff and operate the new Jail facility without a new tax increase. The county budget is in better shape than it was 4 years ago and the work we have put in over the last few years has paid off. I ask for your vote and support in the upcoming election and I ask you to allow me to continue working for the best interest of you, the taxpayer. Your vote and support is needed to continue moving Grundy County forward,” concluded Crabtree.


District 3 Commissioner

Marilyn Rodman (R) 

As a lifelong citizen of Grundy County, I feel my work experience and relationships built with government agencies will be beneficial to the needs and growth in our county.

I know this can be done with the right team. I am asking for the opportunity to be part of this team. During my six years as Mayor of Monteagle, we saw:

  • Increased revenue 24%
  • Grants for infrastructure, road, and community enhancement
  • Staff training/education
  • Reduced fines
  • $100,000 bond refinancing savings
  • Reduced debt
  • $3,500,000 capital improvement funds
  • Community programs – Easter egg hunt, fishing tournaments, music in the park, school events, car shows, and more
  • Mountain Goat Trail
  • Safety programs

My education, experience as Mayor, and over 30 years’ experience in management, marketing, and public relations will allow me to be an integral part of the County Commission.

I will be a team member who works to move Grundy County forward. Tomorrow does matter; we must plan and move forward to provide a solid foundation for the next generation.

I am asking for your vote and support, and the opportunity to serve as a District 3 Commissioner. Please contact me at 931-222-0515.


Don Hutcheson (D) 

I am excited to announce that I will be throwing my hat in the ring for the Grundy County Commissioner’s race, I want to provide a voice for the citizens of my district and to help make decisions for Grundy County that will provide stability and allow our county to prosper.

I have served Grundy County for the last 28 years as Director of Grundy EMS, managing the overall operations. I also serve on several committees that benefit the citizens of our county.

As a lifelong resident of Grundy County, I received my academic education from the Grundy County school system, but learned most of my life lessons in a little country store that belonged to my parents, Melvin and Ila Jo.

My wife Stacie and I attend Myers Hill Methodist Church and make our home in the Plainview community of Tracy City. Our children, Kasi Jo, Ty, and Savannah have made us proud grandparents of seven wonderful grandchildren.

I encourage you vote on May 1st. Your consideration and vote for Don Hutcheson, Commissioner of District 3, would be appreciated.


The above Grundy County candidates submitted their articles on or before March 9. They are printed as submitted and unedited. Democratic (D) candidates will run in the May 1 Democratic Primary. The Grundy County Republican (R) Party chose to hold a caucus earlier this year, and Republican candidates will face the winners of the Democratic Primary in the General Election on August 2.


Amanda Phillips is the Publisher and Editor of the Grundy County Herald