Rhea County Election Commission

[EDITOR’S NOTE] Three candidates are vying for the city council seat that was left open after the passing of Dayton City Council Member Jim Lewis.: Ted Doss, Lance Sholl and Caleb Yawn. The election is set for March 17, and early voting is underway at the Rhea County Election Commission. The Herald-News reached out to all three candidates with prepared questions. Their responses are published here in full.


What aspects of the job do you see as most important and how are you qualified to perform them?

“The most important thing that a councilman does is stay in touch with constituents. Daily, a councilman speaks with citizens about what they want. A particular vote on a particular issue, a complaint about taxes, a problem with a sidewalk or a street light, are just a few things that are addressed daily.

“You can’t come into a city councilman position with a personal agenda. You represent the total population of this city.

“Looking into 2021 and beyond, people are, in many aspects, wanting to return to some level of normal, but I think that new level of normal is not going to be one we’ve experienced before. I think we’ll take what we learned in 2020, put that into the best parts of our past, and create what our future will be. I believe we need to plan forward knowing that we’re building a new horizon. 2021 is the beginning of what I consider a great future.

“I feel that I am well qualified for the position of city councilman. I have set on the Graysville city board as councilman, vice mayor and mayor for twelve plus years working with other councilmen in setting budgets in all departments, creating ordinances, etc. I also was a member of the planning commission. I have attended levels 1 and 2 of Elected Officials Academy. I was the vice chairman on the Economic Development Council.”

Identify and explain at least three goals you would like to accomplish over the next four years if elected.

“Infrastructure: The city needs to identify roads that need to be repaved and develop a plan to complete this in phases. Sidewalks need to be evaluated as to whether they need to be repaired or replaced. Pavilions and bathrooms at our city parks need to be updated by repairing or replacing.

“Host more arts and crafts: I would like for the city to host more activities that would display some of the local talent and draw outsiders in to view their work, such as: Quilt shows to display our quilters beautiful quilts, artists and their art work and much more.

“Recognize our veterans: I would like for us to designate a place in our city to dedicate to veterans. Either one of our existing parks or another suggestion would be to have some of our local veterans form a committee to gather ideas of what would be appropriate and bring it to the city council.”

What do you see as the city’s role in economic development?

“The main thing that has changed the entire game is globalization. Nowadays if you are not in the international game of economic development you’re not in the game at all. What we are trying to do is bring companies from around the world to Dayton.

“Sam Wells, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Southeast Regional Director and Dennis Tumlin, Executive Director for Rhea County Economic and Community Development in 2015 started working together on Nokian Tyres to locate here in Dayton. Without the Dayton City Council working with them and others, Nokian Tyres would not have happened for Dayton.

“City’s role in economic development is to improve our standard of living through the creation of jobs, the support of innovation and new ideas, the creation of higher wealth, and the creation of an overall better quality of life. Economic development is often defined by others based on what it is trying to accomplish. Many times these objectives include building or improving infrastructure such as roads, bridges, etc.; improving our education system through new schools; enhancing our public safety through fire and police service; or encouraging new businesses to open a location in our city.”

Do you see other avenues of revenue in addition to local fishing tournaments? More soccer and or ball fields?

“I would like the city council to hire a parks and recreation director. This persons job would be to oversee all the parks in the city and to develop a plan for hosting youth travel sports. Part of their duties would consist of coordinating with the other cities and county for the use of their facilities.  Youth travel sports consist of basketball, softball, soccer, etc. When these teams come into town they patronize your motels, restaurants and stores. Not only do their parents attend but also grandparents and other family members and friends.”


What aspects of the job do you see as most important and how are you

qualified to perform them?

“As the owner and operator of Jacob Myer’s Restaurant for the past two decades, I have garnered a unique perspective of the City of Dayton and its residents.  I know what it feels like to be the little guy that no one listens to.  I want to make sure that every idea brought to me is treated fairly and with respect.  The people of Dayton deserve that, no matter if they have money and influence, or not.

“I am intensely aware of the impact that the City Council can have on the potential success and failure of the people of our community.  I would strive to make sure every decision that I made as a councilman brought success to the citizens of Dayton.”

Identify and explain at least three goals you would like to

accomplish over the next four years if elected?

“As I have stated before, I would love to see everything that makes Dayton a unique, one of a kind community, encouraged.  Many generations of people from this area have made Dayton the tourist magnet it has become.

“Over 36 million dollars of Direct Tourist Dollars were spent in Rhea County in 2017, with the lion’s share being spent in Dayton.  Tourist dollars are the most potent income Dayton has because most of that money stays here with its citizens.

“I would do everything I could and listen to every idea presented to the City Council to encourage and grow the tourist industry in Dayton.”

“The parks in the City of Dayton are a treasure.  I would love to see them joined together to form a large continuous Greenway.  A bridge that linked Point Park to the walking track would be wonderful.  I would like to see speed bumps around the Point Park road to enhance the safety of the people fishing, walking, and children playing.

“Many of the people of Dayton are walkers and runners.  Our big parks linked into a Greenway would give the citizens of Dayton miles of uninterrupted space to walk and run.  I would be dedicated to see that these beautiful parks and public areas in Dayton are well maintained and utilized to their fullest potential.

“I would continue to support the excellent quality of Dayton City School.  I would like to see an open house where stakeholders (parents, teachers, students, and the community at large) have an opportunity to view and share opinions on different curriculums and adoption of the same.”

What do you see as the city’s role in economic development?

“In 2017, the Direct Tourist Dollars spent in Rhea County topped 36 million, with a lion’s share going to the community of Dayton.  Direct Tourist Dollars are about the most potent economic injection a city can receive, because it is outside money that tourists bring and spend here; so the money stays in our community.  Anything that the City of Dayton can do to foster Direct Tourist Dollars spent should be considered.”

Do you see other avenues of revenue in addition to local fishing tournament?  More soccer and ball fields etc.

“Absolutely! We live in the most beautiful place in the world!!!!   Look at our parks, our scenic highways, our mountains, our hiking trails, our waterways, our big open public spaces!  Just think of all the different types of events we could host!

"People from all over are just looking for an excuse to come to Dayton, TN.   

Who would not want to come here and enjoy our area while participating in a competition?   

"Picture, for instance, the Dayton City Triathlon, the Dayton City Gran Prix Bicycle Race, the Dayton City Kayak Tournament, the Dayton City Pickle Ball Challenge, the Dayton City Corn Hole Tournament, the Dayton City BBQ competition.  How about the City of Dayton Wine Festival, or the City of Dayton Oktoberfest?  There are dozens of exciting, fun and new ideas that we could do right now with a minimal investment that would bring in revenue from all over Tennessee and all over the nation!”


What aspects of the job do you see as the most important and how are you

qualified to perform them?

“It is my belief that the most important aspects of the role of city councilman revolve around the ability to make informed decisions involving my view of the will of my constituents, the ability to collaborate effectively with other public servants and community stakeholders, and possession of the financial competence necessary to responsibly allocate city funds.

“I believe that I am qualified to perform these duties, first and foremost because I have lived within the Dayton City Limits for nearly 10 years and have had many conversations with other citizens about their desire to move our city forward and what this path should look like. I also believe that my service in our local Rotary Club over the past 10 years and recent participation on the dog park committee has prepared me to work collaboratively with a wide variety of stakeholders from our community. Finally, I take the responsibility of allocation of city funds very seriously. I understand that our wonderful city is funded largely by tax dollars that hard-working citizens have paid in to see their city grow and flourish. In my opinion it is the responsibility of the city council to steward these funds in a manner that is beneficial for the community as a whole."

Identify and explain at least three goals you would like to accomplish over the next four years if elected.

“Three goals that I would like to accomplish if elected to our city council would revolve around long term economic growth opportunities, discovering and supporting avenues for current citizens to enrich their lives and advance their careers, and investing in a new sporting complex/community center that can be a hub for the people of Dayton to come together and grow.

“I believe that it is very important to make an effort to showcase our city in order to make it attractive to corporations that are looking to relocate. This would not only bring long-term economic growth but also opportunities for the people of Dayton to advance their careers right here in their hometown. I believe that as a city, we should continue to expand and enrich the lives of our current citizens. I would like to see the completion of the dog park and investment in some kind of memorial to honor veterans who have served and given the ultimate sacrifice. Finally, I believe that a new sporting complex/community center can be not only a uniting factor for our city but also an attractive source of revenue.

What do you see as the city’s role in economic development?

“As representatives of the citizens of Dayton, I believe that the city government should play a vital role in economic development. When the city government is working efficiently, it should be providing essential support to current companies both big and small as well as individuals and start-ups in order to ensure that the local economy thrives and grows.”

Do you see other avenues of revenue in addition to local fishing tournaments? More soccer and or ball fields?

“As mentioned previously, one of my goals if elected is the investment in a new sports complex/community center. I believe that these venues can provide revenue for the city by bringing in athletic tournaments and providing an indoor auditorium for concerts and other events. These types of facilities would not only showcase local athletes and talents, it would also bring in huge amounts of revenue for other local businesses. Cities of various sizes have capitalized on these growing opportunities and there is no reason why the unique features of our city wouldn’t help us to thrive in these areas as well.”