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It's Time for Leadership

Graham Stowe is a 27 year veteran with engineering and executive experience, including oversight of multi-million dollar budgets, leadership of hundreds of military/civilian personnel, & responsible stewardship of expansive infrastructure.  After a successful military career his family settled on a small farm in Campbellsville.  Graham is committed to defending Giles County's rural values and culture, and capitalizing on the tremendous opportunities before us.


To learn more about why you should support Graham for Giles County Executive, please explore the site and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

 

In a Nutshell

Don't Want to Read Further?  Here's Where I Stand..

Transparency

We should have more community dialogue, more community engagement, more public comment. We can have evening commission meetings and town-hall gatherings around the county to improve public access to their government. And the citizenry should know county government intentions - we need a published Strategic Plan that charts a course to 2030 and beyond.

Spending Discipline

As we all tighten our home budgets to deal with the reality of mounting inflation, there's no better time than now for county government to scrutinize spending, identify/correct organizational inefficiencies, and hold the line against future tax increases. We do this by developing a Strategic Plan, prioritizing our most pressing needs, and publicly debating necessary trade-offs.

Preparedness

Given federal dysfunction, global issues quickly trickle down to the county level - from food and energy inflation to supply chain disruptions to expanding drug/crime problems. We also need to address an array of potential crises that impact our local security and emergency readiness. We must pursue pay-parity for emergency-service personnel and bolster fire/rescue preparedness.

Education

We must resolve to work together with our state reps for greater local control of our children's education. We need to retain our teachers by prioritizing funding for pay-parity. We must improve our existing infrastructure but preliminary planning has to begin for the future, to include new schools. Our SRO program is great, but let's review security procedures for areas to improve. Finally, let's take it upon ourselves - and empower our teachers - to emphasize educational excellence over cultural ideology.

Unity

We have a history of Democrats and Republicans debating - but always working together as Americans who honor constitutional liberty.  That is much, much different from today's Marxist Left that intentionally stirs up division and unrest.  Giles County liberals and conservatives must stand together against national insanity.  We're for traditional, constitutional, cultural norms and objective reality. We're multi-racial but find unity in our history and heritage.

Countywide Planning

Our county has yet to assess the abundance of existing federal and state laws that protect our rural environment and agriculture from growth or industry. We do not need heavy-handed zoning regulations. Instead we need a Strategic Plan which will help identify specific "nuisance" concerns which can be addressed without impacting property rights. Let's avoid jumping to premature solutions (with unintended consequences.)

 

Local Issues - Local Solutions

It's Time for Leadership

Washington DC is dysfunctional and our national culture is fractured.  This has unfortunate consequences for Giles County and our communities.  Thankfully, most solutions begin at home.

We live in a beautiful county - abundantly blessed with resources  - surrounded by friends, neighbors and churches in communities rich in history and heritage.  Unfortunately we've allowed a small (but vocal) minority to intrude on our liberties, traditions and culture.  Our county government's response? 

Silence.  Acceptance.  Submission.  

Liberty, Tradition, Culture - These are what cement communities into a united county.   They're values a County Executive should be defending - with energy and conviction.  But the silence is deafening as our local busybodies call us “bigots” for preserving our heritage,

“alarmists” for defending our gun rights,

and “ignorant” for protecting our young children's innocence.   

Defending our freedoms and values first begins with iron-spined, common-sense leadership

right here in Giles County -not in Congress, not in our General Assembly,

but in our own County Courthouse.  

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Countywide Preparedness

  • Emergency Preparedness:  Given lessons-learned from 9-11 to COVID, increasing uncertainties in world events, and supply chain fragility, Giles County must prepare to care for our most vulnerable in times of crisis.  I want to give higher priority to our emergency, fire, and ambulance services; we can also coordinate efforts with law enforcement, churches, and businesses to improve community readiness. Readiness goes beyond mere equipment - we must cross-train, improve integrated training plans, and run more countywide drills to boost emergency preparedness.

  • Economic Preparedness:  We need to invest in local self-sufficiency, from agriculture to manufacturing.  We’re a breadbasket - middle Tennessee’s supermarket shelves should be stocked with Giles County farm products, and food-freedom laws should allow farmers to sell direct to the public.   We all know we rely too heavily on the global economy for manufactured goods; this provides an opportunity for county government to work with our General Assembly to bring more tech and manufacturing jobs to rural counties.  I will work with our State Rep, Economic Development Commission, and UT Extension Office to pursue opportunities for economic growth and resiliency.

  • Pass Senior Property Tax Relief:  Our County has sat on this since 2007.  Thankfully a handful of commissioners have brought this forward for immediate consideration.  Our seniors on fixed, meager incomes need tax relief, particularly as inflation squeezes and property values head upward. Based on a state-approved program, this would be a targeted, means-based tax relief for our most vulnerable neighbors.    

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Education and Property Rights

  • Educate children to be functional adults.   Let's synchronize efforts with our elected State representatives, Director of Schools, School Board members, teachers, and parents to advance a K-12 education curricula that focuses exclusively on communication skills, math, science and history - subjects that prepare students for the workforce and citizenship.  Review and eliminate from the curricula all age-inappropriate sexualization.  We must stop subsidizing flawed ideologies that threaten our children's education and psychological welfare.  Let's work toward more local control of education and curricula; parents and our elected School Board must have precedence over “experts” in Nashville and DC.  Great teachers working in tandem with engaged parents is the key. Further, we MUST retain our teachers, which means we MUST prioritize pay-parity so we don't lose our talent to surrounding counties. Finally there's infrastructure and buildings - work is already underway to improve school habitability. Meanwhile, preliminary planning has to begin for new schools.

  • Zoning:  There is a necessary and rightful place for county planning; a failure to plan is a plan to fail.  But land use planning has to conform with the reality of constitutional property rights and the will of the people.  County planning also must take into account the variety of economic strengths and challenges of individual communities, from Minor Hill to Ardmore, and Elkton to Lynnville.  Whatever planning we do must involve  community dialogue and address countywide concerns.  Over the last couple of years our current leadership decided to team with a handful of pro-zoning commissioners to push a deeply flawed plan to include a Zoning Board, permits, and inspectors. Small businesses in unincorporated areas of the county would have been in violation of this plan. It was supported by a hand-picked, biased Planning Board that purposefully alienated anti-zoners. Thankfully this zoning plan was beaten back by engaged citizens and wise commissioners.

    Before we do anything else our county needs a Strategic Plan to determine where and how we'd like to grow. We also need to assess ALL the federal and state laws that already protect us from landfills, incinerators, and noxious industry.  Then we can proceed to identify and protect ourselves from specific "nuisance" concerns ... and we can do that without adversely impacting rural business and property rights.

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Spending Discipline

Our county finance office is doing great.  Our financial challenges revolve around county leadership and their inability to discipline a systemic spending problem. 

This is because we do NOT have a strategic plan which SHOULD prioritize and steer spending  to our highest-ranking needs.  Currently everything is a priority ... which means nothing is a priority.


For example, if we had an agreed-upon plan that prioritized education, emergency services, and economic growth, then the Budget Committee would steer spending here first. But that is manifestly NOT happening. 

​So balancing the budget is only half the battle - the other half is HOW we spend it. This is especially critical with inflationary pressures and a minimal “rainy day” fund.  Further, we have a wasteful habit of always growing the budget from the previous year’s baseline with zero analysis of value or “bang for the buck.”  Inevitably this habit is inefficient, leading to unnecessary spending.  What comes next - every few years the county gets behind on revenue - we say we can't maintain critical services - and then comes the knee-jerk reaction to raise taxes without addressing root problems.

A more efficient budgeting method requires that line-items be justified on an annual basis, not merely carried over and increased for inflation.  Every county function that proposes a budget should be fine-tuning their requests based on needs and costs, which for many will vary from year to year.  This is no different than the way voters and business owners manage their finances; unfortunately it’s not how county departments develop their budget. 

Once we have a plan and prioritized budget discipline we’ll find savings and efficiencies - guaranteed.  Efficiencies yield opportunities; we’ll be better equipped to steer funds to address critical "pop-up" needs.   For bonus points we can AVOID the perpetual cycle of tax increases.  

 

Rumor Control

You Can Help

The campaign process has a way of bringing out the worst in people. 
If you hear rumor or hearsay that I support this or that foolish idea,
I'd be glad to set the record straight. 
If I said it I'll stand behind it.  If I didn't say it then I'll gladly provide an accurate correction.