By Mike Steely
Senior Writer
For two terms Carson Dailey has served South Knox County’s 9th District but is term-limited. Three people are seeking to replace him but there’s a catch to that race.
Stacey Smith has a record of voting only in Republican races. Earlier this year he had picked up petitions as a Republican and as an Independent for the District 9 commission seat. He chose to run as an Independent.
Republican Andy Fox and Democrat Matthew Park have their party’s nominations for the August general election and Smith will appear on the ballot.
Or will he?
Martin Ammons is a Knox County Republican Party board member who has filed a complaint against Smith’s petition. A hearing has been set by the election commission in June on the complaint.
“Former presidential candidate Stacey B. Smith barely met the minimum threshold of signatures to qualify as a candidate,” Ammons told The Focus.
“After reviewing the signatures, many are lacking the required information and there is a question as to whether they are all legitimate. Also, I’ve heard rumors that the former presidential candidate has also failed to file complete financial disclosures as required by law,” Ammons said.
The Election Commission will hear the challenge on June 7 at 5:30 p.m. in the small assembly room of the City-County Building.
The Focus asked each of the three candidates several questions. For the complete Q&A, please find “District 9 candidates answer Focus Questions” online at

District 9 Commissioner Carson Dailey is term-limited. After two terms, how do you rate his leadership there?
Andy Fox – During the previous 4-5 years, two situations happened that were part of the reason I decided to run. In the 2020-2022 era, I believe the Knox County Commission did not do enough to stand up for workers, business owners, and children during the government response to COVID. We saw a severe, fear-based reaction that infringed on everyone’s freedom and Constitutional rights. When a public official takes the oath of office, he or she swears to uphold the Constitutions of Tennessee and the United States. Government action is bounded by the United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights and the Tennessee Constitution’s Declaration of Rights, and the county commission during this era was very slow in observing the proper boundaries.
The commission’s slow decision making and failure to take a stand against mandatory mask-wearing led to the Knox County School school-mask lawsuit. One of the main points made by the federal judge and the Plaintiffs was to question why Knox County opposed the requested mask mandate in 2021-22, when the county and the school system had implemented masking the prior academic year as a matter of Knox County policy. If Knox County Commission had been a leader in opposing unconstitutional masking and never allowed the school board to require masks – by threatening nonrequired funding – then the plaintiffs would not have had this key point and the judge’s decision may have been different.
The other change was a radical divergence from the tradition of Knox County being a single-family home living area. We are now seeing multifamily apartments and high density being built adjacent to single-family homes, out of character with the local neighborhoods.
My primary concern is the next four years, and my Democrat opponent has a history of public statements that would have made those two situations worse.
Matthew Park – Commissioner Dailey and I have not always agreed on some individual policies, but I have trusted that he is a man of integrity and does what he believes to be the best choice for our district. I have supported his efforts to reduce litter, support green space, and invest in better play areas for children.
Stacey Smith – I would rate Carson Dailey as lacking in every aspect of the commissioner office. He did not listen to the people who elected him on most occasions. I have had many people, myself included, explain that Mr. Dailey had a condescending attitude and comes off as forgetting who voted him in and he has forgotten who he represented.

Did you or do you support Mayor Jacobs’ effort toward a county-wide growth plan? Please explain.
Andy Fox – I support the tradition of Knox County which has been low-density single family homes, and I oppose all reckless development that is ignoring our infrastructure needs. My concern is that current plans are not being followed, which allows for more reckless development. I suspect the revised growth plan will be ignored for more high-density development unless we elect good county commissioners who will put the needs of our current community first. To the extent that the new land use designation of Rural Conservation would limit an owner’s ability to use his or her rural land for agriculture, I oppose this designation.
I’m running to prioritize the needs of our community. It’s not the job of current Knox County citizens to give up what they love about Knox County to solve problems created by external forces driving up the cost of housing on a temporary basis. The cost of housing relative to income will eventually work itself out. Once the camel’s nose of high-density development gets under the tent in a rural community, however, you can never go back.
Matthew Park – Going decades without an updated plan was unsustainable for our county. I supported Advance Knox in our district. As commissioner, I will work to remain steadfast to the plan that was developed with public input. As with all plans, it could have been better in some areas, and I will continue to work with the public and other commissioners to ensure the plan works for Knox County. The new commission will be tasked with the Unified Development Ordinance and I plan to use my role not only to take public input on the UDO but also be there to help my constituents understand the aspects of the UDO and what it means for them.
Stacey Smith – I do not support Mayor Jacobs’ county growth plan. Each part of Knox County has its own identity. District 9 does not have the infrastructure to accommodate all the new housing that former Commissioner Dailey has approved in line with the mayor’s persistence. Also, the people of District 9 want the ability to approve or disapprove of what is being built in our area. Currently, this is not the case; everything appears to be profit-based and not environmental decisions.

What is the largest problem facing South Knox County?
Andy Fox – The largest problem is lack of essential infrastructure for our current needs and reckless development that is making the problem worse. Bonnie Kate Elementary, for example, is already at capacity and needs expansion. New Hopewell needs a brand-new building. The County Commission needs to prioritize our budget to focus more on infrastructure needs. We are spending millions of dollars on nonessentials.
Matthew Park – Our lack of housing is the greatest issue we face locally. We need more housing and also cannot continue urban sprawl which will increase infrastructure costs for the county to unsustainable levels. I look forward to working on ways to spur development of more housing along our corridors where the county has already made considerable infrastructure investments.
Stacey Smith – The largest problem facing South Knoxville is overzealous policies from politicians forcing their own beliefs on a community that believes in growth; we do not believe in super subdivision. We believe in having enough land per acre to be self-sufficient and community-based.

What would be your main focus if elected?
Andy Fox – Supporting responsible development and protecting our Constitutional rights from state and federal government overreach.
Matthew Park – As a former first responder my first main focus would be working to improve EMS and health services in Knox County. I have already begun working with AMR to determine what policies could improve patient outcomes in our county. I look forward to seeing the first round of new reporting released this week based on the updated AMR contract.
Stacey Smith – My main focus as commissioner would be putting the power back in the people’s hands. Letting them know what is going on behind the curtain of decisions and allowing their voice to be heard and not pushing an agenda from the mayor’s office. Also to save the environment from overbuilding homes on small tracts of land and displacing the animals in our area. We are to live with the environment, not destroy it for housing profits.
What are your qualifications for commissioner?
Andy Fox – I’m a graduate of Knox County Schools and the University of Tennessee, a practicing attorney since 1995, and have been involved in legal actions related to local property taxes, government mandates, and protecting against unconstitutional government infringements. I have been active in my local community, for example in the past serving on the board and as president of my HOA.
Matthew Park – I am a former first responder and have spent more than 10 years building businesses. I have served as the president of the Island Home Park Neighborhood Association for the last four years, working in our neighborhood and across South Knoxville as a community advocate. I am vice president of Two Bikes where we have built youth workforce development programs combined with landfill diversion of bicycles and no cost bike programs. I am a mentor in a program at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center where I am focusing on helping businesses in Knox County thrive and grow.
Stacey Smith – My qualifications for county commissioner is knowing how the commissioner seat works with other districts and how the “good old boy” system really works. I have been a radio frequency engineer for 28 years. I have designed and introduced the cell tower systems to many major networks in the largest cities around America. I have had the pleasure of working with many commissioners in many municipalities who have taken their oath to listen to their constituents. For the same reason I am running as District 9 commissioner, I have also witnessed some unethical behavior from many zoning meetings where politicians wanted their needs met before the community. I am a historian of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and what is currently happening in our governing system is not For the People, By the People.
Tell us about your family.
Andy Fox – I am happily married for nearly 33 years to my college sweetheart, Laurie. Together, we have raised our three children, Anna Catherine, Bailey, and Grace.
Matthew Park – My mother is a strong Republican and my father a liberal Democrat. I grew up in a home where we had to explain not only what we believed, but why. I live in Island Home Park with my husband, Jordan.
I’ve seen issues in our justice and mental health systems firsthand. My little brothers have been in and out of the justice system most of their adult lives. On county commission, I’ll be a strong supporter of mental healthcare in Knox County and will continue to work with the Knox County legislative delegation to bring more mental health funding to our county.
Stacey Smith – I attended Bonny Kate Elementary and Doyle Middle School then graduated from Doyle High School in 1987. I have been married to my wife for 32 years. We have four children and 11 grandchildren. We have been members of Woodlawn Christian Church all of those 32 years.
I always wanted my children to grow up in South Knoxville. None of my opponents are lifelong residents of this area. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. My grandfather on the Smith side worked in the fertilizer factory in Vestal for 45 years, where he raised my dad, four aunts and one uncle. He never missed a day of work in all the years there before his retirement, and that work ethic exists in me. My mother’s maiden name is Goddard. The Goddard name is well known not just in south Knoxville but also outside of Tennessee. From the gutter, metal, and steel building company that my uncles built, to the dirt track hall of fame inductees, the name Goddard is known by many in the racing world.
My family is from south Knoxville, and we are proud to be a part of its growth and history. As commissioner, I will ensure the community that while we grow and invite new people in to the area it will remain a beautiful part of Knoxville with open pastures and rolling hills.
District Nine overlaps with City Councilman Tommy Smith’s area. What relationship do or will you have with him?
Andy Fox – I’m open to having a good working relationship with all elected officials to best represent my constituents and defend the Constitution. The City Council deals with zoning and ordinances within the city limits and I would deal with zoning and ordinances outside the city limits. For those who feel disenfranchised by the current City Council’s policies, I hope I can be an advocate for them to help improve public policy
Mathew Park – Vice Mayor Smith is a neighbor and friend. I will keep a close relationship so that we can coordinate our efforts and strengthen our district.
Stacey Smith – . I do not know Tommy Smith, but I would work with Mr. Smith to develop a relationship in which we would work diligently for the people of our districts.