By Ken Lay
Chuck Severance may be running for office. But that doesn’t mean that he has any desire to be a politician.
“People have asked me, ‘Chuck, are you crazy? Why do you want to be a politician?’ I tell them that I’m not a politician, I’m a servant,” Severance said at a kickoff event announcing his candidacy for the Seventh District Seat on the Knox County Commission. “I want to serve the people and I want to serve you.”
While this is Severance’s first bid for public office, he is no stranger to politics. His father, Charlie, was in the state legislature. His wife, Kim, previously served on the Knox County Board of Education.
“My dad was in the legislature,” Severance said as he addressed supporters and well-wishers at the event held Thursday night at Beaver Brook Golf and Country Club. “And I remember the phone ringing at 10 or 11 o’clock at night, back when we had home phones and somebody saying, ‘Charlie, I need help.’
“It didn’t matter if the constituent was a Republican or a Democrat; he did what he could to help because they were his constituent. That’s me. That’s the person I am.”
While never holding public office, Chuck Severance champions himself as a leader who can get things done.
“I’ve served on committees and I’ve made a lot of friends on both sides of the aisle. I have experience and I know who to pick up the phone and call,” said Severance, who is looking to replace County Commissioner Charles Busler, who is term-limited after serving eight years in the seat that represents Halls, Powell and Heiskell. “I’ve served on the Public Building Authority and I now chair that.”
Severance, who credits both his mother and father as his life’s major influences, said that now is the time for him to serve the residents of District 7.
“We’ve had great leadership here with Charlie Busler,” he said.
“I have the support of my family and this is a good time in my life to do this. I’m very adamant about what’s been started here.”
Severance is looking to improve education and safety as well as continuing community development and improving infrastructure.
“My Number One priority is safety. We have to continue to hire the best first responders and we have to keep people safe in their homes, in their schools and in their businesses,” he said. “Speaking of schools, it is imperative that we continue to have the technology and that we hire the best educators for our students.”
Severance said that Knoxville City and Knox County are experiencing exponential growth, particularly in District 7. The infrastructure must improve as the community continues to expand.
“Our community is experiencing tremendous growth and we need to ensure that our roads and sidewalks are keeping pace with that growth,” he said. “Up-to-date infrastructure enables us to have a vibrant community in which to live, work and play.”
Severance is also a supporter of the continued beautification of the Beaver Creek Waterway, the new greenway in Halls and the new walking park in Powell.