By Mike Steely
Mike Brown is known as being the “bulldog” of the Knox County Commission due to his eight years of speaking his mind as commissioner. His words are often colored with unique, descriptive and folksy phrasing that gets his point across.
“I believe in telling it like it is,” Brown told The Focus.
The senior commissioner is leaving office in August, having chosen not to seek another term although he was eligible. “I believe in term limits,” he said.
What does Brown see as his best accomplishment as a commissioner?
Brown, 76, said that finally moving ahead with a Safety Center proposal, a project he has promoted for several years, is very satisfying.
“It is one of my proudest moments,” he said, adding that a commissioner must consider what is best for the entire county.
As a commissioner Brown said he’s worked with many people on many issues, always as an outspoken member on various matters.
“I don’t regret a minute of it,” Brown said.
Brown, a longtime critic of outgoing Superintendent James McIntyre, said that he has told the school system head that he should “learn to speak Southern.”
“I told him he’s going through life with blinders on,” Brown said, adding, “You’ve got to take the little people along with you.” Brown indicated that he is frustrated that the school board members can hire a superintendent when the position should be an elected position.
He said he’s also pleased that the county has moved beyond the “black cloud” that it faced a few years ago. Being chosen as commissioner for his South Knox district gave him his first and maybe last elected office. Brown said he will continue to be involved with the neighborhood association and the Republican Party. He and his wife, Jan, have three children, five grandchildren, and live on the “Brown Farm” in South Knox County where his family has lived since before statehood. Brown was a founding member of the South/Doyle Homeowners Association.
Brown plans to take life easier, getting things done he’s put off for several years, and is looking forward to his family life. He’s been involved with his community for many years, served on boards and was a Planning Commission member.
“I’ve got lots to do but I won’t be sitting around on my butt,” he said.
His advice to new commissioners is the same as he received.
“Keep your mouth shut for the first meetings and listen. Do your homework. Check and see how deep the water is before you cross the creek,” Brown said.