Publisher’s Positions

By Steve Hunley

My Friend Mike McMillan Passes Away

Mike McMillan departed this world last week and I have say he was the best school board member our community ever had.  I say that having been a school board member myself.  Mike was a modest man who did not seek the spotlight, and when he first came to the Knox County Board of Education, he didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome.  By the time he died, no member of the board was better liked or held in higher esteem than Mike McMillan.  Mike had gone from being a bloc of one to a senior statesman, whose wisdom was listened to and others sought his counsel.

I don’t mean to give lesser credit to Mike’s service on the county commission, but it seems to me that he really came into his own while serving on the school board.   Mike was fearless when it came to representing his people, which is exactly how a representative of the people should be.  Mike never lost sight of who elected him or why he sat on the school board in the first place.

Friendship meant something to Mike McMillan.  Mike was bound to his friends by ties of love and affection.  Mike accomplished things others could not while serving on the school board precisely because of who he was and he knew it.  A man of good humor and genuinely kind, Mike never outgrew his upbringing.  The only child of Joe and Mary Jane McMillan, Mike loved the land and farming, as did the generations of McMillan farmers that came before him.

Mike loved history after having it taught it throughout his time as a teacher at Gibbs High School.  He never lost that love of learning.

Mike could accept others as they were and I was often shocked by how quickly he would tackle an issue for his district, as compared to his maddening procrastination in many of his own affairs.  Mike certainly never put his own business ahead of that of the public.

Even when most men would have been tempted to lie in bed and rest while stricken with cancer, Mike was in his seat at meetings of the school board.  Mike McMillan was one of the least selfish people I’ve ever known.

Mike’s passing sure will leave a big void in our community and I think it is probably the passing of one generation to a newer, younger generation of leadership.  Mike had been in and around politics throughout his entire life and was one of the last of his kind.  Mike McMillan was always true to his word and his handshake meant something.

Mike’s accomplishments as a public official can be seen throughout our community, but he was most proud of the too numerous to count small things he did to help families and individuals.  Mike McMillan lived a life of service to others.

Double Standard?

The daily newspaper was critical of Mayor Jacobs because he left over the weekend before the winter storm to go to Iowa to campaign for former President Donald Trump.  It was the weekend, and the taxpayers didn’t foot the bill, and Jacobs got snowed in while in Iowa, but of course the News-Sentinel had to gripe about it because of their liberal biased stance.  The Knox News and its reporters seem more like spokespeople for the Democratic Party than reporters.

The Sentinel should have been a little red-faced when it came to light City Mayor Indya Kincannon had left town on a trip paid for by the taxpayers on Wednesday, January 17 and returned on the 20th.  At the time, virtually everybody in the city was snowed in, but presumably someone was able to get Indya to the airport to fly to Washington, D.C. Of course the daily newspaper defended Indya, saying there’s a difference between politics and policy.  It was politics and a cheap shot from the get-go and Indya’s actual spokesperson told us the city mayor was riveted by her participation in a round table discussion with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.  That was the problem, there was no transportation going on in Knoxville, well, except for Indya, although the City ran out of salt and Glenn Jacobs was good enough to give them some.


Lighten Up, Gary

Gary Loe, the lifetime head of the West Knox Republican Club, is on a crusade to try and wreck the chances of Garrett Holt to serve on the Knox County Commission.  Holt is far ahead of his competitors, raising an impressive financial war chest to run and has been actively campaigning to succeed Kyle Ward on the commission.  Ward, after the birth of a baby, has chosen to retire from the county commission and concentrate on family and business matters.  Loe has pushed Liz Tombras to challenge Holt in the Republican primary.

Loe is usually to be found complaining inside the Republican Party and fighting with just about everybody but Democrats.  Loe ran a losing campaign against state Representative Gloria Johnson and last year was rejected by the delegates to the Knox County Republican convention when he sought to become the party’s secretary.  Loe was allied with Erik Wiatr, who is seeking to redefine himself as a foe of developers and incumbents.  Wiatr makes his money from running campaigns and incumbents inhibit his ability to generate revenue, so he tries to find challengers to line his pockets.  Loe and Wiatr had a falling out at some point, but Loe had supported a ticket of Republicans put together by Waitr to run in the City Council races in 2021.  Garrett Holt ran on that ticket and Loe supported him then.  Nor did Gary Loe object to Erik Waitr who spent more of his life as a Democrat and Green Party member than as a Republican.  Nobody has heard Gary Loe scream from the rooftops about the hundreds of liberal Democrats and Green party zanies Erik Wiatr backed and the ballots in Chicago were as long as a roll of toilet paper.

Loe made a nuisance of himself protesting the nomination of former state Representative Eddie Mannis and wanted to make an investigation into crossover voters.  Voters are free to vote in the primary of their choice in Tennessee since the beginning of time, although some folks are either ignorant of the law, still think they are just living in a better suburb of Illinois or are too new to know Tennessee’s law.  Democrats crossed over in New Hampshire to vote for Nikki Haley against Trump, not that it made any difference.   Like it or not, ultimately the voters have the final say on whom they prefer in public office.

Garrett Holt’s candidacy has been accepted and approved by the members of the Republican State Executive Committee from Knox County with only one dissenting vote.  The State Executive Committee members are also elected by Republicans in primary elections.

Waiting on the sidelines is a Democrat candidate with no opposition in his own primary, who will have every resource the leftist special interests can bring to bear on the race in the general election.  It doesn’t help that Republicans are fighting amongst themselves.  Unfortunately, too many of them are too new to Knox County to remember a time when the county clerk was a Democrat and won election after election county-wide for 20 years.  The district attorney was a Democrat and there were a slew of Democrats elected to judgeships.  These self-appointed party crashers, some of whom have been Democrats themselves, spend more time fighting other Republicans than they do Democrats.  As the old saying goes, any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.