By Steve Hunley

The Knoxville News Sentinel has dutifully endorsed Grant Standefer (2nd District) and Rueben “Buddy” Pelot (5th District) for the Knox County Board of Education.  They have also endorsed Law Director Richard “Bud” Armstrong’s opponent in the coming primary elections.  These endorsements were to be expected as the News Sentinel has been the mouthpiece for the Chamber of Commerce and business elite in this community for decades. The News Sentinel’s publisher, in fact,  is the current chairman of the board of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce. Now you know which candidates the establishment is backing this election cycle in Knox County.

If you doubt it, look at the chart below or go to the Knox County Election Commission’s website for more details. Look at the  financial disclosures and you will find many of the same contributors for each of those three candidates.  Many of these same contributors are members of the Haslam family or they are close business and political allies.   These are the very same folks who raised almost $60,000 for Tracie Sanger in her campaign for the school board last year.  For that matter, these are some of the same folks who raised $50,000 for an advertising campaign in 2012 to increase your property taxes in Knox County to the tune of $35 million at the behest of Knox County School Superintendent Jim McIntyre.  Of course they are also some of the same people who handpicked and brought Jim McIntyre here to be superintendent of schools and have supported him to the bitter end.

These wealthy business elites also don’t much like elections if they can avoid them. They prefer appointments over elections because they feel they can control those who are appointed. It’s also far cheaper for them in the long run; why raise and spend $60-100 thousand to elect a Law Director that they want when they could appoint one instead?  It’s more cost effective for them that way.  These same folks want to pick everyone from the superintendent of schools, to university presidents, to football coaches.

Both political parties have their own wealthy, well-heeled super elite and they frankly think they are entitled to make all the decisions, but this year things have sort of gone off the rails for them.  Jeb Bush, the candidate of the Republican establishment elite has fizzled like a flat Coca-Cola.  Hillary Clinton just got clobbered by a 74-year-old socialist in the New Hampshire primary.  It seems like a lot of folks are finally catching on and doing their own picking themselves.

You have a choice as early voting has begun and continues through February 23 for the Knox County primary election. Election Day is on March 1. You can let these folks dictate your choice for you, or you can go out and make a choice on your own. Again, take a look at the chart below this article and notice how many of these same folks are funding select campaigns. Then look at the News Sentinel endorsements.  You can easily conclude who the un-bought and un-bossed candidates in the election are.  Will the wealthy business elite choose for you or will you get up and vote and choose for yourself?

My sincere hope is that you will vote and choose for yourself.