Jackson Buckles: An open-minded listener

By Julie Fann
star staff

Twenty-three-year-old Jackson Buckles, a Stoney Creek native and Elizabethton Fire Department firefighter running for Carter County commissioner, believes the people of the 1st District deserve better representation. "I'm open-minded, and I'm willing to listen to the people. That's the main thing; somebody to represent the people of Stoney Creek and to vote in their best interest," Buckles said.
   Buckles indicated that some Stoney Creek residents don't feel adequately represented in county government and that's the reason he decided to run for office.
   "In my opinion, the commissioner is there to represent the people he's elected by, and if an important topic comes up to vote on, and a petition is passed around, and three-fourths of your community signs no, and then you (the commissioner) vote yes ...".
   Buckles graduated from Unaka High School and is a member of the Stoney Creek Volunteer Fire Department. Bringing better industry into Carter County and improving education are the two issues he believes need the most attention.
   Buckles said there is a lack of viable land to sell to companies interested in coming to Carter County and that too many buildings stand empty. "We're having to use empty buildings and see if they (businesses) can work with what we've got," he said.
   Buckles also said it doesn't make much sense to bring only small businesses to the county that employ just 20 to 25 people. "Like Frank Schaffer up there, a 180,000-square-foot building up there and it employed 60 people; you're not getting the most out of your land and the most out of your business," Buckles said.
   Countywide zoning is an issue Buckles is adamantly against because he believes it is just another way for government to control the people of his community. "If you buy land out here on Highway 91, you should be able to do what you want to do with it. Zoning is just another way for the government to tell us what to do," he said.
   Because a financial director for the county would be able to focus full attention on the county's budget, Buckles said he is supportive of hiring someone for that particular role.
   "I think it's a good idea," he said.