Holsclaw says taxes and roads  are most talked-about issues   

By Rozella Hardin
star staff
rhardin@starhq.com

  The Aug. 5 county general election and Republican Primary are less than two weeks away. Early voting is under way, but, to date, the election has generated little interest except for the 4th District House of Representatives race, which has begun to heat up.
  Rep. Jerome Cochran, local attorney, who upset veteran Rep. Ralph Cole two years ago, is being challenged in the Republican Primary by John Holsclaw, who is no stranger to politics. He served 27 years as Carter County Assessor of Property before resigning last year, due to the health of his wife.
  Cochran, who has numerous signs posted around the city and county, has stepped up his advertising. To date, his campaign has been based on trust, responsible spending, and family values. He has received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association and Tennessee Right to Life while Holsclaw has been endorsed by the Tennessee State Employees Association and the Tennessee Education Association.
  Holsclaw, who is also running a very visible campaign, said, "I resigned the office of assessor of property because my wife was experiencing some health problems at the time. Now, that her health has improved, it is with her blessings and the full support of my family and the encouragement of friends, I have decided to seek the state office, because I think Carter County deserves better representation in Nashville than what it is getting."
  He specifically spoke out on local road projects and the Carter County Jail. "Work has almost come to a halt on the Northern Connector and the new Gap Creek Road, two projects that were in the planning stages more than two years ago. We need someone who will be aggressive in Nashville and who will push, and push hard, to see that these two projects are completed. We need some movement on these projects," he said.
  Holsclaw said the two issues people in Carter County are most concerned about are taxes and roads. "Everyone I have talked to is upset over the proposed property tax increase to fund a new jail. We have not been aggressive enough in seeking grants to fund such projects as the jail. Had we pursued these grants with more earnest at the state level, we might not be looking at an increased property tax rate and possibly a wheel tax. There's money out there for such projects if we had someone to pursue it," he explained.
  "Also, I think the office of state representative should be an open door to the governor's office and his staff -- a door that could aid us in our economic development efforts. That door is not being used enough," he opined.
  Holsclaw said in talking with teachers, their number one concern is funding for education and insurance for their families. "These are things we have to address not only at the local level, but the state level. Certainly, if we can pay the prisoners' medical bills, we ought to provide our teachers with adequate insurance coverage," he explained. "We are losing good teachers because of loss of benefits.
  "Having come from a large family, I learned early on what teamwork is, and how important it is to communicate and get along with people. The person we send to Nashville must not only represent the people here in Carter County, but he must work with the governor and his staff and with other legislators to enact laws that benefit us all. That's not happening now," Holsclaw said.
  The former office holder, who has knocked on doors in the past, asking for votes, said this campaign has been the most difficult. "There are more issues to address, more questions to answer. I'm out there early every day and work late every night, trying to see as many people as I can. And, I'll work just as hard if I'm elected. I'll be a full-time representative," Holsclaw said.