Rutherford County Commission candidates participate in a public forum

Rutherford County Commission candidates running in the 3rd and 7th Districts participated in a public forum on Wednesday, answering questions about their top concerns, affordable housing and more.

Fifth-generation county resident and 2018 incumbent Republican Michael Wrather and retired U.S. Army veteran Anita Herron, Democratic Party candidate, face off in the 3rd District.

District 3 Republican incumbent Michael Wrather addresses the crowd Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at the Rutherford County Courthouse.

The 7th District attracted three contestants, 30-year county resident Mike Kusch, two-term Republican incumbent, Democratic Party nominee Joseph Locher, and Paul “Roscoe” Williams, who is running as an independent.

Sponsored by the League of Women Voters, a non-partisan organization, the forum was moderated by Chuncey Vinson.

As the questions were asked, each candidate was given equal time to respond and all candidates answered the same questions.

District 3 candidate Anita Herron is the Democratic Party nominee and explains why she is the candidate to vote on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at the Rutherford County Courthouse.

From District 3, Herron is a retired Army veteran and currently a Faith Liaison Officer, Chaplain and Educator. For the commissioner role, remaining accessible and responsive is important to Herron.

Democratic Party candidate and District 7 nominee Joseph Locher spoke about the need for affordable housing Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at the Rutherford County Courthouse.

Locher, who was born and raised in Nashville, moved to Rutherford County in 2004. He is raising twin daughters and working on his own as a field installation technician.

Williams has lived in Rutherford County for 32 years, is the HOA chairman for his ward, and owns a business in Murfreesboro with his wife where they “work hand in hand” with the criminal justice system.

Republican District 7 incumbent Chairman Mike Kusch discusses the number one issue in Rutherford County Wednesday, June 29, 2022, at the Rutherford County Courthouse.

Main concerns addressed

All but one of the candidates directly agreed that the number one issue facing Rutherford County over the next five years is solid waste disposal, in reference to the Middle Point landfill.

Wrather wants to solve the problem by having Murfreesboro and other towns involved in the landfill, such as Smyrna, Lavergne and Eagleville, work together.


“We need to work together to resolve this issue as it affects everyone in Rutherford County,” he said.

Wrather also said there is currently a lot of work going on behind the scenes.

“Solid waste is a huge problem. It’s number one on my list,” Kusch replied. He said they looked at different technologies through different processes that could help solve the solid waste problem. »

Locher was quick to respond.

“We need a new landfill,” he said, supporting the closure of the one currently in use.

“The first thing we should do is renegotiate with Republic Services and stop allowing other counties to use our county as their trash can,” Williams said.

Subsequently, he proposed that the county look into recycling facilities, but not until the landfill issue was resolved.

Unlike the others, Herron said the county’s number one problem in five years was urban sprawl.

She estimates that if nothing is done, “in 5 years, this will create a hidden debt of unfunded infrastructure and services, urban decay, social dysfunction and environmental degradation”.

Ultimately, she wants to see Rutherford County create more sustainable land use and protect the natural biodiversity and ecosystem.

Affordable Housing in Rutherford County

“I would love to buy a house, but I keep bidding up,” Locher said, referring to the current record-breaking real estate market.

He sees communication as a useful tool to help residents buy a home.

He talked about the low-income housing tax credit, housing subsidies, and how some tenants can use their timely payments to improve their credit. “Loan officers don’t know anything about it,” Locher said.

“If we don’t get involved, it will hurt the local economy later,” Williams said.

After mentioning that a housing development project is underway, Williams spoke about the dangers of the lack of affordable housing. He made reference to hotels that pay by the week, stating that several arrests are taking place at these properties and that it is bad for the county.

“We have to get involved,” he said.

Herron said Rutherford County needs to provide housing at all price points and that she believes no one should spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

“There should be a viable, viable wage set up in Rutherford County to meet and meet these needs,” she said as a solution.

Wrather agreed with Herron.

“We have to pay people more,” he said.

He said employees are Rutherford County’s greatest asset and need to be paid more to afford a home.

“There is no easy solution,” Kush said.

He continued and shared that even his adult children cannot find a place to buy due to the current market.

Last word

Herron said she is engaged, engaged and ready to serve as the next county commissioner for the 3rd District. She promised to encourage input from all residents to try to get many diverse perspectives.

“Everyone deserves a seat at the table,” she said.

Wrather said he understands his headquarters is the residents’ headquarters. “My job is to be their voice,” he said.

Kusch said experience matters, which is why he thinks residents should vote for him.

“I have eight years under my belt. This is going to be important in helping to mentor these new [positions],” he said..

“Rutherford County shouldn’t be Republican majority,” Locher said. He admitted that he may not know much about being a commissioner, but he is willing and ready to learn. In response to Kusch, Locher said, “I don’t need anyone to hold my hand.”

Williams spoke about the importance of well-researched decisions.

Election day is August 4.

Melvin B. Baillie