Sunday, July 3, 2016

Candidates Speak at Farragut Gun Club

By Margie Hagen*

With primary day for state, federal, Knox County General and Town of Farragut Municipal elections rapidly approaching, the Farragut Gun Club (FGC) hosted local candidates at their June 13th meeting.

FGC regularly invites speakers to address the group. Law enforcement officials, firearm enthusiasts and public figures share their views on a variety of issues. It is a diverse cooperative of individuals that advocate for legislation and constitutional freedoms.

Alderman Louise Povlin photo by Margie Hagen
Louise Povlin was first up to speak. She is running for the position of Farragut Alderman, North Ward 1. In January of this year she was appointed on an interim basis to fill the seat vacated by Ron Honken in December, 2015. Having served on the Municipal Planning Commission since 2013, she is now the Alderman Representative of the MPC to the Board of Mayor & Aldermen (BOMA).

Louise is running on a platform advocating fiscal soundness, preserving residential quality and transparency in government. In addition, she wants to continue to guide commercial development in a conscientious manner.

As a sitting member of the Farragut MPC, she has concerns about Town Hall being posted as a gun-free zone but with no metal detectors or security. This potentially leaves committee members and the public vulnerable and without ready protection from armed perpetrators.

Her opponent for the seat is Richard Cataldi, also present at the meeting. He didn’t speak formally but made his way around the room chatting with small groups of friends and supporters. In a follow up phone interview he detailed his campaign agenda. Richard would like to see the Town become more business friendly and proposes more compromise and negotiation to encourage expansion of new business. “There are more than 20 empty storefronts along Kingston Pike.” he states. “Guidelines should be used less as a hammer and more as a ruler.” He served on the building committee during the renovation of St. John Neumann Church.

Rep. Eddie Smith took the floor next. He is the sitting State Representative for the 13 th District, up for re-
Rep. Eddie Smith photo by Margie Hagen
election in November and currently serves on the Education and Transportation Committees.

Eddie is a proponent of 2 nd Amendment rights and spoke about legislation that was passed during the past session. Beginning July 1 st , full time UT faculty and staff will be allowed to carry permitted concealed weapons on campus, however they must register with the University and certain areas and University sponsored events will off limits.

Along that same note, watch for reductions on permit fees. With roughly 500,000 licensed gun owners in Tennessee, that legislation is generating a lot of interest.

Other notables in attendance included Jason Zachary, incumbent Representative for the 14 th District, also up for re-election, and Bob Markli, Farragut Alderman. At one point even “Admiral Farragut”, as Lou LaMarche is sometimes fondly referred to, made an appearance.

The Farragut Gun Club, founded in 2014, has quickly become the largest club in theregion and has hosted over 100 guest speakers. There are no dues required and anyone is welcome to attend and join. It’s not a shooting club, instead focusing on information and political action.

Liston Matthews, the Executive Director, is a veritable fountain of knowledge for what’s happening in the gun world. He stays current on court decisions and legislation, often traveling to attend functions. He shares pertinent news and even advice on where to stay during events.

As Liston puts it, “You are your own first responder.” He is a firm believer that posted gun-free zones are dangerous, pointing out that the mass shooting that occurred in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub was a gun-free zone. As a 2 nd Amendment defender, he says “The Constitution is my permit.”

One thing everyone agreed on was the importance of voting. Primary day is August 4 th, with early voting open from July 15 -30 th . Your voting location may have changed. For example, 66N will now vote at Farragut Middle School instead of the high school. Check the Knox County website to verify your polling place.

With our national Presidential candidates stooping to low levels of civility and derogatory name calling, it was a pleasant experience to meet and speak with this handful of local office seekers. They were professional and respectful to each other and the audience. Refreshing!

*Margie Hagen is a Knox area freelance reporter.

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