Meet the Candidate: Brandon Williams on Schools, Taxes, and God
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of interviews with some of the local candidates running for office. State Primary and County General Election voting is Aug. 4.
District 5 Franklin County Commission Candidate Brandon Williams was raised in Alto and now calls Garnertown Road home. His roots hail back to Sherwood and Garnertown Road area families. Williams has lived in Franklin County all but seven years of his life. He will not send his five-year-old son to Sewanee Elementary School. If elected, one of his goals is to bring prayer back into the schools.
“I didn’t want to run for county commissioner,” Williams said, “but with my son being five-years-old and me being a single dad, I have to be very aware of what’s going on.” Williams started attending county commission meetings. “Some of the commissioners just show up to get their packet and check. Some try to fight for the community and their constituents.”
“When it comes to District 5 there is a lot of disunity between the families that have been here over 100 years versus the University,” Williams said. “The biggest thing with the airport [tree cutting controversy] was disrespect. A handshake and looking someone in the eye go a long way.” The residents of Keith Springs and Sherwood “are overlooked” in county government, Williams insisted. “Just because moves are made to benefit the University, that does not mean they will benefit all the constituents that live in the area.” As a commissioner, Williams wants to “be a bridge.”
Williams advocates a three-part platform for making schools safe. “The first thing is getting prayer back in the schools,” Williams said. “If God’s present, you’d be surprised how much safety goes up. Secondly, getting the camera systems up to par. The other is giving teachers the option to be able to carry firearms.”
Williams cited the absence of surveillance cameras at the rear of SES and prayer not being allowed as the two reasons he would not send his son to the school. He spoke with Director of Schools Stanley Bean about bringing prayer back into public schools. “I would have to get enough people on board to where they would be okay with removing government funding from our schools, which is probably about 15-20 percent. I’m sure we can find resources elsewhere.”
Asked if the county commission should lower the property tax rate to keep residents whose property values increased from paying more taxes, Williams said, “I think 100 percent the tax rate should be lowered. I don’t see anything on my personal property that raised the value, so why should I be paying more property tax … In some cases, property values almost doubled. Part of that is to be able to weed out the farmers and lower income people. People are going to be driven out of their homes.”
Williams stressed as a District 5 Seat A commissioner his guiding principle would be, “God is good, and Jesus Christ is king. I value other people’s opinions, but I will not trade the Word for someone’s opinion. I’ll honor the word first. If it honors the Word, I will move forward on their behalf.”