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Candidate Questionnaire for Upcoming Pigeon Forge City Commission Election

Pigeon Forge Commission Candidates Answer Questions

The Sevier News Messenger sent the following questionnaire to each of the Pigeon Forge City Commission Candidates, David Wear, Bill Howell, Ken Maples and Leland Wykoff. Only Maples and Wykoff participated by returning questionnaires, which are published as submitted and without editing.

Ken Maples

Ken Maples
Candidate for Pigeon Forge City Commission

Ken Maples

Why are you seeking public office?

I am honored to be a candidate for Pigeon Forge Commission as I love and respect our Citizens and City. I also have a genuine desire to serve others individually and collectively and that is the main reason I am seeking this position.

Ever since obtaining my passion for public service from my late father, I have always had an ambition to follow in his footsteps as a Pigeon Forge City Commissioner. And, I feel the timing is right for my candidacy and for Pigeon Forge.

I am fortunate to have been raised in Pigeon Forge by parents who taught me to respect all others and to give back by serving and helping people in our community. I am blessed and honored to live and work in Pigeon Forge as well as call Pigeon Forge my hometown.

I am a firm believer that the best form of government is “local” and want to actively represent the Citizens of Pigeon Forge in an elected leadership position.

I’m an independent thinker who will listen, learn and lead with respect and passion for our City. I firmly believe that Pigeon Forge has a bright and positive future and want to be part of the cooperation and leadership that helps us to realize our full potential as a unified community.

Lastly, if elected, I will work with our residents and businesses to protect our future through family values, financial accountability and responsible growth.

Therefore, I respectfully ask for your consideration, support, influence and vote. By working together we can and will accomplish much for Pigeon Forge!

Please give your education background (degree, major, year conferred).

Attended Sevier County High School, University of TN, Walters State Community College, East TN State University – majored in Business Administration

What do you consider the most pressing issue in Pigeon Forge?

While there are several ongoing challenges in our growing economy, I feel that “affordable short and long-term housing” is our most pressing issue at this point.

How would you like your term in office to be characterized?

As a commissioner and leader that puts the service of others and our city first and foremost. A commissioner that helps to shape our future in a positive manner for those that follow us.

What do you consider your most significant accomplishment?

Family/Children

What are the three most recent books you’ve read?

I have a 7 year old daughter who loves reading so it would be children books… primarily Berenstain Bears books. Myself, I am not much of a reader of books but rather online news articles and publications, etc.

Have you, or a company you are a principal of, ever filed bankruptcy, had a judgment compelling debt payments, or had a tax liens or other tax enforcement action exercised against you?  If so, please explain.  

IRS tax lien several years ago due to a dispute.

Leland Wykoff

Leland Wykoff
Candidate for Pigeon Forge City Commission

Leland Wykoff

Why are you seeking public office?

Leland desires to represent the Citizens of Pigeon Forge. Developers are already fully represented at city hall.

Please give your education background (degree, major, year conferred).

The Florida State University, Bachelor of Science and Associate of Arts Certificate, College of Business, with a major in Hotel and Restaurant Administration, December 1984.

What do you consider the most pressing issue in Pigeon Forge?

Quality of Life issues: low wages and employment standards must both be raised to position Pigeon Forge to advance, thrive, leverage public investments such as the LeConte Center, and restore appropriate city services to citizens. Utility costs must be aligned, traffic flow must be improved, and lack of housing for those working in Pigeon Forge are all quality of life issues which have been neglected and Leland pledges to address in office.

How would you like your term in office to be characterized?

That Leland was a valuable addition, and team member, on Pigeon Forge City Commission and helped lead the professionalism of both the public and private sectors. That Leland helped introduce tough standards and metrics which took Pigeon Forge to the next level of hospitality and began diversifying our economy while bringing a mix of higher paying careers.

What do you consider your most significant accomplishment?

Working a lifetime to achieve equality and equity through public service such as fundraising, board membership, and community leadership. Leland has a successful track record as a change agent. Leland is eager to bring these skill sets to the City of Pigeon Forge Commission.

What are the three most recent books you’ve read?

Three which come to mind, “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time” by Jeff Speck.

“Punished by Rewards The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes” by Alfie Kohn.

“Rats Lice, and History” by Hans Zinsser.

I am currently reading “Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism” by Elizabeth Becker which was recommended during my recent Argentina trip.

Have you, or a company you are a principal of, ever filed bankruptcy, had a judgement compelling debt payments, or had a tax liens or other tax enforcement action exercised against you?  If so, provide details. 

Thistles and thorn bushes.

No bankruptcy.

No debt judgements.

No tax liens or enforcement actions.

My history is paying bills on time, honoring my commitments, understanding the cyclical nature of the economy, and not getting “caught” in the dips and troughs. I have maintained an excellent credit score and history.

If I made a promise to pay, I have honored that promise: paid, on time, period. In short, I have lived up to my word and obligations.

As a public official I will be even more careful with your tax dollars. I understand taxes are a public trust. A duty exists to exercise fiduciary, moral, and legal responsibilities over the public funds put in our care.

I do not believe in aggressive accounting or monkeying with the numbers. Auditors have a saying, “Figures do not lie. Liars figure.”  Be sure and figure out who wants to be in charge of your money—and why.

Those with histories of bankruptcy, slow paying, IRS problems, debt judgements, and negative tax enforcement actions reveal a great deal.

Those who cannot effectively handle their personal finances likely will not be suited to handle public finances, “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?”—Book of Matthew.

 

About Candice Fitzgibbons

I am a Sevier County resident and active in my local community. I've spent more than 20 years as a graphic designer and copywriter, creating marketing materials to help small to medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations achieve their goals. I have a passion for equality, the environment and animal rights.