Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Burkhardt picked to lead Knox GOP

Buddy Burkhardt
The Knox County Republican Party picked Buddy Burkhardt to serve as its chairman for the next two years.

Burkhardt, who works in technical support at the Knox County Sheriff's Office, succeeds Ruthie Kuhlman.

In addition, the GOP during its reorganizational meeting last Saturday at Crown College also picked Suzanne Dewar to serve as vice chair, and former county Commissioner Michele Carringer to serve as secretary.

"I am focusing on the future and I believe that a strong, conservative Republican Party is good for the citizens and prosperity of Knox County," Burkhardt said.

He added that at this point he wants to "move the party forward," and update the group's website and its Facebook page.

Burkhardt said he wants to promote candidate appearances, fundraisers and contact information for candidates and elected officials.

"I want it so that people can contact them directly and easily," he said.

The new chairman also wants to focus on creating a grassroots effort to get more residents involved in the party. He said key to that would be seeking help from the party's precinct leaders which would "give them a stronger sense of involvement."

"I want to get those people more involved in making phone calls and helping candidates in their precincts," he said. "Candidates are always looking for people to work the polls for them. I want to try to try to get a grassroots efforts going, because if people feel they are more involved, then they will be more involved."

The major local election this year is for the Knoxville mayoral seat, currently held by Madeline Rogero, a Democrat who announced her intentions Monday night on Twitter to seek re-election.

The post is non-partisan, but Burkhardt said "we know who the Democrats and Republicans are, and we can get involved and support our Republicans."

He said local GOP officials are looking for someone to potentially challenge Rogero, and talking about ways to raise money.

Next year, the county will have a couple major seats up for re-election, including the property assessor's post and the law director position. In addition, about half of the county commission seats are open.

The Knox County Democratic Party will hold its reorganizational convention March 28 at the CWA union hall.

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