Jim Folts for County Commissioner
Aug 3

“To stand in silence, when they should be protesting, makes cowards out of men” - Abraham Lincoln

Campaign News

We won!
Thank you to each and every voter of District 7.
Thank you to all our  volunteers.
I will work hard to earn your confidence

Feel free to let me know your views on county issues. Just send me an email at jimfolts@yahoo.com, or give me a call at 995-9476.

You Deserve Better

Why does an old retired guy
decide to run for County

Because I believe government should listen to YOU, the citizens, and ACT on the serious problems we face. Unfortunately, our national and local governments do not seem to be listening very well.

Blount County faces very serious problems that could send your taxes soaring. Yet the County government does not seem to be listening. The time has come to elect Commissioners who will listen and ACT. Our futures, and those of our children, depend on it.

You are telling me that these issues are important to you.

  • Get the Debt Under Control - The County debt has nearly doubled since 2003, to just under one quarter BILLION dollars. The County debt per person is one of the highest in East Tennessee. Even worse, the County’s debt is made up of a toxic mix of variable rate bonds and swaps (the kind that billionaire, Warren Buffett, called weapons of financial mass destruction). The county has done the equivalent of taking out a variable rate mortgage, with a huge balloon payment due in two years, and using a credit card to make the monthly payments. I will work to straighten out this mess, before it sends your taxes soaring.
  • Term Limits - You believe that elected officials, who are left in office too long, stop listening to ordinary citizens and start listening only to a “connected” few. I agree. I will limit myself to two terms and work hard for real term limits.
  • Create Jobs - Your County has spent more than $10 million on Industrial Development (job creation) over the last four years. You have watched counties, all around us, announce major new automobile, solar power and semiconductor plants. You are asking: where are the new jobs for Blount County? Yet, the County Commission has never held a meeting to review where our Industrial Development money is going, and solicit new ideas on how to better use this money to create more jobs. I will make JOBS a top priority and work with the Industrial Development Board to use the available jobs funds more effectively.
  • Reduce Spending - You know this must happen to keep your taxes from getting out of control. Many County Commissioners talk about reducing spending, but do not do the hard work, reading thousands of pages of budget and audit reports, to make it happen. The result: County spending is up 25%, while inflation was 11% over five years. I have read the budgets and the audit reports. There is plenty of waste in some county departments. This not only drives your taxes up, it steals money from important areas like schools and roads. I will do the tough work to make sure your hard-earned tax money is used wisely.
  • Improve Education - over the last four years, the County Commission has been reducing support for your County schools. In 2005, the schools were receiving 49.3% of your tax dollars. By 2009 had been reduced to just 42.6%. This year, China will graduate ten times more engineers than our country. Your children’s future depends on improving our educational system quickly. Innovative school programs, with measurable results, deserve the support of your County Commission. I will work with the School Board to assure that these programs get funded.
  • Environment and Zoning - Balancing your individual property rights and the good of your community involves tough choices. You should have a say on these choices. The Planning Commission should listen carefully and follow the law. Once zoning rules are set, they should be enforced for everyone. I will encourage careful listening. I will work to stop special exceptions for the “connected few”.
  • Respect for Citizens - You see Commissioners trying to prohibit citizens from speaking at County government meetings. You see other Commissioners who don’t return phone calls, or answer their email. You see a senior official allegedly threatening an elderly woman, saying he would "burn her house down". County government should be actively seeking your comments and opinions, not threatening you, or undermining your free-speech rights. I will work hard to assure that every County official treats every citizen with respect. I understand that my first duty is to ask for your opinions, listen, and respond.
I am anxious to hear from you. If you want to gather a few of your neighbors to tell me about your concerns and hopes for our County, and / or ask me questions, send me an email at jimfolts@yahoo.com, or give me a call at 995-9476.


I started two high technology companies that, together, employed more than 1000 people. I know how to create jobs, review budgets, get results, reduce waste, and encourage innovative solutions to problems. I have been married to my wonderful wife, Cathy, for 45 years. We have five children and ten grandkids. I am active in church and community activities, including Angel Flight, a group of volunteer pilots who fly seriously ill patients to distant medical facilities. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.

Please Vote
I look forward to working with you to give you the better government that you deserve. Please vote for Jim Folts in the District 7 (If you vote at Friendsville, Carpenters, Lanier, Big Springs or Happy Valley, you are in District 7) Republican Primary on May 4 (Early voting starts April 14.)

You can cross over in the Primary
If you are one of my Democrat friends, you should be aware that no candidates from your party are competing in the primary. You have the right to vote in the Republican primary. If you want to help fix your County, you need to VOTE. I welcome your vote and will continue to listen carefully to your views.