A Hallerin Hill radio show regular by the name of Foster D. Arnett, Jr. is up for Knox County Clerk.
1. Introduce yourself to Knoxville, who are you, and why are you running?
My name is Foster D. Arnett, Jr. and I am a life-long resident of Knoxville/Knox County. I am a graduate of Bearden High School and the University of Tennessee. I have been married to my wife Dottie for 24 years. Dottie was hired by the Knoxville Board of Education in 1983. She currently is a kindergarten teacher at Sequoyah Elementary school. I divulged the day I announced Dottie teaches in the Knox County School system. There is not a conflict of interest here because the Knox County Clerk’s Office has no control over the Board of Education, as it should be and Dottie will retire in three years. We were not able to have children so we have a Golden Retriever named Dugan and a rescued dog named Lucy. We live in Sequoyah Hills in the home where I was reared and we attend and I am the former Deacon Chair at Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church. I am active in the community and am proudly the President of the Knoxville News-Sentinel Charities which oversees the Empty Stocking Fund. My Grandmother was the main buyer for the ESF for many years in the 60’s and when she was no longer able to serve, my late Father, Foster D. Arnett took over as President of the Charities. My Dad was stricken with Alzheimer’s many years ago and I was asked to and now serve in the President’s position. There is no conflict of interest here because the charities are completely separate from the editorial side of the paper. We humbly provide food, toys and a brighter Christmas for those less fortunate in the Knoxville area. I say all this because my candidacy is a totally open book. I was an anchor and reporter at WATE and WBIR for many years before I went to work for Mayor Kyle Testerman in 1985. I spent the next 15 years as the spokesman for the Knoxville Police Department. In 2000 I left KPD to take care of my ailing Father because my Mother was not able to handle this enormous task. In 2001 I went to work for a large construction company where I was Director of Business Development. I was able to raise their “bottom line” 600% in the four years I was there and they are still working off relationships I established. From there I spent a year as the President of Communications for a local web design firm. I had my own business of selling air and water purification systems for a short while. I closed that company in the summer of 2007 to run for Knox County Clerk full time.
2. We think it’s better knowing what not to do rather than having an extensive plan. What areas or interests would benefit Knox County not to venture into?
The most critical issue facing Knox County Government is credibility. We are in a crisis in my opinion. I will restore confidence in the clerk’s office by throwing the doors wide open to the taxpayers, the media and our employees. I will have a totally open door policy and whatever is a matter of public record will be just that: period. I will work with the employees to make our office as efficient as possible. To answer the question directly we need to be focused on good, open, honest, and honorable government and we should stay totally away from anything that smacks of improper deals and shutting out the public from THEIR government. Honor, Above All Else.
3. What 5 things could you not live without?
1) My faith.
2) My wife and best friend Dottie.
3) The unwavering support and love of my family and friends.
4) My principles of honesty and integrity.
5) My good name passed along from my Father.