By BROOKE WANSER
District 10 is in Franklin, but also includes a large piece of unincorporated Williamson County on Highway 96.
Out of the four candidates vying for two seats, three are Republicans and one is a Democrat.
The Williamson County primary election will be held on May 1. The general election will be held on Aug. 2.
Robbie Beal, Republican
Appointed in February to fill Matt Williams’ seat after Williams moved to District 9, Beal is running to continue a legacy of public service.
A native of Middle Tennessee, Beal moved from Nashville to what was then Nolensville, now Brentwood, as a teenager.
He pursued a legal career, and has served as the Williamson County Juvenile Court Magistrate. Later, he held the position of the 21st Circuit Court Judge for eight years before settling into a private practice firm in Franklin. There, he works on mediation and domestic and criminal cases.
Beal has been involved in many charitable organizations, including Williamson County CASA and Waves. He and his wife, Heather, have also acted as foster parents for the last 15 years.
“Being a circuit judge and a juvenile magistrate, you see the segments of the community that need you the most, and you’re drawn into those,” he said.
“I’ve been involved in public service for pretty much my whole adult career,” he continued. After Beal quit work as a judge three years ago, “I missed it, I wanted to get back involved [in public service].”
He understands the way the county has changed over high lifetime, and believes commissioners need to work to solve the problems that come with change.
“Growth is the dominant factor in this county, it controls everything else,” he said.
With a teenage son at Centennial High School, Beal said school safety is on his mind, as well as creating and handling infrastructure wisely.
“Infrastructure it doesn’t do us much good if the roads are so congested you can’t get to them,” he said.
If elected, Beal hopes to find creative solutions to handle increasing infrastructure and school demands without raising taxes.
Occupation: Attorney and managing member of Beal, Green, Nations and Crutcher
Family: Wife, Heather. Son, Antonio, is a senior at Centennial High School
Address: 1109 Clairmonte Drive, Franklin
Visit his website here.
David Landrum, incumbent, Republican
Appointed in early 2015 to replace a commissioner who moved, David Landrum ran for the continuation of his term in 2016.
Originally from Griffin, Georgia, Landrum moved to the county in 1982 to continue his work in the equine business. He established the Franklin Riding Academy in 2013, and still works there part time with his wife, Karla.
“We’ve just always been here,” he said, noting that his daughter, Lindsey, was born at Williamson Medical Center.
Landrum’s previous political experience is unique; his father was the Mayor of Griffin. While attending the University of West Georgia, Newt Gingrich was his history professor.
“I’ve always had an interest in it [politics],” he said.
In semi-retirement, Landrum said he feels he has the time to give to the community, and the passion of maintaining the high quality of life in Williamson County.
The bullet points, Landrum said, are funding schools, working with the cities to manage growth, reducing the county debt and improving county roads, supporting public safety and maintaining a balanced budget.
Occupation: Semi-retired, Franklin Riding Academy
Family: Wife, Karla, daughter, Lindsey
Address: 242 Myles Manor Court
Visit his website here.
Marcus McBride, Republican
Marcus McBride has lived in Williamson County for eight years since moving for work (he is a product manager at a subsidiary company of LexisNexis, based in Brentwood).
Though McBride has no experience in local politics, he has a background in the military, serving in the Army National Guard. Two of his daughters, who attended Franklin High School, also served in the military.
“I’m running to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars,” McBride said. “There are a lot of expenditures that will be upcoming in the near future to help pay for new schools, and I want to be part of the solution and find a balance between supporting the school district and being fiscally conservative with our tax dollars.”
He is a supporter of creative solutions that avoid raising taxes. Though he approves of the recently passed educational impact fee to fund the construction of new schools, McBride said similar solutions to pay for current school expenses must be discussed.
“I’m very supportive of that [educational impact fee] because 20 percent of that comes from outside of the county,” he said. “Creative solutions like that will be preferable to just doing a property tax increase.”
Occupation: Product manager for VitalChek Network Inc.,
Family: Three daughters
Address: 225 Cherry Drive, Franklin
Michael Miga, Democrat
Michael Miga moved to Williamson County 17 years ago to take a job as a professor of biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University, a job he still holds.
Miga is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, and served in the United States Army Reserves.
Though he has no experience serving in a local political capacity, Miga was a charter study panel member for the National Institutes of Health, and has been serving on NIH panels since 2003. He also has experience managing millions in grant money through Vanderbilt.
Miga’s wife, Shelley Stice is a teacher at Centennial High School, and his four children are the products of Williamson County schools.
“My main reason for running is largely for the public school system,” he said. “There are some decisions that need to be made soon, because there is a lack of adequate funding.”
Though he said the county schools are very good, Miga believes an emphasis needs to be placed on STEM fields to match the way the economy and jobs are trending.
“We’re getting to the point where we need to think about how our kids are going to compete going forward,” he said.
Miga said the extra half-percent tax increase to fund new schools will help, but noted that it’s not being directed to current school programs.
In order to pay for the expanding school budget, Miga said he is not opposed to looking at every solution, including the possibility to raise property taxes.
“I live in Fieldstone Farms, and when I think about my taxes, they’re very low,” he said. “We have some room to think about these things,” though he specified a need for equitable solutions that are fair to all.
Affordable housing is another issue Miga is passionate about, as he pointed to the median house cost in the county, around $500,000.
“We really want our teachers in Williamson County to live in the county,” he said. “That’s an aspect of building a community.”
Occupation: Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University
Family: Wife, Shelley Stice, is a AP Government and comparative politics teacher at Centennial High School. Four children, two in college, one at Franklin High, one at Grassland Middle School
Address: 208 Winter Hill Road, Franklin
Visit his website here.