After his untimely passing two weeks ago, the general consensus is that Commissioner Ralph Van Brocklin’s presence on the Johnson City Commission will be almost impossible to replace. But, his colleagues began the inevitable conversation Thursday to decide how to choose his successor.
All four commissioners convened Thursday for a called meeting to discuss how to choose who will serve the two years remaining in Van Brocklin’s term, and decided to begin accepting letters of interest from the public, despite some opposition from Mayor David Tomita and Commissioner Todd Fowler. Johnson City’s charter previously had a provision calling for a special election when a vacancy occurred, but the charter was amended in 2014 and the process for choosing a successor is now left entirely up to the commission. It was decided that an appointment would be the best option.
Van Brocklin was honored by his colleagues with a declaration before each commissioner shared a few words about the former mayor. Van Brocklin’s wife Deborah and son Hunter were also called to the front to be recognized and presented a framed headshot.
Nearly 100 immigrants representing 37 nations were officially sworn in as citizens of the United States on Thursday morning at the first ever East Tennessee State University Naturalization Ceremony.
ETSU Civic Engagement Coordinator Nathan Farnor, who is also running as the Democratic Party’s candidate for the 7th Tennessee House District, said the event was held to celebrate and honor some of the nation’s newest citizens and give attendees more insight into the process.
At the event, dozens spoke of their path to citizenship before being officially sworn in, and following the event, ETSU Votes encouraged attendees and newly naturalized citizens to register to vote.
Congratulations to all who took the oath to become naturalized Americans, and welcome to our newest neighbors and citizens.
For those wishing to remain involved and informed in our state’s hotly contested Governor’s race, the Johnson City Press and Kingsport Times-News will be hosting an historic one-hour Gubernatorial debate on October 9th at 7 p.m. at the Eastman Employee Center in Kingsport.
Tickets will be available beginning Monday at 8 a.m. for the debate between Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Karl Dean, and can be picked up at the Johnson City Press office at 204 W. Main St. or at the Kingsport Times News office at 701 Lynn Garden Drive. Two tickets per person will be allotted. Approximately 1,200 total tickets will be issued.
East Tennessee PBS will broadcast the debate across the Tennessee PBS network of stations. The debate will also be live-streamed at www.timesnews.net and www.johnsoncitypress.com.
Attendees may be subject to search by security. No food, drinks, bags or signs will be allowed in the building. Other disruptive behavior, such as rallying, cheering, whistling or heckling will not be allowed.
The public is welcome to submit questions for consideration to be presented to the candidates by sending an email to [email protected], or they may be dropped by either newspaper office.