The fight to bring Thomas and Carol Gaddy into submission and behind the bars of the Sequatchie County jail has sparked a political challenge to Dunlap mayor Dwain Land, whose actions in 2015 launched the conflict.
Schoolteacher and businesswoman Jennifer Lockhart Greer is angered by the legal piling on against the former real estate agent, 69, and her husband, 71.
By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 101.1 FM
A lifelong county resident and a former city commission member, Mrs. Greer expresses high respect for the Gaddys and fears that governmental authority is being used to oppress them.
The couple have exiled themselves from Sequatchie County after chancery court judge Thomas Graham ordered their arrest for civil contempt of his order that they consent to a search of their house.
The vote is May 6. A second challenger, Rhonda Summer, who works in an electrical and plumbing business, is also on the ballot as Mr. Land seeks re-election.
In an opening salvo in her campaign, Mrs. Greer does not identify the incumbent or go as far as she could in accusing him of abusing his office. But she lays upon the current administration the burden borne by the Gaddys — the stymied repairs, the vast number of legal filings, the distraction of litigation, and now the promise of jail.
“I am extremely concerned for their health and well-being over this undue stress,” Mrs. Greer says. “This situation has been ongoing for a very long time and I can only imagine how stressful and exhausting it might be especially for an elderly couple.”
Mrs. Greer admits to knowing little about the case since little has been published locally about it. But principles of liberty are nonetheless clear: “I do know that private property rights are the cornerstone of our democratic republic and each and every citizen should be safe and protected from governmental abuse of power.”
The prosecution in civil court of the Gaddys is striking to Mrs. Greer. “As a lifelong resident of the area I cannot remember a time in my life where a family or individual was ever ‘evicted’ from their homes on the basis of structural safety concerns. I do know that vacant structures have been condemned but never one that is occupied and in the process of upgrading. At this point, I am unclear what the City of Dunlap is trying to achieve.”
If she wins election, Mrs. Greer says, “This issue will be a top priority,” adding, “My thoughts and prayers go out to the Gaddys.”
Business, public background
Mrs. Greer has a strong interest in the relationship between government and the people. She teaches history and civics at the high school.
For four years she was on the board of zoning appeals. She is a graduate of the elected officials academy. After graduating from Sequatchie High School in 1992, Mrs. Greer got a bachelor’s degree in political science four years later from the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. She is an active partner in two local businesses, Mrs. Greer says.