(Editor's Note: State Rep. Kevin Brooks is opposing retired educator Duane Schriver in the Cleveland mayoral election. In the interest of fairness, the Cleveland Daily Banner will make every effort …
(Editor's Note: State Rep. Kevin Brooks is opposing retired educator Duane Schriver in the Cleveland mayoral election. In the interest of fairness, the Cleveland Daily Banner will make every effort to provide coverage of Brooks' next public campaign appearance.)
Cleveland mayoral candidate Duane Schriver said Tuesday that unlike his opponent’s 12 years spent in Nashville, he has spent 42 years in the community teaching and coaching generations of students.
The contention was made during a forum hosted by the Bradley County Chapter of NAACP at College Hill Recreation Center. The former educator is opposing State Rep. Kevin Brooks, who recently announced he is leaving state government to throw his hat in the ring in a bid to become Cleveland’s next mayor. Brooks has served in the Tennessee House of Representatives for 12 years.
“I have taught thousands of kids and thousands of their parents,” Schriver said. In addition, Schriver said previous mayors were successful without the benefit of serving in state government and asked if his opponent’s experience as a legislator was a prerequisite necessary for serving as mayor.
Brooks’ supporters have claimed his legislative career in Nashville provides him political clout that will benefit the city. Schriver, however, downplays this assertion.
“What can he do in Nashville that four previous mayors weren’t able to do here?” Schriver asked before adding that supporters of his opponent laughed when he entered the race. “They thought it was a joke when I entered. They’re not laughing now.”
Schriver repeated a theme that has become his campaign mantra.
“I want to be the citizens’ candidate,” Schriver said. "I’m not a politician.”
Schriver, whose career in public education spanned four decades, served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal and administrator. In addition, after retirement, Schriver spent six years volunteering in schools. He is also a former president of the Cleveland Lions Club, as well was director of the Cleveland Public Education Foundation. He is also a 48-year resident of Cleveland.
The candidate also stated that, as mayor, he would visit each district regularly.
“I promise that every morning I will be out visiting each district,” Schriver said. “By noon, I will have visited all the districts, and the next day I will be out again visiting other parts of those districts.”
Schriver’s campaign has adopted a populist tone, with criticisms leveled at what he refers as the city power structure. He has also criticized Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland’s endorsement of Brooks. In a joint appearance in January, Rowland and Brooks announced their intention not to run for re-election to their current offices. Schriver, in public appearances and in newsprint, has criticized their joint appearance as a “coronation” and a “kick in the gut to the citizens.”
“My opponent is serving the rich people,” Schriver said. “They keep saying 12 years’ experience in Nashville is important. I’ve been here 48 years in the community. I’ve known them for a long time, and I’m going to try to remove the good old boy stuff.”
Schriver said he is looking forward to the upcoming mayoral debates, the first of which will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, June 18, in the Bradley Central High School Fine Arts Center. The second debate, to be held at WCLE’s Mix 104.1 studio and moderated by station owner Steve Hartline, will be broadcast live at 8 a.m. Friday, June 29. The election is Aug. 2.
After speaking to everyone in attendance, Schriver took questions ranging from queries about job turnover at local plants, the lack of well-lighted school bus stops to protect students from extreme weather conditions and the lack of funds spent in Cleveland’s minority-populated residential areas.
Schriver said he would work with citizens to resolve issues that were raised, and said he needed everyone to turn out to vote.
“I want everyone to feel that they are part of the solution,” Schriver said. “If you stand up for me, I will stand up for you.”
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