Whitener is a lifelong resident of Bradley County, including 10 years living in the city of Charleston.
He is a 1972 graduate of Cleveland High School. He is happily married to his wife, Kathie, and they are the proud parents of two daughters, Shannon Wilkens of Charleston and Cari Whitney of Melbourne, Fla.
He was employed by Bowater Inc. for 30 years, until his retirement in 2002.
During the last 30 years, Whitener has been a dedicated public servant. He has worked with the following organizations: Charleston Volunteer Fire Department, Cleveland-Bradley County Rescue Service, Bradley County Emergency Management as weather officer, Cleveland Police Department, 10th Judicial Drug Task Force and storm chaser for WDEF-TV.
Whitener stated that within his four-year term, he will not vote to raise taxes in the city. He also thinks it will be very important that Charleston residents put officials in these positions who know all Bradley County elected officials and can work with them. Most of them, he added, he knows personally.
“Charleston is a great community in which to live, but we have strong challenges ahead.”
He has a “to do” list. The first item on his list is annexation.
“When you get off Exit 33, the exit sign says Charleston, not Walker Valley and not Cleveland,” he said.
“I plan to fight for every inch of that ground to make sure Charleston gets its fair share. The people should have a choice of whether they pay Cleveland or Charleston taxes. I guarantee there is no comparison. We are going to have to annex — we have no choice. Growth is the key to government grant money. This will help to provide better city services and make Charleston a stronger community in which to live.”
The second item on his list is an ambulance service within the city of Charleston or on the Charleston Access Road.
“We have a lot of elderly citizens in Charleston,” he said. “Minutes could mean life or death. Also, with all the new industry, we have an even stronger need. The closest service is on Paul Huff Parkway, nearly 10 miles from Charleston.”
Other items on his list include repairing broken or burned-out street lights, repairing roads and replacing safety signs that are not readable.
“This is my ‘to do’ list,” he said. “The only ‘to do’ list the citizens in the city of Charleston have is to vote Tony Whitener for city commissioner in August.”