Political activist Emison elected mayor, finds ‘financial distress’

John Avery Emison, active for years in statewide Tennessee policy and politics, has been elected mayor of Alamo, defeating 30-year incumbent and Tennessee Municipal League board member Tommy Green.

Since the May 6 election, Emison said in a telephone interview, his review of the Crockett County town’s books indicates the city’s water treatment system is in “financial distress” with an operating deficit that had not previously been reported to the Board of Aldermen.  He’s contacted state officials about the issue.

Emison takes office June 6 after the “highly-contested race,” according to the Crockett County Times —  though Emison says there’s some question about the inauguration date. The Crockett County Election Commission reports he won the election with 370 votes to Green’s 300, or about a 55 percent to 45 percent margin.

Emison was initially known as leader of Citizens for Home Rule, which started in 1980 as a group opposing Knoxville annexations, filing multiple lawsuits, but has subsequently expanded as a statewide organization devoted to private property rights. (Note: Most recently, it set up a PAC that was active in 2016 legislative elections.)

In 2014, he headed “Vote No on 2,” a group that opposed (unsuccessfully) passage of a Tennessee constitutional amendment on judicial elections that lets the governor appoint judges to appellate courts, subject to a later yes-no retention election on whether they get a full term.

Green is a former president of TML, which represents city governments statewide in lobbying efforts at the legislature. As a former president, he continues to sit as a member of the TML board.

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