Meet the candidates, five seats up for election in Spring Hill

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Five seats are up for grabs in the upcoming Spring Hill city election, which is scheduled to take place April 13.

The mayor’s race sees an incumbent versus a newcomer. The four aldermanic seats are also on the ballot. Only incumbent Amy Wurth, Ward 1, is running unopposed. In Ward 4, two newcomers are vying for the job.

Mayor Rick Graham

Graham said he is re-running for the mayoral spot because “it is for the continuation of the work we started four years ago ... enhanced public safety, improved infrastructure, and quality of life items like better parks, walking trails, expanded library services, and to shop & dine in Spring Hill without adding to the traffic north.”

"The city has more work to do, and the pieces are coming together in our extensive planning and preparation. It is to continue the harmony of collaboration and cooperation with our elected, very committed city leaders, our high expertise staff, and the many engaged citizens."

It is about a balanced approach to growth, and not return to our turbo years of growth that was not that many years ago and that we couldn't sustain. Anything less than that, or more than we are handling today, has consequences we do not want to endure."

Graham is a native of Smyrna and attended MTSU. He works in the food dining industry for private independent schools. He first ran for office after going to a BOMA meeting in 2006 “to complain as a concerned citizen.”

He said the work that the city has to continue “is all done by a ‘team of teams’ managerial approach we collectively all make fit like a puzzle. The pieces are coming together, but our puzzle is not yet complete. We have more work to do.”

The future of Spring Hill is bright, he said.

“We are so blessed as a community, as we continue to be listed not only for the State, but nationally, for one of the best places to live, safest places, best opportunity for jobs, to raise a family, and our work toward a higher quality of life. We don't want to stall, revert back, but keep our steady stream of success moving forward in a spirit of a united consensus of cooperation and collaboration.”

Shane K. McNeill

Shane K. McNeill said that growth and wanting to make a difference led him to the mayoral race. 

“I am running for Mayor so that I can make a difference in Spring Hill’s future. I’ve called Spring Hill home for 15 years and saw it grow from a population around 7,000 to what it is now.

"At the time I moved to Spring Hill, we barely had a new Kroger and McDonald’s. I love this town and our community, but it needs help. I look forward to being a part of Spring Hill’s future success by willingly utilizing my skills in leadership, education, and experience.”

McNeill is an attorney, who graduated from the University of Alabama with an engineering degree.

“Spring Hill’s growth largely came from young newlyweds and young families," he said.

"These kids are now moving away, entering college, and forming lives of their own. Problem is, they’re going elsewhere. As our population continues to grow, it is important to continue attracting young families with affordable housing and appropriate recreational activities. Likewise, there is a generation or two that is getting older. To some degree, it’s the older generation moving to Spring Hill. We must facilitate their needs, too."

McNeill added that for a city to exist, it needs to offer certain basic necessities including public safety, utilities, and look out for the social and economic welfare of its citizens. 

"Our current leadership is Spring Hill is failing to adequately provide these services. Let’s focus on the services we provide, help small business develop and grow, and bring activities for all age groups to our city instead of sending dollars elsewhere.”

McNeill called “Spring Hill a quaint town that is distinguished with its history while maintaining a modern culture."  

"A ‘downtown’ Spring Hill can become a hot tourist area bringing in a lot of outside dollars to support future infrastructure. Affordable office and retail spaces will be birthplaces of large companies employing hundreds, maybe thousands, of people…It’s time the city seeks to serve its citizens. Let’s continue to grow, but let’s be smart about it.”

Ward 1

Amy Wurth

Wurth said she is running for another time because “over the past eight years as Alderman, I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve our great city. 

"I am running for re-election to continue my commitment to providing due diligence, professional leadership, and open communication that citizens deserve. I believe our city needs qualified individuals that have the skill set to manage a $45 Million budget combined with a vision to lead with integrity. I believe I offer these qualifications, and I am looking forward to continuing to work hard with passion to serve our community as the voice of reason."

Wurth, who graduated from Purdue University works for a reverse logistics firm.

“Over the next 4 years, I want to continue to provide oversight on our city budget through providing recommendations on funding sources and enforcing fiscal responsibility.

"I will continue to be part of the solution to our challenges by using my experience and skills to ensure we are making decisions that benefits our taxpayers first and foremost. We have many challenges before us and we must ensure that the decisions we make are to improve the quality of life for all that call Spring Hill home.”

Wurth added the future of Spring Hill is exciting.

“It is an exciting time for Spring Hill being one of the fastest growing cities in the State of Tennessee," Wurth said.

"Our growth will continue over the next four years particularly on the south and east side of our city. Spring Hill will continue to see more amenities such as parks, greenway trails and retail growth. We will also complete major roadway improvements, to help elevate roadway congestion.  I am excited about our future and I am honored to continue to be a part of shaping our path forward.”

Ward 2

Jonathan Duda

“I am running for re-election because I have the experience that is needed to complete the major road projects that are critical to fixing our traffic and transportation issues. Additionally, I have a proven record of being an advocate for citizens, holding the development community accountable, implementing smart and managed growth policies, and effectively working with city staff and other members of the board to bring results.”

Duda is from Western Pennsylvania. He and his wife moved to Spring Hill in 2003. He was first elected for Ward 2 alderman in 2005.

“My friends and colleagues would tell you that it doesn’t matter how complicated an issue is, I’m the team member that’s going to roll up my sleeves, dive into the details, and work to find a solution,” he said. “That’s the type of background and experience I bring to the City and what I believe is needed to address the challenges that we face.”

Duda's highest priority is to bring the short-term major road construction projects identified in the Spring Hill Major Thoroughfare Plan to the stage where funding can be secured and constructed. 

TDOT has funded $17 Million to begin construction of Duplex Rd widening this year because the City put approximately $6 Million of its own funds into getting that project "shovel ready," Duda said.  

"We must bring more projects, like the widening of US-31, a new interchange at Interstate 65, widening of Buckner Lane and Buckner Road to these stages." 

"The city’s comprehensive plan, Spring Hill Rising: 2040 lays out a strategic vision for the future of Spring Hill, all with the goal to make Spring Hill and even better place to live in, work in and raise a family. I believe that if we complete the projects I have outlined, we will be well positioned and prepared to support the growth. We will experience as a community in the Middle Tennessee region. I am committed to accomplishing short term gains without compromising long term vision."

Jeff Graves

Graves said he is running for office because, “as a government teacher, I continually stress to my students how important it is for them to be involved in government and to use their voice to make a difference.

"In fact, it is so important to me that I require my students attend at least an hour of a BOMA, School Board, or County Commission meeting. So, for me, it came down to needing to put my money where my mouth was and to get involved."

Graves said that growing up in Williamson County, he had a great experience and always wanted to move back once he was grown. 

"Now that I have children, I want them to have the same experience I did by loving Spring Hill and wanting to move back here when they are older. Spring Hill is already a great place to live. 

"However, I believe that the next five to 10 years are going to be critical for the health and growth of the city. This is a way that I can make a difference and hopefully make Spring Hill an even better place."

Graves grew up in Nolensville. He graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin and holds a Master’s of Divinity from Mid-American Baptist Theological Seminary.

“If elected, I would hope to make a significant investment in our roads, planning, and quality of life,” he said.

“I would hope to take action to solve the traffic problems in our community. I would work towards the widening of secondary roads to create more arterial roads providing citizens alternative routes in and out of the city to hopefully take pressure and traffic off Highway 31. I would hope to keep Spring Hill a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”

He said the future of Spring Hill is “what we make of it."

"Spring Hill is on the cusp of tremendous opportunity. While growth is inevitable, how we manage and plan growth and development over the next 5-10 years will tell the story of Spring Hill. Spring Hill has the opportunity to again prove that it is one of the best places to live, work, and raise a family.  It is the BOMA’s responsibility to be the voice of the people of Spring Hill and to tell that story well.”

Ward 3

Keith Hudson

Incumbent Keith Hudson did not respond to calls or emails by press time. Check back with the Herald for more information.

Kevin Gavigan

Gavigan said he is running for alderman because “we are on the verge of becoming one of the most coveted towns in which to live and work, not just in this state, but in the entire nation."

Gavigan also said that Mayor Rick Graham, deserves "a ton of praise for leading this city along."  

"I am running for Alderman to help take us over the top. But growth just for the sake of growth is bad. We must have smart growth, and that starts with our roads.  We are in a bad spot with our roads and there is no other way around it (pun intended).”

Gavigan spent 24 years “around Spring Hill."

He is a Lipscomb University graduate, and law school graduate. He currently works as an attorney.

"There is literally no other issue than the improvement of our roadways," Gavigan said. 

"If we can get the infrastructure of the roads right, everything else will fall in place. My service to our town will begin and ends with our roads.  Unfortunately, I believe that promises to improve the roads from our current Alderman have begun falling on deaf ears.  Traffic has been a problem in our city for years, and for years we have heard many excuses.  I will help get this city results, not more excuses.”

He added the future of Spring Hill is making people acknowledge is that Spring Hill is not necessarily an “alternative to Franklin."  

"The future of Spring Hill is that we are not the alternative; we are the sought-out first choice to put down roots. But we must work to get there. The future of Spring Hill is a place where it doesn’t take an hour to drive to Cool Springs to work during the week.”

Ward 4

Vincent Fuqua

Fuqua said he is running for alderman “because I am passionate about our city. A few of my closest friends gave me the title, ‘concerned citizen’ and have mentioned me being on the news with the title. I figured I would step up my game and run for office where I could actually make a difference. I want to be represent the citizens like myself that don’t feel that crucial issues are being addressed in a timely manner and some not addressed at all."

A Nashville native, his family moved to Spring Hill when he was 10. He operates a landscape business.

“I hope to address traffic issues and promote responsible development.  Traffic is a nightmare in Spring Hill and is only going to get worse unless the city and state work together to get ahead of the issues. Highway 31 needs to be addressed to get people in and out in a timely manner. This could mean 31 itself gets widened from Spring Hill into Franklin or other routes implemented throughout the area to minimize the traffic on 31."

Fuqua said that developing responsibly consists of the right developers with the right vision. 

"Visions that go beyond financial interest. When developing an area, the impact of roads, intersections, and schools needs to be analyzed closely and zoned appropriately.

“Spring Hill will continue to grow and prosper over the next thirty years. With businesses looking to move south from Franklin and Brentwood, the next stop is Spring Hill. We should see an influx of residential and mixed-use developments similar to Berry Farms or Westhaven in the wake of business towers, similar to that of Nissan or CHS. 

"I expect that we will have an I-65 interchange for the north side of Spring Hill and the possibility of Saturn Parkway extensions to accompany that growth.  Spring Hill is not the small town of the past, but rather one of the fastest growing areas in the state.  It is vital that we preserve its hometown feel by taking action.”

Douglas Holtz

Holtz said he is running for Ward 4 alderman because he would like to see growth with a vision.

“I have seen this city grow from about 4000 to what it is today, around 36,500. I have been frustrated and exasperated as I have seen the city move forward with no real vision and plan for growth. I have also been blessed and relieved as I have seen in recent years an attempt to fix those problems of the past and plan for the future. “

He said he has “been actively involved with Spring Hill in more of a ‘behind the scenes’ manner, and now it is time for me to step up and take on a more public servant role."

Holtz graduaded from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. He has worked in retail, and restaurant management, and as a business owner of a commercial cleaning business and an essential oils wellness advocate.

“I believe that a safe place to live is a great place to live so I want to make sure that Spring Hill remains safe."

To me that means “making sure that our first responders are fully equipped with proper buildings to prepare to do their daily tasks and making sure that our road infrastructure is safely and efficiently developed and updated to meet the commuting and living needs of the residents." 

In addition, he said he wanted to make sure the citizens of Spring Hill feel financially secure and make sure that Spring Hill is a safe place to play.

"Future of Spring Hill is very bright and positive. We will see road infrastructure improvements coming this year as well that have been long awaited and even longer in need. We are also seeing the development of some new Planned Zoning Districts areas."

The last day to register to vote in the Spring Hill election is March 14. Early voting takes place March 24 through April 8. Voting will take place at the Winchester Building, 563 Maury Hill Street in Spring Hill. 

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