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Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 10:00 am

By Zoë Watkins

Commissioner Julie Sanders will be vacating her seat in the 7th County District after 10 years of serving.

At Tuesday’s Rules and Legislative Committee meeting, three possible nominees for the seat made short introductory speeches.

Keith Davis (Photos by Zoe Watkins)

Keith Davis is a Shelbyville native and has been a local barber for over 30 years. He also drives a school bus for Bedford County Schools and serves on the Fly Arts Council as a stage designer, producer, and director. He is also member of the Lion’s Club.

Speaking to the committee, he said, “I’ve been dabbling in watching you guys and the city and the county for maybe the last five years, wanting to get some way an opportunity to get involved. I love my community. I love the growth in my community. I love what you guys do. And I love my city.”

He also emphasized the focus on building projects for the schools.

Davis was recommended to serve by Sanders.

James Ludeman

James Ludeman is a recent transplant to Shelbyville, having moved here in 2022. He has served in several pastor roles, ranging from children to adult ministries.

Admitting he has little experience in politics, Ludeman did profess his love for the City of Shelbyville and Bedford County. “I still believe the best days are ahead,” he said.

Ludeman, who’s 36, has two children and emphasized serving in this role to show servitude. “They’re all the reason why I try to be a servant leader,” he said, also adding that his family members have struggled with drugs and addiction.

“I’ve gained the ability to be compassionate with people that are struggling, trying to figure out how they’re going to pay bills because of taxes that are crippling them. I’ve gained the ability to be there and listen to people who are frustrated because their voices are not heard,” he said.

Bryan Nerren is a well-known name in the Shelbyville area as he ran for Shelbyville City Mayor during the last municipal election cycle.

“I’ve run for public office. I haven’t been good enough to get elected yet, so maybe I can sneak in this way,” he said. “But I’m not giving up. This is my home.”

Many may also be familiar with Nerren’s story as he was detained in India for seven months while on a mission trip between 2019 and 2020.

Originally from West Tennessee, Nerren has lived in Shelbyville for 26 years.

“But since the day I got here, I’ve been serving somebody somewhere,” he said. He will be retiring from pastoring next month.

His main reason for vying for the seat, though, is—in his words—“selfish.” He said he’s doing it for his three grandsons.

“I have a five year old, a 10 years old, and 13 year old that need to work here,” said Nerren. “I really would like to continue to help our county grown, improve, and do right.”

The seat will be filled at the next County Commission meeting on June 11 at 7 p.m. at the Bedford County Historic Courthouse.

More nominees may arise during that time, but the Board of Commissioners ultimately will take nominations from the floor on June 11 during the meeting. A majority vote will determine which nominee will take the seat.

“Just because these guys came tonight is no guarantee a commissioner is going to nominate them. It doesn’t automatically put them up for consideration simply because they came tonight,” Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham said to The Post after the meeting.

Sanders also serves as the chairman for the Courthouse and Property Committee. Commissioner Drew Hooker, who serves as vice chair of the committee, will take up the position in the meantime.

Sanders, who will be moving to Florida, told The Post, “I feel like a lot has been accomplished. When I first came on the commission 10 years ago, there were so many things that had been put on the back burner, that we had so much to accomplish. And a lot of it’s happened in 10 years. And I feel really good I’ve been a part of it. I feel very fortunate.”