By Charlotte Underwood
LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – After half a century of serving Campbell County’s first district, Whit Goins has officially retired from running for office. The 82-year-old has six years on the Campbell County School board and 44 years as a commissioner under his belt.
He said he is the “longest serving commissioner that he knows of” and that it had been a “pleasure to serve the people of the first district” over the years. Goins also said he had enjoyed working with his fellow commissioners.
He said he is most proud of his and the commission’s efforts at having water access provided throughout the first district.
Other accomplishments he is proud of include building new schools, the new jail, and many others.
He was first elected to the school board in 1970. Since then, he has “only been beat twice.” The first time he lost on the school board, he ran for county commission.
Goins’ consistent goal has been to see waterline extensions bring public water to all areas of the extensive rural communities of the first district.
Goins first ran for school board because he was interested in helping Valley View School, which at the time did not have good water, according to Goins, who said it smelled like sulfur and tasted bad.
“One of the first things I did was get good water up there; I had help, but that was my first focus and I’m still proud of it,” Goins said.
He and other commissioners went to Washington, D.C. two times to lobby for grant funding for water access for the county.
His fellow commissioners and friends honored him at the June commission workshop.
Charlie Curtis, director of the Tennessee County Commissioner Association, came from Nashville to present Goins with his 20-year service award. It was his second 20-year service plaque and his third recognition plaque overall.
Goins said he enjoys giving back to the community and is still active in the Shriners, where he has been a member for more than 60 years.
“I’ve probably sold as many Shrine papers as anybody, probably more; I’ve just always had a big heart for it.” Goins said.
“Blessed” by his family, Goins said he was thankful for his wife Beatrice and two kids. His son Mark is the Coordinator of Elections for the State of Tennessee and his daughter Marquita works at Valley View School (CORRECTION: La Follette Elementary School). She said she is proud of her dad and that something she has heard him say many times is ‘that everybody needs water.'”
“He cares about people, if someone needed his shirt, he would give his shirt off his back,” Marquita Goins said.
Mark Goins said he was proud to be the son of parents who believed in service.
“From an early age, I quickly learned that dad loved helping people and my mother was patient in answering the numerous phone calls he received during his long tenure as an elected official. My father is someone who has truly made Campbell County a better place to live. He has worked hard for the citizens of Campbell. The best quality about my father is he keeps his word. Hard work, keeping his word, and loving to help people – that’s my dad’s legacy.” Mark Goins said.
One could say politics runs in the family as Whit Goins has two brothers who have served on the school board as well; his older brother Walter served 24 years, while his other brother Wallace served four years.
“That’s more than 75 years among all three brothers, and that’s pretty special,” Mark Goins said.
Goins said he wanted to thank the people he worked with on the county commission and that he had enjoyed working with them.
“We worked well together and that’s good. When you can do that, you can get stuff done for the people, which is what I always tried to do. I really want to thank the public from the first district for voting for me over the years; I always made the ticket,” Goins said with a smile. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 08/08/2022-6AM)