Giles County Executive Gets Special On The Job Training
Updated: Feb 8
A cold snap over Christmas gave Graham Stowe an unexpected look at his job as Giles County Executive.
Stowe, who spoke recently to the Pulaski Exchange Club, was elected to his first term in August. He replaced Melissa Greene, who spent the last few years of her term woking through the effects of COVID 19 on the county.
Stowe had a different baptism of sorts when water mains burst, causing water tanks to drain and then undergo the long process of refilling.
While the city of Pulaski has its own water system, much of the rest of Giles County is served by smaller, independent water systems.
Several utility districts in Giles County purchase water from the city of Pulaski, which makes the city and the utility districts interconnected, though not under the same ownership.
He commended the cooperation he received from newly elected Mayor J. J. Brindley, also in his first term,and other agencies such as Pulaski Electric System, the Pulaski Water Department, media outlets such as WKSR Radio and the Pulaski Citizen, utility districts In the county and other agencies.
A veteran of the United States Coast Guard from which he retired as captain, Stowe said county government could be just about everything from slow, to deliberate.
“While I have a bent toward decisiveness and action, county government moves slowly, but the deliberative process can be helpful in sharpening good ideas and leveraging minority viewpoints,” he said.
After the water mains burst and then were repaired, Stowe added Bill Myers, as director of the Giles County Office of Emergency Management, to provide more coordination in future emergencies.
In the United States Coast Guard, Stowe’s service primarily focused on counter-drug and counter-migrant operations in the Caribbean, and search and rescues in the Pacific from Alaska to Guam.
He earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois and completed leadership courses through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Management Institute.
He was Coast Guard Military Aide to President Clinton for two years providing personal staff assistance; carrying the nuclear “football” and coordinating support for the President’s domestic and international itinerary. A county llke Giles, with its limited tax base, can’t always afford to do everything that residents would like to see done, he said.
Using development of the site at Exit 14 as an example, alternatives to county financed development could be public/private partnerships to help split costs, he said.
The county owns land, which might help the county more if it was privately owned and generating tax revenue, he said.
One question is how long should the county hold land that might be needed eventually, he said.
County Commissioners James Lathrop, Annelle Mc Peters Guthrie, Terry Foster, Evan Baddour and Maurice Woodard also attended.
Regarding a county wide land us management plan, referred to by some as county wide zoning, Guthie asked why a county the size of Putnam, county seat Cookeville, has grown so much with so little zoning.
Stowe settled his family in Campbellsville after a 27-year Coast Guard career, retiring as a Captain.
“I look forward to discussing the way ahead for Giles County, looking out to 2030 and beyond,” Stowe said. “Our county desperately needs a strategic plan, and greater community engagement in forging that plan.”
Improving public access to local government; establishing spending discipline against a background of inflationary pressures; building county-growth and resilience; and preserving our cultural heritage that rests on the self-evident laws of God are Stowe’s goals.
Stowe has chaired the Giles County Election Commission. He and wife Jennifer have been married for 33 years; they have six children and two grandsons.