Meet Catoosa County Commissioner Jim Cutler
She got them to talking by phone and they hit it off from the start. That was in April 2000.
Riverbend was coming up in June, and Cutler decided to fly into Chattanooga for it. His friend arranged for Darlene to pick him up from the airport. The two had never even seen a picture of each other.
“My friend told Darlene to look for a bald guy,” says Cutler. “She had second thoughts when the first bald guy got off the plane. I was “One thing about local politics is that there’s greater accountability because we have to look our constituents in the eye every day at work, when we shop or eat out. We can’t hide from people like politicians can at higher levels. Local politics is a lot like family.” — Commissioner Jim Cutler
Illinois native Jim Cutler is in his third term and ninth year as a Catoosa County commissioner. It was a woman and a single winter in the north that turned him into a Southerner.
Cutler was working in his native state as a marketer for a radio station that had affiliates in Chattanooga. A friend he worked with locally knew a lady from the Ringgold area, Darlene, she thought would be a perfect match for Cutler.
sitting in the back and was the last person off. We just clicked right away. Sometimes that happens.”
Cutler proposed in August and the two were married and started their new life together in Illinois. “It didn’t take much northern winter weather to convince Darlene we needed to move south,” says Cutler. By 2001, the couple had relocated to Ringgold.
Along with a change of residence came a change of work for Cutler. “Brian Brock and Matt Hullander offered me a sales position with their company, Hullco Exteriors, and I jumped at it. It’s a family business and the Hullanders are wonderful people to work with.”
Family is important to Cutler. Between them, he and his wife have four children and 10 grandchildren. Cutler grew up strongly influenced by his parents. “My father wasn’t strict, but he was no-nonsense. He was a good, moral, conservative man who taught me to tell the truth and treat other people the way I want to be treated.”
As a young man, Cutler earned a degree in communications with a minor in history and served a short stint in the Army. From there, he launched into civilian life – career, family and community involvement.
Cutler’s first dip into politics came in 1980 when he campaigned for Ronald Reagan. “I went door to door handing out pamphlets and got to meet Reagan and shake hands with him when he flew into the Bloomington airport.”
Cutler spent eight years working and living in the Ringgold area before he decided to run for office. He’s a member of American Legion Post 40 and Ringgold Kiwanis, as well as an NRA member. “I ran as an open book,” he says. “I told people my number was in the phone book and they could call any time they wanted. It still is and they still can.”
Nine years later, Cutler is still representing the people of District 3 as a Catoosa County commissioner. “I love helping people. I’m proud to be representing the people of my district. We love living in Ringgold and Catoosa County – the good, friendly, downto-earth people, good neighbors, a great place for families.”
Balancing growth and the desire of citizens to live in a rural setting is always a challenge, says Cutler. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job of it. We’ve helped bring in Northwestern Tech, Costco, Cabela’s, and other new places on Battlefield Parkway, but we still have plenty of green space and country living. We have tremendous schools that attract people looking for less crowded living conditions.”
“One thing about local politics,” says Cutler, “is that there’s greater accountability because we have to look our constituents in the eye every day at work, when we shop or eat out. We can’t hide from people like politicians can at higher levels. Local politics is a lot like family.”
“We have a good combination of people on the commission right now,” Cutler says. “There’s a good mix of expertise, which helps better inform our decisions. We share a common vision and communicate well with one another. It can be frustrating when you can’t make every citizen happy, but we work on making the county the best it can be for everyone. It’s a true honor to serve my community.”
Jim Cutler has been representing District 3 on the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners for nine years. (Catoosa News photo/Tamara Wolk)