Meet Ca­toosa County Com­mis­sioner Jim Cut­ler

The Catoosa County News - - FRONT PAGE - By Ta­mara Wolk

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)

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