By Alice C. Newgen, Reporter
2019 municipal elections will be upon us sooner than one might expect, just around the corner. Chatsworth City Councilman K.W. Gong, age 77, has said that he will seek election to the mayoral office of Chatsworth.
“In August I’m going to run for mayor here in Chatsworth. The mayor wanted me to run,” said Gong.
At this time Gong says he is not aware of anyone else running for the mayor’s position. He will resign as a council member next month.
“I am not going to run and I do support K.W,” Chatsworth Mayor Tyson Haynes said
“What will happen is K.W.’s term is not up as far as a councilman so when he qualifies to run for mayor he will have to come off the council,” said Haynes. “You can’t hold an elected position while you are running for another one. It will be March of 2020 before we can have a special election to fill his vacant position. The state doesn’t allow you to hold special elections except certain periods and it is usually, I think, March, which would be the first time under state law that we could hold a special election.”
According to Haynes, Councilman Gong is very familiar with the goings on of the local government. Gong says the city of Chatsworth generally stays close to its budget. The supervisors work well together, including the police department, fire department, Public Works, and other areas of the local government.
“I want this to continue and hopefully some other things I will be able to help in the future,” said Gong. “We are very fortunate to have a good working relationship with each other and the county. I want to keep that because it is really important to get along with each other.”
Gong worked in Murray County for 23 years. He has a degree in banking and finance and has worked in various banks in Tennessee and Georgia.
“I spent over 49 years in banking,” he said. “I retired in 2015 and I ran for office in 2017 and won. I went into office in January 2018. We stay as close to budget as we can. We don’t have any debt. We try to stay out of debt. In 2018 we bought a fire truck and we paid down a part of it with a five year plan. We don’t have any bond debt like most places have. The sales tax that we get a portion of, it pays for those items. That pays for police cars and we are getting a new garbage truck that should be here this month. We try to be as progressive as we can and still stay within budget.”
The story of Gong’s family is truly inspirational and goes back generations ago when his ancestors left China. The stories he heard related to the early 1900s when the Japanese would come over to China and capture its people along the coast to make slaves out of them. Some of the Chinese managed to leave that area and go to different places to start over. His family came to the U.S.
He said, “Some of them originally started with the railroad. When they accumulated enough money to live they would stop off places and start a life. Actually, mostly the men came over and after they would find a place to live, they would ask to bring their wives over. My grandmother spent three years on Ellis Island. This was in the early 1900s. You had to be vetted in whatever the process was. They had to get papers to be approved for them to come. There were hundreds of people there and they all worked together. They cooked together and they had facilities. This is what I heard people say about it. I never got to meet my grandmother or grandfather.”
Chatsworth is where Gong wants to be. He moved here in 2015 and says the people are nice.
“I was living in Dalton when my wife passed away. She had terminal cancer and she said she wanted to be buried in Murray County. After I retired I bought a house over here,” said Gong.
The City of Chatsworth holds municipal elections at City Hall using a paper ballot system. The Municipal Qualifying period is Aug. 19-23, and the General Municipal Election will be held Nov. 5 this year.