Sweet Briar resident Laura Fangman has picked up a petition as she considers a run for Farragut Alderman Ward 1 (North).
A Realtor by trade, she and her husband, Jeff Fangman — retired from the U.S. Marine Corps. — live with their two teenage children in one of the Town’s key neighborhoods targeted to receive 5G technology.
In recent months, as she has worked to educate herself and the community about the proposed rollout, Fangman has felt a pull toward politics.
“I kind of feel like this is the direction I’ve been headed for most of my life,” she said, noting her early college studies included political science, communications and journalism before graduating with a sociology degree.
A native of Quincy, Illinois, Fangman and her husband moved around the United States quite a bit during his 27 years in the service, and they carefully considered where to live and raise their children.
“When he retired, all of a sudden we got to live anywhere we wanted, and we chose Farragut,” she said. “I love it here — it is an amazing place to live.”
Her work website, Weknowknoxville.com (Fangman works for Doorbell Real Estate), reflects that attitude, as it promotes much of what makes Farragut and the surrounding area “home.”
That investment took on special significance as Fangman became aware of Verizon’s planned 5G rollout in Farragut earlier this year. She began attending both Farragut Municipal Planning Commission and Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings, where she voiced her opposition.
Two weeks ago she went a step further by adding a separate 5G informational tab to her website.
“In any community issue, there are going to be people on both sides, and not everyone is going to be happy,” she said. “But I didn’t see any one resource for the information. So it was important to me to try to be the voice of reason, and provide information — all in one location.”
Through the site, Fangman also is offering “No 5G” yard signs for interested residents.
While state Rep. (and fellow Sweet Briar neighbor) Jason Zachary (R-District 14) recently introduced legislation aimed at minimizing the impact — but not prohibiting the technology, as state and federal laws don’t allow it — Fangman said, “I’m going to continue to argue that we don’t want poles in our neighborhood.
“I’m not anti-technology, but it’s important to me to help our neighbors preserve the quality of life that’s so important to us all,” she added.
Fangman is the second candidate to pick up a petition for Ward 1 (North) Alderman.
Michael Bellamy, also of Sweet Briar, returned his petition to the Knox County Election Commission.
Alderman Drew Burnette, who represents Ward 2 (South), has picked up a petition but had not returned it as of Monday, March 16, according to Chris Davis, KCEC assistant administrator.
Deadline is noon, Thursday, April 2. Election Day is Aug. 6 and early voting begins July 17.