Story by David Carroll

Eyewitness News Anchor

HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB)-- One of Hamilton County's most spirited races this election season is for county commission district 6, which includes Lookout Valley, St. Elmo, East Lake, Missionary Ridge and parts of Red Bank and North Chattanooga.

Incumbent John Allen Brooks is being challenged by Joe Graham and neither side is holding back.

Who's responsible for an additional $13 million in education funds for Hamilton County? District 6 Commissioner John Allen Brooks says he played a major role, threatening a lawsuit unless the state of Tennessee coughed up a huge chunk of unpaid basic education program funds.

"That was one of my campaign issues, did it in first nine months of my term. It has resulted in $13 million a year to this county," says Brooks.

But Brooks' opponent, Joe Graham says he's done his homework, and can't find any evidence that Brooks is responsible for securing those funds for local schools.

"I don't know of any county commissioner who can do any good threatening to sue the governor. It's not that big a deal," says Graham.

Graham is also pledging to be a more visible commissioner. He says most district 6 residents don't know their representative, because he only shows up during election time.

"A lot of the areas don't know who their commissioner is. The real issue is where is my opponent and what has he been doing," says Graham.

Brooks staunchly denies that he's an absentee commissioner, and says he has a record of achievements and improvements to prove it.

"You know I've been to Lookout Valley, I've been to the neighborhood association meetings more than he has. Sometimes people say things when they don't have anything to say," says Brooks.

One thing both candidates agree on, they're willing to listen to cost-saving ideas on consolidating some services by the city and county as long as both sides communicate with the other.