The Knox County primary is coming up on March 3rd, 2020. Held Law Firm is committed to supporting community leaders who tackle the issues faced by our clients every day. Local elections affect our clients’ homes, jobs, schools, and communities. We believe that some of the most important work we can do is to inform our clients about issues and candidates that directly impact their lives.
Below, we’ve outlined every contested county primary, with information compiled from candidate websites/social media, the Knox News Sentinel candidate rundown, and Compass Knox. You can find your polling place here, and you can find out which district you’re in here.
COUNTY COMMISSION, DISTRICT 1
- Born and raised in East Knox County, Dr. Lundy serves on the Historic Zoning Commission and as a trustee on the Knoxville College Board of Trustees.
- Current president of the Burlington Residents Association.
- Platform includes restoring Burlington as the downtown of East Knox County, restoring Knoxville College, building housing within the economic reach of working people, and investing in Knox County Schools.
- Former educator and incumbent District 1 Commissioner.
- Her record has been mired in controversy, as the county had to settle a $93,000 lawsuit after Gill allegedly abused a student with special needs during her time as a teacher at South-Doyle Middle School.
- Has been a vocal supporter of affordable housing initiatives, as well as stating that she is willing to raise property taxes in her district for infrastructure purposes.
COUNTY COMMISSION, DISTRICT 4
- CEO of National Safe Skies Alliance
- Former law enforcement officer and chief of security at Memphis airport.
- Has positioned infrastructure as his main concern for District 4, citing issues with traffic jams.
- Former Air Force serviceman from Stamford, Connecticut.
- He and his wife currently reside in Knoxville and own a waste collection business.
- Committed to keeping taxes low, with a focus on development, infrastructure, and education.
COUNTY COMMISSION, DISTRICT 5
- Grew up in Wears Valley (Sevier County), TN.
- Director of Thrive Lonsdale, a ministry offering Bible-centered tutoring and study for all grade levels.
- Proponent of religious release time in Knox County Schools.
- Moved to Knoxville in the 1980s.
- Helped create the county’s Growth Policy Plan, which is now a focus of conversation in a District that sees traffic problems due to growth.
- Has noted that road infrastructure is a major issue in District 5.
BOARD OF EDUCATION, DISTRICT 2
- Retired teacher of 23 years who has spoken out against mandated testing and the emphasis on evaluation in schools.
- Opposed Governor Bill Lee’s voucher program and has been involved in advocacy for the duration of her career.
- Skeptical of the Central Office move to the TVA East Tower, which could keep undocumented students and parents from being able to enter the building.
- Meade’s involvement in the school system extends as far as his being a parent of a child attending Knox County Schools.
- Financial supporters (who have donated more than $14,000 to his campaign) include David Colquitt, Haslam in-law.
- Pro-charter school and in favor of raising teacher salaries.
BOARD OF EDUCATION, DISTRICT 3
- He and his wife founded the non-profit Restoration House, which supports single mothers and their children.
- In favor of competitive salaries and diverse hiring tactics — which have been proven to improve the performance of students of color.
- Would voted yes in the controversial vote to allow Knox County students to be excused for religious instruction, but is firmly against school vouchers.
- Incumbent District 3 school board representative.
- Voted against allowing students to be excused for religious instruction.
- On the topic of diversity and inclusion, he that he had never, in 40 years, witnessed anything that would qualify as racism within Knox County Schools, and has been skeptical of diversity training for teachers.
BOARD OF EDUCATION, DISTRICT 8
- One goal is to hold parent/community meetings and to increase the presence of the District 8 school board member in the schools themselves.
- Would like to meet with school administrators to discuss disparities associated with race and class in Knox County Schools.
- Top two budget items include raises for all staff and funding for classroom supplies.
- Supports reducing both class size and emphasis on testing.
- Advocates for mental health counselors being readily available to support students.
- Recruiting teachers and school security are his priority budget items.
- Incumbent 8th District school board member.
- Has, during past campaigns, advocated for individualized attention for students.
- Enjoys the support of Knox Focus publisher, former school board member, and Republican fixture Steve Hunley, who has, in the past, referred to teachers as “bullies.”
COUNTY LAW DIRECTOR
- Current Chief Deputy Law Director under Bud Armstrong.
- Worked with Citizens for Home Rule to fight annexation by the City of Knoxville.
- Believes that the use of outside counsel creates a culture in which friends of county Law Department officials are able to charge “outrageous” fees.
- Defeated 18-year incumbent Lillian Bean for the position of Circuit Court Clerk.
- Her time as clerk was steeped in controversy, including undeposited payments.
- In favor of the involvement of outside counsel.
- History of indigent defense work.
- After public defender Mark Stephens stepped down, Governor Bill Haslam appointed Lutton to the position.
- Posits a “battle for resources” as one of the primary challenges facing the Public Defender’s office.
- Her platform includes increasing collaboration between the Knox County Public Defender’s office and the District Attorney’s office, law enforcement, and private attorneys in Knoxville, as well as
- protecting the constitutional rights and ensure fair treatment of those who cannot afford an attorney, and
- decreasing recidivism rates by treating underlying mental health conditions and drug addiction.
CRIMINAL COURT JUDGE, DISTRICT II
- Grew up in New Tazewell and practiced law with his father for 6 years.
- Currently an attorney with Hodges, Doughty, and Carson.
- Emphasizes due process and the fact that a judge with experience as a lawyer will have a better understanding of that process.
- While working for the District Attorney, he specialized in prosecuting child abuse cases.
- Former president of the West Knox Republican Club.
- Has several GOP officials on his campaign committee.
ASSESSOR OF PROPERTY
John R. Whitehead
- Property Assessor for 12 of the last 20 years.
- Predicts a jump in property values in 2022.
- Wants to have a new, cloud-based system online by late 2021.
- 25 years of construction experience.
- Worked in the Assessor’s office for two years under Whitehead.
- Concerned that state-provided iPads to be used for appraisal are not being properly utilized.
ELECTION DAY IS MARCH 3RD