I cherish the Knoxville community and believe community comes in many forms. Whether it’s our family, street, neighborhood, church, business or city: all forms of community are important and should be respected and promoted. I feel the most important role of a Knoxville City Council representative is to engage constituents and work to protect and advance our community. We all feel empowered when we have an advocate engaged in our community, willing to listen and work for us. I am seasoned and ready for the task and hope you vote for me for Knoxville City Council, At Large Seat C.
Growing up in Houston
My hometown of Houston, Texas, is a melting pot of different races, cultures, languages, and socio-economic groups, which helped shape me into who I am today. It showed me how diversity can shape the character and uniqueness of a community. I learned we should celebrate and integrate our differences into a vibrant, welcoming community for all residents. While growing up in Texas will always be special to me, many of my earliest childhood memories in Houston are of traffic, congestion and construction due to that city’s rapid, uncontrolled growth. My parents both spent three hours a day commuting for work, and school overcrowding led to frequent redistricting where I attended four elementary schools and two middle schools.
My parents did not have the time or energy to embattle a public response to these frequent changes. These experiences taught me that the best time to plan for growth is now. Planning for development to prevent urban sprawl and worsen environmental conditions is called Smart Growth. I feel Smart Growth for Knoxville begins along corridors with existing infrastructure and before any plan is accepted, we should engage and listen to all stakeholders, especially ones who feel they don’t have a voice.
Knoxville and East Tennessee
After growing up in the grasslands of Texas, I am continuously fascinated by the hilly landscape and waterways of Knoxville and East Tennessee. I had been an endurance runner for most of my life, and upon moving to Knoxville, my new passion became the outdoors, chasing the latest adventure in one of Knoxville’s many parks. I later participated in ironman distance triathlons and spent hours exploring rural Knox County roadways on my bike. I believe every Knoxville resident should experience the beauty of our community. However, due to the lack of connectivity of our greenways, sidewalks and bike lanes, many of these areas are inaccessible to residents. I want everyone to have safe access to these recreational areas, which creates a healthy, vibrant, and connected city.
Neighborhoods and Community
My husband Greg and I moved to Knoxville twenty-one years ago, just two weeks after we married. We were excited to move into Forest Heights Neighborhood and begin a new chapter in our lives. The Sutherland Avenue corridor in Bearden was home to a diverse group of communities that gave us the sense of familiarity we needed in a new town. The community spirit we share with neighbors is the reason we continue to call Forest Heights home. For ten years, we celebrated our small street community by hosting an annual Memorial Day block party with face painting, cotton candy, and a parade to kick off the event. It has been a wonderful community in which to raise our two daughters.
I was elected President of Forest Heights Neighborhood Association in 2012. I was honored to lead an organization with a history of preserving the character of our neighborhood. Like most neighborhood associations, a lot of our time was spent building relationships and developing community through neighborhood awareness programs, social activities and community service projects, but the remainder was spent working to resolve difficult and, at times, controversial issues. By creating an environment of inclusiveness for all Forest Heights residents and stakeholders within the City, we came to agreeable solutions resulting in a stronger and more unified community.
Community Service Across Knoxville
The emphasis I placed on inclusiveness and community engagement led to greater roles within the City of Knoxville. In 2013, I was appointed to the Neighborhood Advisory Council by Mayor Madeline Rogero where I collaborated with neighborhood leaders to provide feedback to the City of Knoxville regarding proposed policy. This led to additional appointments to the City of Knoxville’s Public Property Naming Committee and the Public Stakeholder’s Advisory Committee for Recode Knoxville. I was later asked by several Knoxville community leaders to serve as a member of community-wide organizations, such as The Bearden Village Council and Community Forum, giving a larger, more unified voice in addressing community concerns. My continued passion for the outdoors and access to recreation opportunities recently led me to serve on the Advisory Council for Bike Walk Knoxville.
I am running for City Council because I believe there is just One Knoxville with its unique landscape of hills, ridgetops, and waterways that are accessible by all residents. I believe there is just One Knoxville with strong, dynamic neighborhoods that are valued and protected by the community. I believe there is just One Knoxville where we share and celebrate in the uniqueness of all parts of our city and receive personal, engaged representation from our elected officials. I believe in One Knoxville: not a North, East, South, and West Knoxville. Knoxville has provided a wonderful life for my family and I want the same for you. I would love your support to become your next City Council representative.