Helsley to run for county mayor

Betsy PickleSouth Knox

South Knoxville resident Debbie Helsley has picked up a petition to run for Knox County mayor. The primary is May 3, and the general election is Aug. 4.

Debbie Helsley

The Knoxville native, a 15-year president (2000-2015) of the Communications Workers of America Local 3805, retired from AT&T/BellSouth in 2004. She is secretary of the Knox County Democratic Party.

She will finish a 10-year stint (two terms) on the Knoxville Civil Service Merit Board in March.

Helsley has been a volunteer tax preparer with VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) for six years. Until the Covid-19 pandemic, she volunteered with Knox County’s SCAN (Senior Citizen Assistance Network).

She served on the board of the United Way of Greater Knoxville for six years (two terms). She was in the Leadership Knoxville Class of 2007 and CAC Community Leadership in 2009. During her union days, Helsley served as vice president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO and vice president of the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Area Central Labor Council.

Previously, Helsley was the Knox County Democratic Party District 9 representative and served on the board of governors 2013-17. She was president of Knox County Democratic women 2020-21.

She was the inaugural president and is the current vice president of the South Woodlawn Neighborhood Association. She also serves as the SWNA representative on the South Knoxville Neighborhood & Business Coalition. Helsley is a regular volunteer for Knoxville SOUP, which is currently on hiatus.

Betsy Pickle is a veteran reporter who enjoys writing about South Knoxville.

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