If the upcoming city election were a job interview, the candidate with the most impressive credentials for city council at-large Seat C would be Hubert Smith. Sure, Amy Midis has an MBA and Amelia Parker has a couple of law degrees. Bob Thomas started the WIVK Christmas Parade and served four years in an at-large seat on Knox County Commission. David Williams has advocated fearlessly for his Pond Gap neighborhood.
But look at Smith’s preparation:
- Knoxville native
- Career as radio broadcaster
- Multi-year member of public transit board (and actually rides buses)
- Secretary of Knoxville-Knox County Public Building Authority (PBA)
- Graduate of Leadership Knoxville, 2000
- Graduate of CAC Leadership Knoxville, 1999
- Graduate of citizens’ academy for Knoxville Police Department, Knoxville Fire Department and District Attorney General
- Advisory board for East Tennessee Public Broadcast Service (PBS)
- Founder and host of monthly networking group, The Motley Crew at Crowne Plaza
Smith, 65, has learned a lot about local government over a long time – all as a volunteer.
On the issues, he says Recode Knoxville should have been a ballot initiative. Since it’s not, he thinks city council should postpone it to let the new council vote. He would prefer to see a new headquarters built for the police department, but he understands Oakwood Lincoln Park residents’ concern about quick reuse for the old St. Mary’s building and says he will collaborate with the neighborhood.
He got into the race late, appointing a treasurer, Walter Wojnar, on May 14 and not yet required to file a financial disclosure. But he says he’s “in it to win it” and will be disappointed if he doesn’t finish in the top two on Aug. 27.
That’s quite a challenge. Parker got over 2,000 write-in votes in 2017, losing to Lauren Rider. Midis will be well-funded. Thomas and his commission colleague Ed Brantley hosted four years of monthly meetings in various parts of the city and county.
Smith had a stroke in December 2018. After his discharge from the hospital, he started outpatient rehab at the Patricia Neal Center. “If I ever get rich, I’ll make a big donation to Patricia Neal,” he says, praising the staff and program. Although he’s made progress, don’t expect to see him dashing door-to-door during the campaign.
The Fountain City resident is resilient, though, and knows how to network and work the phone. Got a question? You can reach him at 865-414-8557.