Knox County’s District 6 has been represented since 2008 by Brad Anders, a Knoxville Police Department lieutenant who ran a close race for Knox County mayor in 2018. Anders is term-limited and cannot seek re-election.
Into the race comes Republican Robert Voigt. Rob and wife Brittany live in Karns with their son, a 6-year-old student at Christian Academy of Knoxville.
At 34, Voigt says he wants to be the voice of Karns and Hardin Valley. But he’s realistic about what one county commissioner can accomplish. “Some candidates talk about the opioid crisis, and that’s a big problem,” he says, but a solution must come from the joint efforts of many.
He prefers to talk about community issues – traffic, sidewalks, public schools. “The big challenge of local government is fund allocation.”
Mayor Glenn Jacobs has been clear about not proposing a tax increase, so the landscape ahead means dividing available revenue with pressure from schools (the superintendent wants to build three new ones, and teachers want a raise), law enforcement (where salaries for most are stagnant and increased incarceration demands more inmate housing), and public works (residents are pressing for safety fixes in areas of rapid growth – like Hardin Valley).
Voigt grew up in Pennsylvania (read his story here) and spent five years in the military.
He moved to Tennessee where he worked toward a college degree, graduating at age 27. He married Brittany, a Knox County native who graduated from Farragut High School. Both got involved in real estate, then in marketing real estate with drone photography.
The real estate industry soured during the Great Recession, so Rob and Brittany moved on. Both are self-employed – Rob in project management, training and consulting and Brittany in contract administrative and social-media work.
It’s early. Most political junkies are gossiping about the upcoming city elections. In fact, a quick check shows Voigt as the only candidate who’s named a treasurer for a 2020 campaign.
Scuttlebutt has John Ashley, who ran against Anders last time, as a possible candidate. The good news is, he kept his campaign account alive. The bad news is, it contained $182.19 on the last report.
Some are talking about Kim Frazier, the Hardin Valley resident who has been dogging local government about zoning, traffic and smart planning for her area.
I stand ready to meet with anyone who is running. The Karns Bojangles’ sells a 50-cent cup of coffee in the afternoon.