Tommy Smith, vice president of marketing strategy for Ackermann PR, was elected to Knoxville City Council Feb. 20. He was selected on the fourth ballot by eight council members to replace Stephanie Welch from District 1 (UT and South Knoxville). Welch resigned to become a deputy mayor to Indya Kincannon.
Welch brought pizza and Kincannon provided a cake for dinner for council members and candidates who endured a four-hour vetting process, chaired by Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie.
Seven candidates gave opening statements and then answered prepared questions. Community members were given three minutes each to endorse a candidate. In addition to Smith, candidates were:
David Hayes, a member of the City Council Movement and previous candidate for city council;
Janice Tocher, who chairs the Knoxville/Knox County Planning Commission;
Anne Wallace, development director for former mayor Madeline Rogero who was not retained by Kincannon;
Kenneth Lee “Kenny” Bradley, a law enforcement veteran who currently works in Anderson County but lives in South Knoxville;
Rebecca Parr, a South Knox activist who ran for city council in 2017 with the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America-Knoxville.
Benjamin Wesley “Ben” Ream, a political newcomer who operates rope courses at Navitat Knoxville.
On the first ballot, Tocher got a vote from Charles Thomas; Hayes got votes from Amelia Parker, Seema Singh and McKenzie; Smith got votes from Lauren Rider, Janet Testerman, Lynne Fugate and Andrew Roberto. Those with no votes were eliminated.
On the second ballot, everyone voted the same way and Tocher was eliminated.
On the third ballot, Thomas switched to Smith, and Hayes was dropped.
On the fourth ballot, McKenzie and Singh switched to Smith and Parker abstained. Smith was elected 7-1.
For those keeping score, his election means the city council has six women and three men.
Before working for Ackermann, Smith was chief marketing officer for ORNL Federal Credit Union. Prior to ORNL, Smith was responsible for consumer marketing, brand management and business development at Dell Inc. in Dublin, Ireland, and Austin, Texas. Smith also has experience in retail marketing, financial services and sports marketing.
Smith holds an MBA in marketing from the University of Tennessee, and an undergraduate degree in business administration from Emory and Henry College in Emory, Va. He has volunteered with Dogwood Arts, Emerald Youth Foundation and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. Tommy and Jamie Smith have three children: Carter, Caroline and Avery.
Big decisions for March 3
These races will be decided on March 3. Early voting ends Feb. 25.
Republican Primary – Republican_Sample_Ballot_3-3-2020
Property Assessor: Tina Marshall or John Whitehead
Law Director: David Buuck or Cathy Quist Shanks
Criminal Court Judge, Division II: Kyle Hixson or Wesley Stone
Public Defender: Rhonda Lee or Eric Lutton
County Commission, District 4: Scott Broyles or Kyle Ward
County Commission, District 5: John Schoonmaker or Clayton Wood
Democratic Primary – Democratic_Sample_Ballot_3-3-2020
County Commission, District 1: Evelyn Gill or Dasha Lundy
Knox County School Board (non-partisan)
District 2: Jennifer Owen or John Meade
District 3: Tony Norman or Daniel Watson
District 8: Adam Brown, Leon Daugherty or Mike McMillan (Note: A candidate who receives 50 percent plus one vote is elected March 3; otherwise, the top two vote-getters move on to August.)
Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of KnoxTNToday.com. Reach her at 865-661-8777.