Former Knoxville Mayor Daniel Brown, the current city councilman for the 6th District, has endorsed Gwen McKenzie to succeed him in that post. He is term-limited and cannot seek reelection to the seat.
“I think she’s the best candidate for the job,” Brown said. “She’s intelligent and thoughtful and the kind of person who will be able to get the job done and work well with our mayor and the city administration.”
Brown was the first African-American mayor of Knoxville.
Additionally, seven of the 12 candidates who ran against McKenzie in the crowded primary election in August have endorsed her in the citywide general election. They are Joyce Brown, Charles Frazier, David Gillette, Zimbabwe Matavou, Damon Rawls, Kennie Riffey and Brandy Slaybaugh.
“I appreciate the support of these great people who care deeply about the 6th District and the City of Knoxville,” McKenzie said. “All of them showed their commitment by their willingness to put themselves out there as candidates. I am humbled and grateful that they now endorse me for the position.”
Others announcing their endorsement of McKenzie include state Rep. Rick Staples, former Knoxville City Councilman Theotis Robinson Jr. and former Knox County Commissioners Thomas “Tank” Strickland and Diane Jordan. Jordan was the first African-American woman to serve on County Commission. These officials previously have announced their support and hosted an event in her honor: Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe, longtime Knox County School Board member Sam Anderson, current City Council member Brenda Palmer and former City Councilman Larry Cox.
In addition, McKenzie earned the endorsement of the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Pastor Daryl Arnold of Overcoming Believers Church and civil rights leader Rev. Harold Middlebrook Sr. also have announced their support for McKenzie.
“I believe Gwen McKenzie will provide forceful leadership and speak to the needs of the Knoxville community in helping to advance and promote an effective and positive city,” Middlebrook said. “She deserves our vote.”
The Knoxville Fire Fighters Association and Iron Workers Local 384 also have endorsed McKenzie for City Council.
McKenzie, a lifelong resident of Knoxville’s 6th District, has a long history of community service, and she comes from a family with a history of civic involvement. She serves on the boards of the Knoxville Area Urban League and the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority. She is a former board member of Knoxville Botanical Garden, Girl Talk, Inc., and Tanasi Girl Scout Council.
Her volunteer work includes service to Second Harvest Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Mission of Hope, Love Kitchen, Crutcher Memorial Youth Enrichment Center, National Achievers Society and Project Ready.
She is an executive with CVS. Her husband, Sam, served two terms on the Knox County Commission and her late father, Woodrow Z. Wilson, was the founding executive director of the Knoxville Area Urban League.
Her top issues are economic development, community revitalization, programs for youth and families and community policing. She is a major supporter of downtown development and an advocate for development across the 6th District.
Early voting in the city elections ends Thursday, Nov. 2. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.