Act 1 – The Interview
Last week, I received a call from the Governmental Affair Director of the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors (KAAR) inviting me to a candidate interview. They said they were conducting interviews with all of the County Commission candidates with a competitive March 3rd race. The interview would be just 15 minutes and would I be interested. I was already aware that an entity called the Tennessee Realtor PAC had given substantial donations to almost all of the Republican candidates in County Commission races in 2016 and 2018. I also knew that I would not be accepting PAC donations in any case. But I figured it would be interesting to hear what they had to say and, if nothing else, it would be a good opportunity for me to practice my rhetoric in a formal setting. So I accepted the interview and scheduled it for yesterday morning.
It was a formal setting, sure, but I was more in practice mode, so I decided to dress in my casual campaign attire.
I got there early, as I like to do with all things in my life, and saw the interview before mine going on. It was a long conference room table in a room with glass from floor to ceiling. There were 12 people around the table and one interviewee. Not intimidating at all, right?
Despite the intimidating setting, when my turn in the room came, I was not really nervous. I borrowed my friend’s line that it was my Pinocchio moment. I was a real candidate now. The interview was scheduled for 15 minutes and we got done in a cool 12. I answered the questions, which came only from the Director, as best I could. The interview with the candidate before me went over the 15 minute time limit and I could see that he received questions from more than just the Director. I learned later that candidate is the Republican incumbent from a neighboring Commission district to mine.
I was up front with them that I wouldn’t be accepting PAC money and that I was going to go against those kind of donations in my campaign. I also asked about how they called themselves a non-partisan PAC, but they had only given to Republicans in the past two Commission elections. I’m sure I didn’t rattle anyone with my observation, but I’ll give myself points for being honest and up front about my campaign strategy in front of a crowd unlikely to be receptive to it. They said they would be in touch, but I don’t expect to hear from them again.
Act 2 – The Drive
One of the campaign pledges I’ve made is that I’m going to drive all of the roads of the District. I learned yesterday how difficult that’s going to be. And it gave me a hint how tough my pledge to walk all the neighborhoods in the District is going to be.
I had to take my mother-in-law to a doctor’s appointment after the interview and it was one of her appointments which usually take a long time. Since I was already in the District, I decided to drive some of the roads and neighborhoods near her appointment. Here are some of the roads I drove on:
CROSSROADS WEST APTS
It was about an hour of driving and stopping to take notes. I think it’ll go faster if I have someone in the vehicle with me who can type while we drive. Or vice versa.
Every day on the campaign learning something I can use the next day.
Act 3 – The Meeting
The capper to the evening was a 2 1/2 hour special meeting at the County Commission regarding discussion of the contract details related to the TVA East Tower and Summer Place Complex. This is a controversial move by the county government to “buy” (by easement) a Tennessee Valley Authority building in order to move the Knox County Schools administrative offices out of an older building that the County would like to sell to some developers. There’s a lot going on in this deal, too much for me to try and summarize here. If you want to read more, check out these articles. The District 2 (Courtney Durrett), District 4 (yours truly), and District 5 (Kimberly Peterson) Democrats were on hand to observe. From all indications, the Commission is going to sign off on this deal, although there is at least one legal hurdle to overcome. The vote will be next week and you can be sure that I’ll be there for the fireworks.