The rating system is on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best.

Knoxville City Council, District 6, Primary Election

Deidra C. Harper *

Garrett Holt *****

Gwen McKenzie **

Knoxville City Council, District 6, Primary Election

Deidra C. Harper

Garrett Holt

Gwen McKenzie

Primary election takes place on August 31, 2021

Recommendation: Recommend Garrett Holt who is a conservative, wants to keep taxes low, is supported by Republicans, and whose Facebook Likes include Tennessee Right to Life and Living Hope Community Church.

Deidra C. Harper: Strongly Do Not Recommend       

            Overall Rating: 9.0%

Big Government/Small Government Rating: Big 82%; Small 18%              

            Christian World View Rating: Christian 3%; Secular 97%                

Background

35 years old

Lives in Knoxville

Is an entrepreneur Co-Owning Elite Facility Maintenance and a Freelancer who focuses on Graphic Design.

Bachelor’s Degree, Studio Art, University of Tennessee

Master’s Degree, Graphic Design, Portfolio Center

Big Government/Small Government

Budget, Spending, and Taxes          Possible Score 30       Total Score 26  

Business and Consumers                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 13

Addressing the 42% Poverty Rate – I’m running for City Council 6th District because there is an urgent need to bring an elevated vision to matters that are important to us like creating social investment opportunities, developing avenues that will allow businesses to grow, and funding youth enrichment programs. There is an urgent need for someone to effectively champion matters that will directly reduce the current 42% poverty rate in the 6th District. I carry within my heart to serve as a visionary for and a voice of the people. (13)

Business Investment – Local business owners gaining access to capital and expanding their businesses.

  • Increase the number of Black and Minority owned businesses doing business with the City of Knoxville
  • Job Creation and Retention
  • Re-Establish Title VI Office (13)

Conservative                                      Possible Score 30       Total Score 29 

Endorsed by:

  • Run for Something – Run for Something helps recruit and support young diverse progressives to run for down-ballot races in order to build a bench for the future. (29)
  • The City Council Movement – People-centered policies that advance development in disenfranchised communities. The City Council Movement evolved from Rescue and Restoration, a political caucus formed in 2014 to address health, political, education and economic issues that affect predominantly African-American communities. The mission is to strengthen the political power of the people, hold elected officials accountable, organize, educate, and encourage citizen participation to secure a democracy that is equitable to all citizens. (28) 

Other                                                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 14 

Held an Anti-Police Brutality Protest at Krutch Park (19)

Equitable Community Growth – Ensuring that city growth serves the needs of all Knoxvillians​

  • Real Investment in Affordable Housing
  • City Budgets that serve people
  • Community Guided Redevelopment (16)

Youth Development – Elevating the needs and voice of the youth; they are the future.

  • Youth Empowerment and Civics Education
  • Workforce and skilled trade training for youth
  • Mental Health Wellness Programs (12)

Community Led Safety – Creating a public safety plan that is community led and informed

  • City employed social workers and Mental Health Crisis response team
  • Elevate and Empower PARC
  • De-escalation and cultural competency training (13)

“I’m running for City Council 6th District because there is an urgent need to bring an elevated vision to matters that are important to us like creating social investment opportunities, developing avenues that will allow businesses to grow, and funding youth enrichment programs. There is an urgent need for someone to effectively champion matters that will directly reduce the current 42% poverty rate in the 6th District. I carry within my heart to serve as a visionary for, and a voice of, the people”.  (12)

Christian World View

Abortion                                             Possible Score 40       Total Score 2     

Family Values                                    Possible Score 30       Total Score 1

Marriage                                            Possible Score 30       Total Score 0

Picture on her Facebook page of her attending the South Knox Pride Festival (0)

Post on her Facebook Page – “Happy Pride Month” (0)   

Garrett Holt: Recommend       

            Overall Rating: 81.2%

Big Government/Small Government Rating: Big 20%; Small 80%            

            Christian World View Rating: Christian 82%; Secular 18%                        

Background

National sales manager for a leading medical technology company.

Bachelor’s Degree, Accounting, University of Tennessee, Summa Cum Laude

Budget, Spending, and Taxes          Possible Score 30       Total Score 4

Fiscally Responsible Budgeting

  • Keep Low Taxes for Knoxville Families
  • Focus on Community Needs and Essential Community Services
  • Enhance Revenue through Economic Growth (4)

Business and Consumers                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 4

Would strive to create prosperity by eliminating the anti-job climate in the city and he vowed to prioritize business growth and promote lasting economic development. (4)

Job Creation and Real Economic Development

  • Create Prosperity by Eliminating Anti-Jobs Climate
  • Prioritize Jobs and Business Growth in District 6
  • Promote Lasting Economic Development (5)

Conservative                                      Possible Score 30       Total Score 6 

Is a conservative (3)

“If I’m elected, I’ll be one of nine voices and I’m fortunate to be running alongside some good candidates. “You have Nicholas Ciparro (running in District 2), Elizabeth Murphy (District 1) and Jim Klonaris (District 4).” (9)

Is supported by Republicans (6)

Facebook Likes include:

  • Volunteer Republican Women’s Club (6)

Other                                                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 6

Knoxville is truly an amazing place to call home, but we are currently facing problems like high poverty, rising crime, slowed economic growth, and an unbalanced budget. We need to change course and find solutions to these dire problems. Divisiveness is not going to solve these issues. It will take community actions and responsible decision-making. As a leader, I want to listen to the public’s concerns, find common ground that unites us, and work to improve our community’s quality of life. (6)

He’s a supporter of the police force and front-line workers. He also vowed to reduce crime with job opportunities and give high priority for solutions to mental health and the drug problem. (5)

Community Safety and Effective Policing

  • Address Criminal Justice Reform
  • Reduce Crime with Job Opportunities, Community Engagement, and Effective Policing
  • Prioritize Solutions for Homelessness, Mental Health, and the Drug Use Crisis (7)

Christian World View

Abortion                                             Possible Score 40       Total Score 36

Facebook Likes include:

  • Tennessee Right to Life (36)   

Family Values                                    Possible Score 30       Total Score 23

Has spent time volunteering for KARM, The Salvation Army, the Ronald McDonald House, MEDIC, and East TN Children’s Hospital. (20)

Facebook Likes include:

– Living Hope Community Church Knoxville (27)

–  South Park TV Show (6)

– God (30)

– Chick-Fil-A (24)

– Jesus is the Son of God (30)

Marriage                                            Possible Score 30       Total Score 23

Gwen McKenzie: Do Not Recommend    

            Overall Rating: 40.8%

Big Government/Small Government Rating: Big 76%; Small 24%            

            Christian World View Rating: Christian 52%; Secular 48%                        

Background

58 years old

Married with six children

Lives in East Knoxville

2018 – Present – Knoxville City Councilwoman; current Vice Mayor of the City Council

Budget, Spending, and Taxes          Possible Score 30       Total Score 24  

Business and Consumers                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 15

Conservative                                      Possible Score 30       Total Score 20

Is a Democrat (27)

Endorsed in 2017 by:

  • Former Knoxville Mayor Daniel Brown – Brown has contributed to Democratic Party of Tennessee (27)
  • Joyce Brown
  • Charles Frazier
  • David Gillette
  • Zimbabwe Matavou
  • Damon Rawls
  • Kennie Riffey
  • Brandy Slaybaugh
  • State Representative Rick Staples (D) (27)
  • Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett – Burchett has contributed to Jason Zachary (R) (1)
  • Former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe – Ashe has contributed to Rusy Crowe (4)

McKenzie has contributed to:

  • Karl Dean (D) (28)
  • Democratic Party of Tennessee (27)

Other                                                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 17

Spearheaded a resolution to ban gun shows on city-owned property. She says this is needed because the gun shows at the park are too close to schools and churches. She also said she owns a gun herself, but isn’t anti-gun. She said she believes East Knoxville, a place she says has been labeled a gun zone in the past, isn’t the right place for a gun show. (17)

In December 2020, the Knoxville City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday that apologized for past actions hurting African American communities and works to address equity restoration. The resolution was requested by Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie. If approved, the city council would recognize that before healing can begin in African American communities, the council must “acknowledge the hurt in our history inflicted on African Americans.”  The resolution apologizes for predecessors’ participation in the enslavement of Black people in Knoxville. It also apologizes for decades of a federal Urban Renewal program that demolished Black communities to expand public infrastructure. Knoxville’s Urban Renewal projects lasted 1959 – 1974, according to documents supporting the resolution. Officials said that 15 African American churches were affected by the projects, and more than 2,500 families were displaced. Knoxville City Council will create an African American Equity Restoration Task Force comprised of business, community, financial, education, faith, healthcare, youth and city leaders. The resolution also requests that the administration commit $100 million by applying for local, private, state and federal grants over a 10 year period to support the African American Equity Restoration Task Force’s solutions. (17)  

Christian World View

Abortion                                             Possible Score 40       Total Score 20     

Family Values                                    Possible Score 30       Total Score 12

Attends Foster Chapel Baptist Church (21)

Member of Knoxville Chapter N.A.A.C.P.  (3)  

Marriage                                            Possible Score 30       Total Score 20