Rebecca’s education and career has been in theatre and opera production. She worked for 19 years with the Knoxville Opera and many other theatre projects, and she has worked the last 11 years as the production manager for UT School of Music Opera Theatre. Rebecca has been a proud member of the local stagehand union, IATSE 197, before devoting her time to help raise her great-nephew and provide support for her family.
Rebecca serves on the board of Community Action Committee as a representative for the Head Start Policy Council (chairperson) and graduated from the 2017 CAC Community Leadership class. She also serves on the board of Marble City Opera, and in the past has served on the boards of Dismas House, Community Shares as a representative of Save Our Cumberland Mountains, and the Flenniken Landing Liaison Committee.
She has lived in Knoxville over 35 years and cares greatly about our communities. As mentioned, Rebecca is helping to raise her great-nephew Wyatt, who is in kindergarten. Her niece and her baby live in her basement apartment. She believes family is the most important treasure we have, and loving support is the greatest gift we have to give.
What are three factors you feel are most critical to continuing Knoxville’s steady economic growth? How do you plan to support these factors?
As Knoxville continues on the path of growth, I feel it is crucial that we include a focus on our marginalized communities and look for ways we can provide job skill training that fits the needs of the current and developing workforce. Partnerships with small manufacturers, to bring in more jobs and identify the skills most needed, is the path I would like for our city to pursue.
I feel that small, privately-owned businesses are a thriving part of our economy, and we need to encourage and support these endeavors through small grants, like the Facade Improvement Program, and possibly support the sidewalk construction that may be required. Start-up is often the most difficult aspect of adding new small businesses to our community, and there are identifiable resources needed depending upon city location. Study of our current codes for existing structures may also allow for more possibilities of small business start-ups in viable locations.
It is important that we provide support through block grants (e.g., CDBG, HOME grants, CSBG) to our nonprofit agencies and organizations to continue the critical work and services they provide for our community. Organizations such as HomeSource, Inc., Community Action Committee, Habitat for Humanity, Metro Drug Coalition, Boys and Girls Clubs, along with many other programs and agencies, provide needed support for families to give our workforce the ability to have healthy homes, supportive childcare, greater lifestyle, and additional considerations.
What is the biggest challenge facing Knoxville businesses today? How do you plan to address this issue if elected?
As our community moves forward in growth, we need to consider that much of the jobs and growth are supported by federal dollars. As we face existing and potential cuts to our funding for projects and supportive business grants and incentives, we also face the loss of jobs to the workforce surrounding any development or services within our community. We must consider the voices that represent our state and city and ensure that they share the values and concerns of the people first, and not primarily the profits. We are all accountable for the choices that are made in selection and election of our representatives. We must make certain we all participate in that process.
In what specific ways would you like to see Knoxville’s young professionals more engaged in our community?
One value that has a through line for our American culture is giving back to the community, and Tennessee is the Volunteer State. We give back primarily with our time and money. Wouldn’t it be great if every person in our city – especially our young people – served on a committee or board for service organizations, including educational organizations, faith-based and non-profit groups? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all gave back through monetary resources and also our time by perhaps creating a community garden, attending neighborhood meetings, or organizing and adopting a throughway or creek in our community? Families may decide to participate annually with the Empty Stocking Fund or supply school supplies for a needy child in any one of our city’s many back-to-school drives. Maybe one day a week we can volunteer to deliver food to our seniors for Meals on Wheels or Love Kitchen, and others may want to volunteer to serve through P.T.A. or mentor a youth through programs such as Girls Rock Camp Alliance, Black Lives Matter, or Project Grad. We all must find what works for us and become engaged in our community. We generate our surroundings by our actions, and what we give always gives back.
All candidate profile information was submitted by the candidate’s election campaign committee. The Knoxville Chamber does not support or endorse candidates in local elections.
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