BY: JESSICA GUTMAN
On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Knoxville voters elect five new members to City Council, a majority of the nine-member local governing body.
City Council includes six members elected from districts and three elected “at-large,” which represents the entire city.
This election cycle, candidates are vying for open seats in districts one, two, three, four, and six. Candidates for the fifth district and the three “at-large” council seats run in a different cycle – with the Mayor and City Judge – which occurs in two years. Each Council member serves a four-year term.
Narrowed down from a pool of 30 candidates in the August primary election, the ballot for the citywide general election features two candidates for each district. Voters select their choice for each of the five open City Council seats.
As the legislative arm of the City, the council makes decisions on issues ranging from local project funding to short-term rentals regulations (Airbnb, for example).
Despite the direct impact their legislation has on Knoxville citizens, voter turnout in City elections is historically low. In the primary election, only 7,140 out of the over 85,000 eligible voters made their way to the polls.
To combat this issue, the Knoxville Chamber hosted a Young Professional Candidate Forum on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Jackson Terminal to engage the city’s young professionals in the upcoming election. This gave them the chance to meet face-to-face with the City Council candidates and hear their stances on issues during a structured, moderated forum.