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Ragsdale declares candidacy

Knox County Mayor Michael Ragsdale announced his candidacy for re-election as Knox County mayor Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Foundry in downtown Knoxville.

With Knoxville Mayor William “Bill” Haslam serving as the event emcee, Gloria Ray, president and CEO of Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation, introduced Ragsdale to the crowd.

Ray said Ragsdale had done many things to improve Knox County, Knoxville and has contributed to improving international relations.

“Why, he sent the former mayor [Victor Ashe] to Poland,” she said.

More than 300 people, including Knox County and state elected officials and several surrounding county mayors, attended the event.

Paraphrasing a phrase similar to one used by Michael Douglas’ President Andrew Shepherd character in “The American President” Ragsdale said, “I am Mike Ragsdale and I would like to serve as your county mayor for four more year.”

Ragsdale said when he assumed office, “The petty political bickering had gotten so bad that it would have been comical if it weren’t affecting our progress in such a negative way. City and county governments constantly fought over every issue imaginable. And to be candid, there was fighting over some issues that went beyond imagination.”

Ragsdale added that, combined, “we decided there was a better way. We concluded it was time to move forward, work with one another and bring about change. Now, we focus on cooperation over conflict.”

In the next four years, Ragsdale told the gathering, he plans to focus on providing Knox County with the components necessary to become a “great American community.”

Ragsdale said this includes a vibrant downtown, new businesses, new jobs, “great” schools and protecting the residential character of our neighborhoods.

Ragsdale added that Knox Countians would not have a property tax or any tax increase, including the controversial Wheel Tax, levied on them this year.

“A Great American Community is a safe place to raise a family and a wonderful place to grow old. It is a community that its citizens never want to leave,” Ragsdale said as he outlined his future for Knox County. “Now, right now, is the time for us to take the next stop on our journey to fulfill our destiny and become that Great American Community.”

Ragsdale outlined the accomplishments of his first term including a focus on regional development, positive economic results, new schools, senior centers and successful programs such as Read with Me, Project Grad and Jobs Now!

Ragsdale said he was particularly proud of improved cooperation both between the county and Knoxville mayor’s offices and within Knox County government.

Although these successes occurred during Ragsdale’s administration, he was quick to give credit to a “community committed to working together.”

Ragsdale closed paraphrasing the late President Ronald Reagan, “It is Knox County’s time to become that shining city on a hill.”


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