Knox County is ideal for businesses to call home. We pride ourselves in having affordable housing, not being prone to natural disasters, being near attractions as the Great Smoky Mountains, bordering 8 states, easily accessible through I-40 or I-75, and having a highly educated workforce.
It’s important to me that we, Knox County, petition and attract quality businesses to this dynamic region. Allowing blue collar and tech industries to call Knox County home — while offering great incentives for these companies to stay long term. This can be done with negotiations set in providing employees with livable wages, benefits, and paid family sick leave. Our residents deserve better jobs and higher pay.
Knox County is doing it right! We spend over 60% of our budget towards education. I plan to continue efforts in that direction by being an advocate for quality education. I am confident that by cutting wasteful spending and partnering with various businesses and non-profits, we can spend more in the classroom.
Quality early pre-K programs are proven to enhance the lives of children who have access to them. I want to support and expand early pre-K programs, making it accessible county wide and create common-sense zoning for elementary and middle schools.
Educators are vital to Knox County and I believe in recruiting and retaining quality educators by supporting their professional development. This means allowing their pay to reflect competitive wages and assisting in lowering college debt.
We must continue making our students college-ready but also making our students workforce-ready. By expanding and creating easier communication with existing programs, we will be able to offer two year degrees upon high school graduation — and offer technical programs, trade certificates and apprenticeships to alleviate costs and barriers in finding employment.
I am a proponent in continuing to make housing more affordable, as well as increasing the pipeline to home ownership. Let’s keep what works while utilizing federal, state, and local dollars to purchase blighted properties. We can then offer lower rates to residents and developers to increase home value — therein beautifying our neighborhoods.
More can be done to combat homelessness in our county, particularly our homeless veterans. Common sense partnering, by building coalition with organizations who have proven track records in providing assistance and homeless rehabilitation services, is one of our top priorities.