Mark Padgett Takes It The Extra Mile
Written By John M Disque
Edited By James Howell
Padgett’s “Rock The Vote” was a non-stop 24 hr campaign, a last mile sprint to the finish line. It began at 8am on Monday and would continue until the polls opened at 8am Election Day morning (Tuesday). Still, it was just beginning and naturally he’ll be out at the voting locations throughout Tuesday and watching carefully as the results come in Tuesday night.
As expected... I was the only media out in the wee hours of the morning but there were parts of the final campaign minutes that I wasn’t about to miss.
At 3am I caught up with him and “The Padgett Clan” at Kroger on Chapman Highway. We had some time to kill so we wound up at IHOP and, over breakfast, as you may imagine, we discussed local politics.
Surprisingly he wasn’t tired. In fact he looked like he was just getting started.
I asked if he was nervous and he defiantly said, “No. If I hadn’t given everything I had I probably would be nervous but there’s nothing more I can do. The rest is up to the community.”
We spoke about a lot of topics that are often avoided by other politicians: homelessness, poverty, youth, veterans, city/county cooperation, crime and many more.
As usual - he was his decisive-self carrying a combination of smiles and dead-seriousness. His analytical mind is always at-work and it’s hard to catch him off-guard on any issue. He’ll look you in the eye, prove that he’s on top of the issue and has thought it through completely.
From IHOP I followed Padgett to KARM (Knox Area Rescue Ministry). This would be the story I came out to cover (The IHOP journey was an unexpected detour) but it has less to do with politics and elections than you might think….
KARM serves 1,000 meals a day, provides shelter and is a longtime Godsend to the majority of our homeless population. As successful as the organization has been they often struggle with supplies and enough space to shelter their people.
When I met up with him he had been shopping for groceries to donate to KARM and now it was time to deliver them.
He could’ve used this time at an all night business or running a live feed on the net but he chose to make a priceless statement to all of the people of Knoxville. I believe he’s showing all of us that he’s not turning his back on any part of the community. If that includes delivery groceries to KARM at 4am to no media, no fuss and no glory – then that’s what he chose to do.
Like it or not – the 4,000+ people on the streets of Knoxville are more than drunks, drug addicts, losers, the luckless and people who made bad choices – they are a part of our community. Many just need another chance or someone to believe in them. Many just need a mayor that cares.
Published in East TN
News November 8, 2011