Voter Registration, Urgency Of Every Vote and Behind The Politics
By John M Disque
The General Election for Knoxville Mayor is November 8. If you haven't yet registered, today (10/10/2011) is your final chance to do so. After that, the city of Knoxville's leadership is in the hands of those who understand the importance of their vote.
To register to vote in Tennessee you must be at least 18 years old on or before the next election. You must be a resident of the state of Tennessee, have no felony convictions on your record and, to be eligible to vote in the general election on November 8, you must live within the city limits.
If you're attempting to get registered in time for the city mayoral election you'll probably want to do it in person. It's simple, free and painless. Following are the places to do it; County Clerk office, Tennessee Highway Patrol office, Health Department office, Register of Deeds office, Human Services Department office or any Tennessee library. Simply ask for the form, fill out the basic information, hand it back to the clerk and you'll receive your voter registration in the mail. You'll need it when you arrive at your voting location.
Now that you know how simple it is, you may want to head out and get registered. You can come back later, read the rest of the article, visit the links and decide for yourself who will get your vote.
City Mayoral Election
In the last week or two prior to the primary election for Knoxville mayor there seemed to be quite a buzz brewing in the community. Joe Hultquist, Mark Padgett and Ivan Harmon were obviously gaining votes while Madeline Rogero's supporters were just as passionate as ever. In my own circle the election seemed to be all that everyone was talking about. There were more than one or two discussions and predictions about a record-breaking turnout but, as most of us know, the actual buzz itself didn't make it outside of the 16,500 people who voted. If it did, it wasn't persuasive enough to get the other 90,000 or so people out to the polls.
What will it take? For the past dozen or so years the media has been continually stressing the urgency of everyone's vote, but some people just don't seem to care. I'm not sure the issue is about "caring." Although they may not seem to care I'm pretty sure that most people care a great deal about the issues that effect the community we live in.
Have we turned people off to the process? Have we alienated a certain, very large, group of our society? Have we made it boring, repetitive, confusing, stale, predictable and hopeless or is it something else? Maybe it's all of those things and more. Possibly most people just don't understand the process and how simple and valuable it is.
Most people don't understand the process of balancing a government budget, the chain of command, which politician is responsible for what issues and how everything a politician does affects their daily lives. If they have a job, most people are busy trying to keep it or raise their families, get through college, or take care of bills and their daily lives. When they finally do get a minute they feel entitled to the minute. (It's theirs and they're not going to waste it reading about two politicians they never met or know anything about.)
The key to getting people to vote is to make them feel a part of the community and to help them get to know the candidates personally. Once you're at that point you can uncomplicate the issues, explain the responsibilities of the candidates and show them how their one single vote can help or hurt their chances to keep food on their table, keep their jobs, increase their leisure time, raise their families and be valued members of their community.
The basic function of the primary election was to narrow the field down to the two top vote-getters. In this case, it was Madeline Rogero and Mark Padgett – each hoping to be Knoxville's next mayor.
Although the following information may seem irrelevant to some people, it's written for the young voter, new residents, the new voter and those who might have turned away from politics in years past. It's important that we all know our political leaders on a personal basis.
Behind The Politics
Madeline's favorite color is obviously maroon which she and her supporters proudly display on campaign signs and t-shirts. Her favorite activities are kayaking, softball, beekeeping, bicycle riding and dancing.
Madeline is easy to talk to and doesn't always come across as the typical politician. She's more like "the neighbor" or "family member" that you can hang out with and talk about anything.
She's a hard worker and has been involved in politics and local community issues for nearly 30 years. She grew up in a family who had a great love for the outdoors and that's where she spend a large part of her childhood. Madeline lives in South Knoxville with her husband Gene who is a musician. They like to get together with friends and family and while Gene plays his piano, guitar or banjo, Madeline sings.
Gene and Madeline have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. Although some people will have trouble picturing her adventurist side; a secret, little known fact is that she once jumped out of a plane and did a tandem skydive. (I believe she gets the adventure-side from her father who was a successful race car driver.)
Mark and his wife (Katie) just had a new baby boy, William Pierce Padgett, and now they have 2 children. The eldest is "the super-adorable Kirby" who's looking forward to spending time with her new little brother.
Along with the rest of their family the Padgetts are awfully proud of their dog "Captain" (Cappy) who has a personality and charm all his own. He certainly understands his rank and role and is perfectly content just being a part of the family. Cappy has become a sort of mascot in Mark's campaign.
Mark is a forth generation Knoxvillian and comes from a long line of proud, blue color-based politicians. His father, Mike, is long-time Knoxville leader in both business and politics.
Mark grew up in the Lonsdale and Halls communities and was raised in a "solution-based" atmosphere.
Favorite color: I think it's blue. Mark is also easy to talk to, very approachable and can talk about any subject political or not. He went to college on an athletic scholarship (basketball) and after graduating college he, starting from nothing, worked his way up to became a proud Tennessee business leader.
I'll let them explain that…
As you go through their web pages don't just note the things they stand for and what their major concerns are. Also make notes of your own major concerns and what directly affects you, your friends, neighbors and your family. See for yourself if your concerns are addressed. If they are, see if you agree on how they intend to handle the issues. If you can't find them, feel free to ask them how they stand or why they're not addressed. Both candidates will have contact information on their sites.
The political process can be fun, interesting and exciting. It can also be ugly. Sometimes it's actually amusing, and sometimes it's just business as usual.
Mark Padgett – Website
Madeline Rogero - Website
Published in East TN News
October 10, 2011