This story was written by TNJN editors Maddie Torres and Kaitlin Flippo
“I’m running for mayor for a simple reason. I have been serving on the council and feel proud of what we’ve accomplished and the success the city has had. I’m running for mayor to make sure that success is felt by every Knoxvillian no matter what zip code they live in,” Marshall Stair said.
Stair is a native Knoxvillian who has lived in multiple cities across the United States and in Mexico City, where he became fluent in Spanish.
Additionally, Stair said living in different cities was a good experience because one is able to learn quickly how the cities function, including public transportation which is on his list of priorities for the city.
Stair attended Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, as an undergraduate and returned to Knoxville to attend the University of Tennessee’s law school. From there, he became a lawyer and worked for a local law firm. He is currently serving on the Board of Central Business Improvement District and has served on the Knoxville City Council.
“With lawyers, you’re dealing with people, you’re listening, you’re resolving disputes. I may feel one way, but it’s so important for elected officials to listen and there is a lot of different viewpoints from a lot of smart, reasonable people who disagree on issues,” Stair said. “So, having those skills and working with people is extremely valuable.”
“Being on the council, working with a budget every year, looking at priorities, you get a great experience of the different challenges of running a city,” Stair said.
With Knoxville being a city for families and college students, Stair said he wants to build on it by taking advantage of the talent that comes from college students and pushing it back into the city.
“We’re making policies to ensure that [affordability],” Stair said. “… at the same time, it’s about innovation and encouraging entrepreneurship and that’s about where I think we can really partner with some of the local entities and take advantage of those relationships like UT or ORNL.”
Stair has a list of priorities for the city if elected that include: Safe and strong neighborhoods, innovative economic development, moving transit forward, smart growth and addressing affordability, diversity and inclusion, services and infrastructure for the future, equity in education and improving quality of life.
“Diversity and inclusion is not only the morally right thing to do, it’s absolutely critical for Knoxville’s success,” Stair said. “You know, that mix is what makes cities strong.”
Stair plans to transform the Office of Community Relations into the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Stair said what sets his campaign apart from the others is the ideas he is putting forth including: Body cameras for police officers, an international business council for the Chamber of Commerce and many others.
“I’m the only candidate that has been involved in the city’s success in the last eight years, and I think that really sets us apart,” Stair said.
Additionally, Stair said he wants voters to know that his campaign is all about the future.
“I have a one-year-old child, I’m 40-years-old. We’re going to be in this community for a long time,” he said. “… our plans and everything we do is we’re looking for the future.”
The General Election is on Aug. 27, 2019. The deadline to register to vote is July 29, 2019.
Edited by Vanessa Rodriguez and Ciera Noe
Featured image courtesy of Marshall Stair’s Facebook page
Video by Maddie Torres