I’ve taken a couple of days off from here. There are trees to decorate, lights to put up, shopping to do, after all. Also, we’ve been lucky to have our UT student at home with us this week before he flies off to Northern Virginia for the Winter break.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no time for a party. Susan and I attended the Knox County Democratic Party’s Holiday Party last night at Dead End BBQ. We got to meet a lot of fun and interesting fellow Democrats and had some good eats as well. It’s going to be a long campaign – starting in January – so this was a good opportunity to relax before the holidays and a hectic 2020. And, if I didn’t get to meet you, I was the one wearing the Mickey Mouse Christmas sweater and the light up red Holiday Crocs.

A couple of the people I met last night are fellow Democratic candidates for other County Commission seats – Courtney Durrett (District 2) and Kimberly Peterson (District 5). They’re in the same boat as I am. Trying to add some more Democratic voices to a heavily Republican-leaning County Commission. Thanks to what appears to be a gerrymandered map, there are 10 Republicans and 1 Democrat on the Commission. I know we live in a Red area, but a map that results in Republicans holding 91% of the Commission seats is hardly representative of the number of Democrats and Independents in the County. This kind of gerrymandering is one of the problems in the system and I’m going to try and bring this issue to light over the course of my campaign. Hopefully, Courtney, Kimberly and I can do something about the number of Democrats on the Commission.

If you’ve read my featured post where I explain why I’m running, you will remember that the first thing is Choice. And on that point, since I’m on the ballot now, I feel like I’ve already won. Or at least fulfilled my first campaign pledge. I’ve made sure now that the voters in District 4 will have a choice on August 6. But we can’t stop there. Just having a name on the ballot isn’t a real choice. The next step is to try and get my issues out there. Make it so my Republican opponent can’t just cruise through to the general election. Push my issues. Meet the voters and see what they care about. I’ll have more on how I’m going to do that in the coming days and weeks. Voters have a choice on the ballot. That’s a win with a small w. Next, I need to give them a real choice.

And speaking of choice, I’m sorry to say that not all Knox County voters will have a choice when it comes to voting for their County Commission representative. In this cycle, the seats in Districts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9 are up for election. Unfortunately, Districts 6, 8, and 9 all have single Republican candidates without either primary or general election opponents. Based on the results available at the Knox County Election Commission’s website, over 5,000 voters in those three Districts cast ballots for multiple candidates in 2016 – the last time the seats were up for election. It’s a shame that those voters won’t really have a choice in 2020. Expect to hear more from me on this issue as the campaign progresses. I’m primarily focused on District 4, of course, but Commissioners are making decisions that can affect the whole county. I care that EVERYONE has a chance to get involved and that EVERY CITIZEN has a chance to cast a meaningful ballot for their representatives.