Where the 2019 Knoxville Mayoral Candidates Stand on Energy

This post examines where the 2019 Knoxville mayoral candidates stand on key energy and climate issues. As a reminder general election day is less than three weeks away! Early voting starts October 16 and runs until October 31 and election day is November 5th.

Kate Tracy and Maggie Shober | October 11, 2019 | Elections, Energy Policy, Tennessee

This post examines where the 2019 Knoxville mayoral candidates stand on key energy and climate issues. As a reminder general election day is less than three weeks away! Early voting starts October 16 and runs until October 31 and election day is November 5th. Check out more key voting dates and information at the bottom of this post.

Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites and outside sources are provided as citizen education tools.

Climate

Knoxville’s City Council recently passed carbon reduction goals for the city. The newly passed goals are:

  1. Cut city government emissions 50% from 2005 levels by 2030 and
  2. Cut community-wide emissions 80% by 2050.

The next mayor of Knoxville will play a pivotal role in how the city addresses the climate crisis moving forward and achieves these newly-passed carbon goals. Below we break down where the mayoral candidates stand on the city’s climate goals, what plans they have to execute them, and the content of these plans.

IssueIndya KincannonEddie Mannis
Knoxville Climate GoalsKincannon expressed that the goal for the community could be more ambitious, stating “I think we can be more ambitious. I think we can be and we should be particularly on the community based side of things. I would like, as mayor to work on changing our expectations for the city as a whole. She went on to add “I think we can and will do better if I’m mayor.” (the current goal does not include a community goal until 2050).Mannis articulated satisfaction with the recently approved goals, stating they were a “great goal.” He went on further to say, “I’m a proponent of clean energy so I will always want it to be greater… so I think that we’re on the right path. And if we get there sooner maybe we can improve and do things at a greater scale.”
Climate Goal Plan ProcessEstablish a Mayor’s Climate Council comprised of: conservation advocates, clean energy experts, advocates for equity, neighborhood representatives, developers and business leaders, and representatives from KUB and TVA. Kincannon’s campaign stated in an email “I will play an active role leading the Mayor’s Climate Council, working to share the urgency of these issues and solicit ideas for how we can halve our carbon emissions as a community by 2030.”Could not determine position among public statements.
Climate Mitigation StrategiesElectrify buses; support more infrastructure to make owning an EV easier and accessible to people of all income levels; encourage private organizations to provide premier parking for EV owners; make KAT free for kids up through high school.Electric buses and vehicles in fleet; make transit more convenient; update traffic lights to reduce car idling.

Energy

Paying more throughout the year can be especially burdensome on low-usage groups such as those on a fixed income, the elderly, low-income, single-resident households, small businesses, and those investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy. In the case of low-income customers, their proportion of income paid towards household energy can be 10 times the amount of someone who is not low-income while still using 5 times less energy. In Knoxville, KUB customers can pay up to 18.5% of their income on their energy bills.  Additionally, in order to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, we must electrify our transportation system. The next mayor of Knoxville has the opportunity to address energy burden in our city, promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency programs, and clean transportation for all Knoxvillians.

IssueIndya KincannonEddie Mannis
Local Clean EnergyExplore clean energy overlay zones; appoint a Workforce Development Liaison who will connect people to careers in sustainability; adding solar to more city properties.More EV charging stations; work with strategic partners.
KUB’s Fixed Fees“When I’m mayor I want to work with you to freeze the fees.” Would tell KUB Board to “remember you are putting an undue burden on our community.”
KUB Board AppointmentsWould nominate a low-income advocate who has experienced getting the “pink slip” (i.e. having power cut off). Wouldn’t actively seek a low-income advocate but would tell appointees “Don’t forget, you are representing the entire community.”

Knoxville General Election – November 5

The general election is less than three weeks away! Here are some important dates and links to help you and your community vote! 

If you are inspired by this blog and have questions for the candidate, please contact Eddie Mannis’ campaign here and Indya Kincannon’s campaign here.

Will the next mayor of Knoxville be a climate leader? Stay tuned!

Kate Tracy
Kate joined SACE in December 2018 as a Communications Coordinator in the Knoxville, Tennessee office. Kate curates the SACE voice in digital and traditional media outlets. She also tracks media…
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