By Ken Lay

Garrett Holt has had a knack for leadership since he was a student in West High School. Now, he’s hoping to use his skills to make Knoxville a better place.

Holt, who was raised in Knoxville, is running for the Knoxville City Council’s District 6 seat.

He is one of four candidates seeking the seat as he is running against incumbent Gwen McKenzie and fellow challengers Pete Drew and Deidra C. Harper.

Holt has been knocking on doors in the district, but he officially kicked off his campaign at a gathering at the Square Room on Market Square.

“Tonight is an event with my some of my friends and my family,” said Holt who graduated from West High as the school’s valedictorian in 2012. “For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been walking in the district, knocking on doors, talking to residents and listening to their concerns.”

Holt said he has always wanted to serve his community, despite not really having a background studying political science.

“I was never really in to (political science), but I was in the key club and I was president of clubs,” he said. “Since I was in high school, I’ve been in leadership and I always wanted to serve.

“I wanted to use public service to give back to the city I love so much.”

Now, he said the time is right for him to serve his community.

“The time is right,” Holt said. “I saw the seat was up in the district where I live and I see what’s been going on in city government and I decided to run.

“I love Knoxville. I was raised in Knoxville and I’ve spent most of my life here.”

Holt was away briefly as he spent some time in Nashville and in New Jersey.

Now, he’s back and ready to go to work for the people in District 6.

“If I’m elected, I will work hard every day of the term,” Holt said. “I don’t want to make Knoxville great.

“It’s always been great. I want to make it better.”

Holt said if he elected, he would strive to create prosperity by eliminating the anti-job climate in the city and he vowed to prioritize business growth and promote lasting economic development.

He’s a supporter of the police force and front line workers. He also vowed to reduce crime with job opportunities and give high priority for solutions to mental health and the drug problem.

“Knoxville has a lot of problems and I’m not going to fix them,” Holt said. “It’s not a ‘me’ thing, It’s a ‘we’ thing. Together, we can fix this.

“If I’m elected, I’ll be one of nine voices and I’m fortunate to be running alongside some good candidates. “You have Nicholas Ciparro (running in District 2), Elizabeth Murphy (District 1) and Jim Klonaris (District 4).

“Every one of you has played a big part in why I’m here and I know a lot of you here don’t live in my district, together we can make Knoxville better.”