By Steve Hunley

Kyle Ward Juneteenth Resolution

Commissioner Kyle Ward is sponsoring a resolution to recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday in Knox County.

Ward is a small businessman, a combat veteran, and the first millennial to be elected to the Knox County Commission.  Ward is not exactly predictable as some political observers have found out.  Ward’s sponsorship of the Juneteenth holiday resolution caused more than a few heads to explode.

Ward has been painted by liberal local media outlets as an ultra-conservative, so the young commissioner’s sponsorship of the Juneteenth holiday has raised some eyebrows.  Commissioner Ward’s explanation for why he was sponsoring the ordinance was direct, simple, yet eloquent: “Juneteenth represents the fulfillment of the ultimate American promise, that all men are created equal.  Any occasion to celebrate freedom and the literal breaking of chains should not go unrecognized by county government, and soon it won’t.”

The Knoxville Focus agrees with Kyle Ward and supports his effort to make Juneteenth a holiday for our county.  Folks should also note Ward took his action before the city council or Mayor Indya Kincannon uttered a single word about it.  Evidently, Mayor Glenn Jacobs is on board.  The Focus hopes every member of the Knox County Commission will back Ward’s ordinance.



Inflation is running rampant and that can’t surprise anybody with a brain.  The Biden administration is twisting and turning and trying to put the best face on it.  Even if energy and food were taken out of the equation, inflation would be rising at 4.5%.  The cost of food is rising rapidly and we’ve just posted the biggest surge in rising prices since 2008.  Already Pepsi and Conagra are preparing to raise prices on their products to pass along the costs to consumers.  The cost of shipping from China to the US has risen by 229% in a year’s time.  The cost of food continues to rise and that is not a luxury item for families.

Knox County has done a pretty good job of managing its finances, especially when compared to that of the City of Knoxville.  The City already spends more than it is taking in and so the Great Incompetent and the city council spent $50 million more on top of that.  Whenever you hear Council incumbents talk about what a great budget they approved, keep in mind, they have pretty much raised your taxes to pay for a social welfare wish list.  City employees are the beneficiaries of defined benefit packages, which mean constant raises, both for active employees and retirees.  Much of the last tax increase under the administration of Madeline Rogero was due to funding employee pensions and benefits.

The council larded the budget with more social services they have yet to pay for.


McKenzie loses confidence

Knoxville’s Vice Mayor, Gwen McKenzie, says she’s lost confidence in Chief of Police Eve Thomas.  That’s less than a hop, skip and a jump from saying she’s lost confidence in the Great Incompetent, Mayor Indya Kincannon.  In the city, the chief of police is appointed by the mayor, meaning the chief has no real autonomy, unlike the Knox County Sheriff, who is elected.  McKenzie is also the only member of city council who openly says Knoxville needs to pay police officers more and recruit more officers.


Lincoln Day Dinner

For more than 100 years, the sitting congressman from our district has brought a nationally recognized speaker to the Lincoln Day Dinner.  This year, evidently Congressman Tim Burchett was told to butt out by new party chair Daniel Herrera and his court.  No indeed, Herrera is apparently paying Charlie Kirk $20,000 to come to speak at the Lincoln Day Dinner.  Kirk is the founder of Turning Point, USA and a radio show host.  According to Pro Publica, Kirk’s salary from Turning Point, USA went from $27,000 to $300,000.  Meanwhile, Elaine Davis, the vice chair of the Knox County Republican Party, is running around bemoaning the fact the GOP doesn’t have the money necessary to open a headquarters.  That $20,000 might have come in handy for that.  So, instead of allowing Tim Burchett to bring say, Ron DeSantis or Josh Hawley for free, Herrera and the GOP leadership have paid a speaker a wad of money that nobody over 50 knows.


Bud Armstrong announcement

Another announcement came today with Richard “Bud” Armstrong, former law director for Knox County, announcing that he is running for Chancellor, Division II.  Armstrong is still highly popular with thousands of Republicans in Knox County and his entry into the race poses a real problem for Eddie Pridemore to be reelected.  Most Republicans don’t even know who Pridemore is and he simply had the good fortune to place his name on the ballot against Darryl Fansler in a year that was noted for being a tidal wave victory for the GOP, sweeping out a number of longtime Democratic jurists.


State Executive Committee

Another resident of the Eighth District is thinking about a political race – – – John Marshall of the Gibbs community is pondering a bid for the Republican State Executive Committee.  Marshall is the son of the late Bob Marshall, who served as Knoxville’s Police Chief for many years.  John Marshall is also a dedicated Republican activist who, although a county resident, worked especially hard in the campaign of Eddie Mannis for Mayor.  Marshall also volunteered in Mannis’ successful campaign for the Tennessee State House.  Should he choose to run, Marshall will be a mighty strong candidate and will likely have a solid message for Republican voters.


Driscoll off and running

Focus readers will find a story about Devin Driscoll in this week’s edition.  Driscoll is a young businessman who is off and running for the at-large commission seat currently held by Justin Biggs.  Readers will remember Biggs is running for trustee as Ed Shouse is term limited.  Driscoll is a newcomer to politics and has demonstrated initiative and energy in starting his campaign for 2022.  Driscoll is making the rounds and has already raised a pile of money in anticipation of the coming campaign.  Devin Driscoll has also lined up an impressive array of supporters for the primary and general elections.


Immigration hypocrisy

As Cubans protest against the deprivations brought upon them by the Communist government, too many Democrats are keeping their mouths shut.  Bernie Sanders, who openly admired the Communist regime of Fidel Castro, has said nothing.  Ilhan Omar, the leading anti-Semite in Congress, who recently compared the United States to the Taliban and Hamas, is completely silent about the plight of the Cuban people.  AOC, who is always ready to share her opinion in an instant, suddenly has nothing to say.  Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the Biden administration won’t even call out the Cuban government for being Communist.  Black Lives Matter is under fire for having praised the Communist government of Cuba, while criticizing the United States.  BLM blames the US for the lack of food and medicine in the Communist utopia, yet ignoring the human rights abuses.  BLM was founded by avowed Marxists and while millions of poor Cubans are standing up for freedom, the leadership of Black Lives Matter is supporting the Communist dictatorship.  Senator Marco Rubio, himself the son of Cuban parents, tweeted, “The extortionist ring known as Black Lives Matter organization took a break today from shaking down corporations for millions & buying themselves mansions to share their support for the Communist regime in #Cuba.”

Democratic Socialists have not condemned the Communist government in Cuba or spoken out for the oppressed people of Cuba.  Don’t think there are none of them here:  at least two members of the Knoxville City Council are self-described Democratic Socialists: Seema Singh and Amelia Parker.