John Butler to run for City Council

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Knoxville NAACP president Dr. John A. Butler will be a candidate for City Council in this year’s elections.

Butler is presiding elder of the Knoxville District, AME Zion Church, and pastor of Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church in Mechanicsville. He will contend for the district seat now held by Daniel Brown, one of five term-limited incumbents who will step aside in December.

In 2015, Butler filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Knox County Schools demanding better facilities and more representative faculties in inner city schools.

“I am offering myself to serve as the advocate for District 6,” said Butler. “I want to advocate for District 6 and for other parts of the city.”

Butler, who served on the Asheboro, N.C., school board before coming to Knoxville with his wife, Donna, and their three children in 2007, was a captain in the U.S. Army National Guard/Army Reserve and holds three earned degrees.

He chairs the FAITH Coalition (which aims to reduce HIV and AIDS) and volunteers with Knoxville Save Our Sons Advisory Committee, Beck Cultural Exchange Center, Great Schools Partnership, KCS Disparities in Educational Outcomes steering committee, Knoxville Smarter Cities Partnership and TVA stakeholder group “Energy Efficiency-Information Exchange.” He is the past president of the Knoxville Interdenominational Christian Ministerial Alliance (KICMA) and served seven years as a member of the Knoxville Police Advisory and Review Committee (PARC).

If elected, Butler said his goal will be to boost community engagement, economic development and small business development with the aim of growing living-wage jobs.

He will have the enthusiastic support of former county commissioner Diane Jordan, who said she is excited that Butler plans to run.

“He’s our hero,” she said. “Nobody took us seriously until he filed that complaint, and we would have lost Vine Middle School if he hadn’t done it. He has earned our support and I’m going to do everything I can to help him get elected.”

Butler will join a crowded field of candidates in the Aug. 29 primary, which will be decided by Sixth District voters only. The top two vote getters in each district will run citywide in the Nov. 8 General Election.

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