Mannis considers mayoral race

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Eddie Mannis, deputy to Mayor Madeline Rogero during her first 18 months in office, is seriously looking at running for mayor. He is the owner and founder of Prestige Cleaners and a strong supporter of veterans.

Mannis would be viable if he decides to run, but the primary is not until August 2019. He has lots of time to think it over.

Mannis, 57, grew up in Inskip. He now lives on Kingston Pike across from Sequoyah Hills. His businesses employ 170 people. He has been heavily involved in the community over many years. It is likely he would have the active support of Rogero.

Also being mentioned are council members Marshall Stair, 38, and George Wallace, a youthful, energetic 58.

Mannis is the only one of these three who has served in the executive branch of city government – as did Rogero for then-Mayor Bill Haslam, which assisted her in defeating Mark Padgett and Ivan Harmon in 2011.

If all three actually seek the mayor’s office, the city would choose among three able, well-funded, energetic candidates who would bring different perspectives to the office but, in this writer’s opinion, are all well qualified to serve.

Mannis’ views on pressing issues will evolve during a campaign. For Stair and Wallace, they have and are compiling a record of votes on council now which they can explain, promote and defend in 2019.

The last member of council to be elected mayor was Kyle Testerman in 1971. Other council members have sought the office, including Bernice O’Connor, Casey Jones, Jean Teague, Ivan Harmon and Danny Mayfield. None succeeded.

Some have suggested that Stair, who would be 41 in 2019, would be too young. Mayors elected in 1971 (Testerman) and 1975 (Randy Tyree) were under 40 years old.

Bill Hagerty, former state commissioner of Economic and Community Development, will be the next ambassador to Japan. He will follow two Tennessee senators who served in Asia in the past 24 years: the late Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker Jr. (Japan) and former Sen. Jim Sasser (China).

Hagerty worked on the Trump transition and wins favorable reviews wherever he works. He will be a very able and knowledgeable envoy to Japan, which has significant investment in Tennessee.

Victor Ashe is a former mayor of Knoxville and U.S. Ambassador to Poland.

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