Who is he?
Former state representative (a conservative Democrat); attorney with Ritchie, Fels and Dillard (founded by his father, Robert Ritchie). At 34, Ritchie already has one political career behind him.
Why'd he retire from the Legislature after six years?
"There was every reason not to run again." His daughter, Natalie, is getting ready to start kindergarten and wouldn't be able to shuttle back and forth to Nashville the way the whole family had been doing. Also, when he first ran he pledged not to serve more than three terms.
What did he like most about politics?
"The number of issues that came up and the infinite number of ways to help people."
What didn't he like?
"The moments when raw human emotion took over in various situations. Politics is human emotion times 10. It would be those moments when people would lose focus on an issue."
The difference between a legislator and a mayor:
"An executive has to lead, or he or she's not doing his or her job. And even though a member of a legislative body should lead as well, the legislators are by design forced into more of a role of compromise."
Would he want to be mayor?
"I don't think so. Perhaps I just have so many responsibilities to my wife, children, and law practice right now."
"I would enjoy public service again...It would depend on if and when an opportunity arose and what my commitments were at that time."
What would his priorities be as mayor?
"Revitalizing downtown. Building an identity for Knoxville where if you met someone anywhere in the country and said, 'I'm from Knoxville,' they would be able to identify Knoxville with something very positive. They would think of the beauty of East Tennessee, technology, and sort of a progressive frontier spirit. We have the best of all worlds in Knoxville, but it's as if we don't know it. We're the beautiful girl without a date to the prom."
Why is that?
"I think our biggest obstacle for years has been ourselvesour inability to project a consensus, a clear understanding of who we are and a collective appreciation for and pride in the area."
"Something that gives people a reason to get in the car and drive a few hours to come here...The current administration has done a good job in many, many areas. We have an excellent park system. We have new residential developments. It's just as if we have one piece missing, but it's a critical piece."
Who would he name a street after?
"I can't sing. I wasn't born in a log cabin, but I did work on a dairy farm. And I was the shovel man on an asphalt crew one summer."