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Sixth District


Mark Brown

Sheryl Rollins

Clyde Barnard

  See How They Run


East Knoxville and downtown with a western panhandle extending through Mechanicsville to West High School. Represented by the late Danny Mayfield until his death in March and then on an interim appointment by Raleigh Wynn.

FRONT RUNNERS: Mark Brown and Sheryl Rollins

Even when it became clear that Danny Mayfield's days were numbered, it would have taken quite a pundit to predict that the two prime contenders for his Sixth District council seat would both be lawyers with offices in the Old City. Yet such appears to be the case.

One of them, Mark Brown, has stature that rises above the district's divisiveness and extends throughout the city. The other, Sheryl Rollins, commands respect both in her own right and through her husband, Avon, who was a leader of the civil rights movement at UT in the 1960s and is now director of the Beck Cultural Center.

Brown is best known as chairman of the Knox County Election Commission, a post from which he resigned when he announced his candidacy for City Council last week. The Election Commission is inherently politicized due to the partisan way in which its three Democrat and two Republican members are appointed. But Brown, a Democrat, has gained a reputation for fairness and good judgment among Republicans and Democrats alike.

At age 40, he believes he can, "bridge the perceived age gap between the younger generation and the old line people who've been working hard for years to better conditions in the African-American community. We've got to make each segment recognize there's more that unites us than divides us."

Economic development tops his list of priorities for the district. "There have been good plans for Five Points that somehow get abandoned. We have to get something done there and make sure that the people of the district get viable employment out of it, " he asserts.

Before going into law practice with the firm of Campbell and Dawson in 1993, the burly, forceful Brown served for six years as president of the Knoxville Area Urban League. He was a music major at UT before entering its law school and sings in a gospel quartet at Mount Zion Baptist Church. "My favorite song is 'If I can help somebody.' That's my bottom line," he says.

Seated in the conference room at her well-appointed law office on Jackson Avenue, the 51-year-old Rollins says, "I'm not running a campaign based on race or district. I want to have broad based appeal. There needs to be a dialogue between the African-American community and the white community, and I feel I would be the best bridge between them." She, too, puts economic development at the top of her priority list, closely followed by police relations. "Council should do everything within its purview to bring jobs and to help develop businesses in the district," she says. "While I have some problems with the police, we need to recognize that they are there to protect our community from drug dealers."

After graduating from UT, Rollins spent more than 15 years working as an administrative assistant for the federal government before returning to UT law school at age 40. As a lawyer since 1995, she has specialized in employment discrimination cases.

DARK HORSE: Lewis Logan is a strapping 37-year-old who played basketball at Austin-East High School before attending Phoenix Junior College. For the past seven years, he's been a deputy clerk at County Clerk Mike Padgett's satellite office at Knoxville Center. He's also kept politically active, serving as County Commissioner Diane Jordan's campaign manager among other roles.

As for his City Council campaign plans, Hogan says, "I'm still in the process of getting my platform together. I don't want to give you something half done." But he's clear on his reason for running. "I've always had this passion to serve the people."

LONG SHOT: Boyd Anderson was a basketball star at Catholic High School in the late 1970s and also played at Drake University until injuries knocked him out. Anderson is a deeply religious man who's also entrepreneurial and has managed to combine the two in his work as manager of two gospel groups that have become celebrated through appearances on the Bobby Jones Gospel Show on the BET cable channel.

"Entrepreneurship is the key to being successful, but we have all these elected officials who're on a different level. They could go out and create prosperity, but instead they prefer to let the taxpayers foot the bill," Anderson asserts. In the last analysis, though, he "gives all the accolades to God. God is the key to everything."

LONG SHOT: Clyde Barnard is that rarity: a white candidate in a district with a black majority. As assistant manager of the Pilot Station on Magnolia for the past five years, though, Barnard has gotten to know the black community well. " A lot of people know how I've cleaned up this corner, run off all the bums, the drug dealers and the prostitutes. And if I can do that, I think I can clean up the entire city as a Council member," Barnard says.

May 31, 2001 * Vol. 11, No. 22
© 2001 Metro Pulse