Rogero credited with paving the way to majority rule by women in Knoxville government

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero won’t say so out loud, but her election in 2011 and the efforts of a group called Women’s March Knoxville, helped pave the way for a transformation of city government in last week’s Knoxville elections, according to the News Sentinel.

For the first time in city history, four women will sit on the council. With Rogero included, the city’s representation will be five men, five women.

…(T)he new council members include Stephanie Welch, Andrew Roberto, Seema Singh-Perez, Lauren Rider and Gwen McKenzie.

“When I ran 14 years ago (against now-Gov. Bill Haslam), there were still some questions about can a woman be mayor, would this city elect a woman? I came really close and so that changed the talk,” said Rogero, which is the closest she will come to admitting her role in Tuesday’s results.

Regardless of what she says, the newly elected councilwomen point to the mayor’s role. Rider, District 4’s elected representative (who defeated former state Rep. Harry Tindell), said the 2011 victory made a difference.

“It’s role modeling. We elected a woman mayor for the first time in history, and all those women were celebrating that,” Rider said. “Rogero embodies the goal that women can achieve this.”

… …Knoxville’s wave of women on council reflects a national trend of women running for office since the 2016 presidential election.

According to Emily’s List, a political action committee geared to attract women candidates, particularly Democratic women candidates, and get them elected to office, since the 2016 election nearly 20,800 women have expressed an interest in running for office.

…On top of that, Singh-Perez’s victory pleased Rogero. She had said she wanted one diverse council member and came away with two. Singh-Perez is a naturalized citizen of Indian-American descent.

“The council will be (nearly) 50/50 which represents the population,” Singh-Perez said. “I think it’s great for Knoxville because we get to see the different perspectives and challenges from several points of view.”

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