East TN News
East TN News

Daniel Brown's Mayor Term Applauded

By John M Disque


Photo By John M Disque (10/16/2010)

When former Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam took over his elected position as Tennessee Governor he was left with no choice but to resign his mayoral position. While many have proposed making the mayor and the governor elections and terms starting and ending at the same times it still hasn't happened. As a result, Haslam resigned his term as Knoxville mayor a year early. 

As most of us know, when this happens City Council is forced to elect an interim mayor to fill the position until the new mayoral election process is complete. 

Five council members were interested in becoming Knoxville's mayor: Joe Bailey, Duane Grieve, Brenda Palmer, Chris Woodhull and Daniel Brown. After 10 rounds of gridlock, Joe Bailey changed his previous vote to 6th district council member Daniel Brown, giving him the majority. Finally, the process was complete and Daniel Brown took his office as Mayor of Knoxville. 

Asked why he decided to run for mayor Brown simply said it was an opportunity he didn't want to pass up and that these opportunities don't come along every day. 

Since he took office Brown's objective has been to continue the work and priorities of Haslam. There have been no extreme changes and very little disruption in the "business as usual approach" to Knoxville politics. 

Other than when he was first elected by city council in January not a lot has been written about Knoxville's newest mayor. Even then, when it was hot news, it seems that most of the media spent too much time focusing on his skin color and that he is the first Black mayor in Knoxville history. Although it's certainly a consideration, a history-making event, and something we should remember and celebrate, it's also something we should be careful with. I think if I were in Brown's shoes I would want to be known as Mayor Daniel Brown and not "Daniel Brown – the African-American mayor." Throughout American history being a Black mayor should have always been a possibility. Of course, we all know it wasn't but particularly in today's world it should be normal and expected while leaving more time and room to focus on the tasks at hand. 

At the time of balancing the city's budget Brown's two main objectives were: no tax raises or new taxes and no city employee layoffs. Stepping into the mayor's office during a fiscal year to balance a 172-million dollar budget would be anything but an easy task yet Brown managed to make that task smooth, somewhat uneventful, and natural. 

At the time of processing Burchett's Knox County budget proposal, some expected controversy to build between County Mayor Tim Burchett and Mayor Brown. At that time Burchett was drastically cutting funding for Beck Cultural Exchange and Brown was, and still is, an active member of Beck. The controversy never arose. If the issue had escalated, it could have easily turned into a "city versus county nightmare." 

Brown doesn't feed off media attention and stays somewhat low key, but it seems to work for him and it commands some sort of unspoken respect. As of today there are no obvious complaints his term. Mayor Brown's time in office could be summed up as “quietly outstanding.” 

Daniel Brown's History..

Graduate of Austin East HS 

Graduate of Tennessee State University with a B. S. in History

Vietnam Veteran

Worked for US Post Office until retirement

Serves as the Councilman for the Sixth District

Elected Mayor Of Knoxville

Member of Dandridge Ave. Neighborhood Association

Member of NAACP

Member of Beck Cultural Exchange Center, Inc.

Member of First A. M. E. Zion Church

Past Member Knox County Board of Zoning Appeals

Mayor Brown Website


Published in East TN News October 17, 2011

Published in Knoxville Daily Sun September 21, 2011

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