Speech, But No Barbecue

Becky Duncan Massey went to Holston Chilhowee Ballpark in East Knoxville this week to announce she's running for the state Senate seat being vacated by Jamie Woodson, and to remind the neighborhood that she grew up there and has ties to the east end of the county. Marvin Hammond, the head of Hallsdale-Powell Utility and a political heavyweight in the north end of Knox County, was there to show his support and to recall that he used to manage the park and that "Becky was a rug rat" who played softball and her brother Jimmy had a job in the summer lining the softball fields at $1 an hour.

Brother Jimmy, aka Congressman John Duncan Jr., was on hand for the announcement with a good-sized contingent of the Duncan family. The congressman just shook hands all around and let his sister do the talking. He also visited with former mayor and ambassador Victor Ashe.

Massey talked about her 17 years at the Sertoma Center and spending time in Nashville, lobbying the Legislature. As far as her roots in the east end, she grew up in Holston Hills and attended nearby Eastminster Presbyterian Church. She got her degree at UT, "the finest public university in the country."

Both Massey and her only so-far-declared opponent, City Councilwoman Marilyn Roddy, live west. There has been some speculation that a candidate might emerge from the east or south portion of the county.

Ivan Harmon worked the crowd reminding them that he is the only Republican in the city mayoral race, since Roddy dropped out. Former County Commissioner Diane Jordan, active in eastside politics, said she would be working for Massey's election. Knoxville civil rights icon Sarah Moore Greene has agreed to be Massey's honorary campaign chair, but the 101-year-old Greene did not attend the announcement speech, due to the heat. Former commissioners John Mills and Michelle Carringer (who serves on the Sertoma board) also attended.