Thank you, Knoxville!

Madeline's victory speech, November 8, 2011

Wow! Thank you so, so much. This is unbelievable. Look at this turnout! I want to shake everybody's hand before you leave and give you a hug, so don't go until we do that.

A few minutes ago, I received a call from Mark Padgett. He was very gracious in congratulating me on winning tonight’s election. I congratulated him on running a very long, hard race, and I know we all wish him the best in life going forward with his wonderful family. I hope that he will stay involved in the community and continue to make positive contributions in the years to come. And I told him that I look forward to working with him to make Knoxville better.

To the people of Knoxville: thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am truly, truly humbled and gratified by your confidence.

It was just over a mere 350 days ago that we started this campaign. That evening—and many of you were here—I said “for those who are willing to work hard with me to build, collaborate and create solutions for a vibrant, inclusive, sustainable Knoxville, then I am your candidate.”

I hope that I have lived up to that during these long 11 months. And I promise you I will work just as hard to live up to it in the next four years.

To those of you who supported Mark or the other candidates, and to those who did not vote: I intend to be a mayor for all of Knoxville, not just for the people who voted for me. Your voices—all voices—will be heard in my office in my administration.

And together, we will work to achieve all the things we have campaigned on:

  • A vibrant, growing local economy with profitable businesses and opportunities for good jobs for everyone.
  • A city with great neighborhoods, a thriving downtown, and a high quality of life.
  • A city that celebrates our arts and culture, preserves our historic and natural resources, and provides parks, greenways, bike lanes, and access to blueways so we can enjoy this beautiful place in which we live.
  • And we will work for a greener Knoxville that continues to grow while preserving our environment. Not only is it the right thing to do in a fiscally responsible way, but it's the right thing to do for this planet. That's what we'll do
  • We will work on a city with meaningful public participation and transparency and a city with reliable, efficient city services and solid stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

A great city that will become even greater.

Tonight we come together, as we did throughout this campaign, representing a broad and deep cross-section of Knoxville residents. We ran a campaign of inclusiveness from white collar to blue collar; from labor to management; from every neighborhood north, south, east, west, and downtown. We welcomed people of all races and colors, gay and straight, people of all abilities, people from the youngest to the oldest—and we have Miss Kelly here who is 103 years old!

I met Miss Kelly 21 years ago when I ran for County Commission. That's when we first started spending a lot of time together at political events. And you haven't aged a bit! Did you drive yourself here tonight? Not tonight; she still drives, though. Thank you Miss Kelly for being here. Thank you for your support.

So, from the youngest to the oldest, from the richest to the poorest. Because all of us are Knoxville, and Knoxville will only become greater if all of us are involved.

There are hundreds of people who helped make this victory happen. Look at yourselves out there! I wish I could thank all of you individually from up here, but just know that I am grateful from the bottom of my heart. And I hope to shake as many hands and get as many hugs as I can tonight.

I would like to start and acknowledge my family: of course, my husband Gene. Thank you, dear. Our kids Damian and Carmen, Meg couldn't be here; Joan and Jacob, and my grandkids Jada and Silas. Two grandkids are in Chattanooga in collage. I also want to thank my parents, Anita and Jack Waugh.

By the way, Miss Kelly, my mom is in her mid 80s, and she's a full time director of a senior citizens center in Etowah, Tennessee.

I want to take a moment to thank our campaign team: my campaign manager Chip Barry, along with our staff Jackie Clay Wimbley, Ryan MacKay, Amy Hubbard, Paige Travis, Turcan Hockaday, and Laura Keeble; our interns Amy Schweig, Hunter Threet, Rachel Reeves, Brittany Thompson, and Mia Wallace; my campaign advisors Walter Ludwig and Colin Rogero; and literally hundreds of volunteers. Thanks to all of you for your hard work, many long hours, and unwavering dedication.

Lastly, to the people of Knoxville, thank you for the privilege of your trust and the gift of your confidence. I will work tirelessly to serve all of you.

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who contributed, volunteered, and voted! Your support has been invaluable.