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Speech delivered by Alex Lavidge at Madeline Rogero for Mayor Pre-Debate Kickoff

Hi, my name is Alex Lavidge. Im a third-generation Knoxvillian, a 31-year old Web entrepreneur and business consultant, as well as a communityorganizer and advocate for startups, social entrepreneurs, the self-employed and the creative class for the volunteer-powered organization Knoxville Overground. And for that effort, I was named for the State of Tennessee by

Fast Company magazine a couple of months ago as a brilliant urbanite


helping to build the cities of America's future in their United States of Innovation report.1 And I am here today to tell you that I, speaking on

behalf of only myself and as an independent, registered voter in the City of Knoxville, am a proud volunteer, a financial contributor, and an avid
supporter of Madeline Rogero. What I love the most about this campaign isnt just how it's bringing the most diverse group of good proactive people (out of all the mayoral campaigns) together who love our City both for what it is and for what it can become. And it isnt just because Madeline herself has an exceptional track record of leadership in both the public and private sector, giving her far more relevant experience and perspective than any of the other candidates. But we dont have to go through that track record now. All that matters is that even our former mayor and now Gov. Haslam has been quoted, and often, that governing a City is quite different than running a business. But you get the idea. Her resume is online. What excites me the most is that this campaign is more than just about getting Madeline into the mayoral office. To me, and I think a lot of us, what the Madeline for Rogero campaign represents is a worldview whose time is come which is simply this: that no matter who you are, or what category you fall under, that standing together, we as Knoxvillians will do whatever it takes to build a community where everyone is respected, all ideas and
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http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/155/united-states-of-innovation.html

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Speech delivered by Alex Lavidge at Madeline Rogero for Mayor Pre-Debate Kickoff

proposals in the public interest are considered, and where every voice is heard as we continue to create, together, one of the most progressive Cities in the United States. Lets look at the rankings. Already: We have a City that ranks No. 1 for growth for green jobs.2 We just recently ranked No. 1 in Tennessee for being walkable City.3 Were rising through the ranks as being one of the most up and coming bicycle friendly Cities by the League of American Bicyclists.4 Kiplingers magazine even recently called Knoxville the fifth most livable City in the country.5 And the list goes on.

But were not going to keep up this momentum unless we elect a Mayor that wakes up every morning asking both herself and others, what can we be doing better? My friends, Madeline is going to be that Mayor. But Id like to address real fast two main reasons, both an entrepreneur and as an advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurship in the region, why I think Madeline is the top pick for several companies and business owners in our great City. 1. Madeline has several plans and proposals that can help attract businesses, jobs, and new company formation in Knoxville.

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http://www.wbir.com/news/article/176194/2/Policy-group-ranks-Knoxville-high-on-green-job-list http://blog.walkscore.com/2011/07/walk-score-2011-rankings/ 4 http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/oct/26/a-passion-for-pedaling-linda-gray-biking-tdot/ 5 http://www.wbir.com/news/article/177492/2/Knoxville-ranked-fifth-on-list-of--Best-Value-Cities

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Speech delivered by Alex Lavidge at Madeline Rogero for Mayor Pre-Debate Kickoff

I want to preface real fast that I commend Mark Padgett for running an enthusiastic campaign while also pushing for innovation and technology solutions in local government. He has a lot of good ideas where we can provide better online services and for less money. But, I was shocked when I saw this response written by him online (in response to the latest survey data showing that Madeline was leading the campaign by a margin of 2-1)6, and I quote:

"Polling aside, the only numbers Im focused on are the jobs being created in Knoxville and the number of families and businesses choosing to stay in Knoxville. Im the only candidate with a plan to create jobs and economic growth, and the experience needed to move Knoxville forward."7
What? The only candidate with a plan to create jobs and economic growth?

We need to get the word out throughout the City, no, Mark, that is just not true. Madeline not only has a plan to grow our economy and spur job growth, she has several of them.
Not only over the past year have I had an opportunity to share with Madeline reports covering best practices from other communities across the US that are supporting small business growth and entrepreneurship efficiently, I learn something new every time I speak with her about the subject. And, more importantly, she has a track record of public leadership and knows how to execute cost-effectively a vision to strengthen our local economy so that we can continue having the lowest unemployment rate out of any metropolitan City in Tennessee.

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http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/ http://knoxviews.mobi/node/16677

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Speech delivered by Alex Lavidge at Madeline Rogero for Mayor Pre-Debate Kickoff

2. Top employers in a growing number of industries want to see arts, culture, and progressive values celebrated throughout the community in addition to it making financial sense. I havent only enjoyed talking to Madeline over the past year about the ways to support startup companies and growing businesses. Weve had a chance to talk about best practices in new urbanism, discuss the Cities in the US saving money by becoming zero-waste communities, inspiring examples of environmental stewardship, and the importance of supporting and celebrating arts, culture, diversity and tolerance. And you know what?

There is a growing body of research that has proven time and time again that Madelines progressive platform and vision for the City of Knoxville is the new and practical pro-business agenda. Top employers
want to locate to Cities that in addition to having talent and a low cost of doing business, they want to move into communities that are green, that are vibrant, and where there are ongoing activities open to the public where we all can grow, create, and celebrate excellence. Madeline understands the complexity of governing a City better than any of the other candidates and has, yet again, not just one, but several plans to push this City to becoming one of the most progressive Cities in America. Which is exactly why were all here today. Thank you for having me speak; now lets go win this election.

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