Speech from Inauguration


Indya Kincannon
[email protected]
(865) 215-2040

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Mayor Indya Kincannon's Inauguration Speech
December 16th, 2023

Mayor Kincannon at InaugurationIt makes my heart soar to watch the next generation taking on leadership roles in Knoxville. Our future is bright!

It is a busy season.  Your presence here today honors me, honors my fellow elected officials, and honors our city.  Thank you for taking the time to celebrate this occasion.

I am thrilled to have earned your trust to serve as your Mayor for another 4 years!

To my fellow-elected officials, thank you for taking on the hard work of leading our City.   We have made a lot of progress in the last 4 years.  Let’s keep it going!           

To my husband Ben, and to our daughters Dahlia and Georgia—thank you for always having my back, and for encouraging me to follow my dreams!

And, to my campaign team, Sara Fischer, Kelly Johnson, Connor Coffey, so many interns and volunteers —I wouldn’t be here without you.  Thank you!

So much has happened since I took office in December, 2019.  The challenges, the accomplishments - it can start to blur together.  But I fight against the blur, I work to focus our precious time on what matters most. I have learned to number our days. 

And, thanks to the people of Knoxville, I have another 1,460 days to keep moving us toward a more just, equitable, and sustainable future. 


When I came into office back in 2019—I had a vision and a plan for my first year. I was fired up and ready to go.  

Well 2020 had other plans… for all of us.

As we navigated the pandemic, we figured out how to do City business over Zoom, how to keep City services up and running, and how to pivot to help those most in need.  

How many months until vaccines were available?  How many weeks until we can hug our grandparents again?  We numbered the days of an uncertain time, but —together, we always found a way forward and for that—I say thank you!


Despite the challenges, we never lost sight of our core values and mission.

We made huge strides in Public Safety: Equipping our officers with body cameras, hiring new Police Chief Paul Noel, and launching the Office of Community Safety and Empowerment led by LaKenya Middlebrook.

We invested more than ever in Affordable Housing: establishing the $50 Million Affordable Housing Fund, leveraging $600 Million in private investment, preventing thousands of evictions, and creating thousands of new affordable homes.  

With Knox County, we created the Joint Office of Housing Stability, recognizing that homelessness is a community-wide issue that requires coordinated solutions..  So many partners have helped us address the housing crisis, and I know they will continue to help in the coming years.  

One group in particular is especially skilled at reminding elected officials of our moral obligations AND they bring solutions and elbow grease to the table.  Thank you Justice Knox!

With City Council’s support, we have embraced sustainability and innovation by electrifying our KAT buses, adopting a Vision Zero plan, adding free EV charging stations and community solar, and being named the Solar city of the South.  And we are now bridging the digital divide with high speed fiber internet as a public utility.  Thank you KUB!

And, let's not overlook the fact that we have managed to create some amazing spaces in our city in the last 4 years!  Have you seen all the progress in our Urban Wilderness? Our new park spaces at Fort Kid and Morningside? The new Public Safety Complex? And of course, the multi-use stadium is finally taking shape!

But wait—there’s more— because we aren’t done yet!


As your Mayor entering a second term—I am acutely aware of the responsibility that comes with each passing day— we will use our 1,460 days wisely.  

While our world and our city have changed a lot since I was first sworn-in—our priorities remain steadfast:
1. We will work to make all Knoxvillians safe.
2. We will introduce innovative solutions to the housing crisis.
3. We will create great public spaces that bring neighbors together.
4. And, we will build a Knoxville where everyone can thrive.


Public safety–is job #1 in Knoxville, because for people to thrive, they must feel safe.  

Like many communities across the country—we saw a surge of gun violence amidst the pandemic and many Knoxvillians felt vulnerable.

In response, I hired a police chief committed to transparency and community policing. 

We established the Office of Community Safety and Empowerment.  We started partnering with Turn Up Knox and other community groups.  

Today Knoxville is becoming a national leader in Violence Interruption. 

Today, I am happy to say that homicides are down nearly 35%.  

We are going to keep that going!

In the next 4 years we will bring KPD up to its full authorized force; we will build a new fire station in Burlington; and we will work to eliminate traffic fatalities on city streets.


Knoxville is a growing community.  This is good news, but has led to an acute housing shortage.  

So while I’m proud of our substantial progress on housing, we will be even more aggressive and innovative in the next 4 years.   

We will expand our long-standing HomeMakers program to allow gentle density homes, like duplexes and row houses.  We will create new incentives to preserve our Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing. 

Families, business owners, workers - everyone sees the huge challenge posed by our lack of affordable housing.  So,  — for the first time-ever—we are asking philanthropists to augment the city’s gap funding for Affordable Housing. I am confident that the generous people of our community will be eager to support this effort.


In the coming 4 years, we will see new development around the historic St. Mary’s campus and the former McClung Warehouse site.  We will see the transformation of Western Heights.  We will see the first pitch thrown at our new stadium!

We all love these big milestone projects, but I know from many conversations at people’s front doors, it’s the less visible stuff that people rely on for a high quality of life.  

So we will also be Brilliant at the Basics.   We will make sure our streets are paved, our traffic signals modernized, our sidewalks maintained, and our trash picked up.   We will find a long term solution to our aging stormwater infrastructure.  

As I was knocking on doors in East Knoxville this summer, a woman came up to me and said, ‘Hey Ms. Mayor.  Thanks for coming out to our neighborhood.  I just have one question for you’.  (For those of you who have knocked on doors, you know this is often the beginning of a long conversation!)  She asked me, “So Ms. Mayor, what is your position on gentrification?’  Ooh - tough question.  Well let me clarify that there’s a difference between gentrification and revitalization.  I’m all for revitalization, but need to avoid displacement.”  

She nodded and told me that a few years back the house next to her had sold for $15k, and last year it sold for $200k.  The property went from a blighted, drug house, to a healthy home with neighbors who maintain the yard, and who are active members of the community.  She was so happy to see this change.   

As our city continues to grow, we must welcome revitalization, while also working to make sure everyone has an opportunity to thrive.

That is why you will soon see us implement a redevelopment district along the Magnolia Avenue corridor from the new Stadium to Chilhowee Park.   This strategy has been pivotal in South Knoxville’s revitalization and will catalyze private investment in East Knoxville too.

With our first new fire station in 30 years, the completion of Burlington streetscapes, a redevelopment district along Magnolia Avenue.   It’s East Knoxville’s time to shine!

The choices we make the next 4 years, how we spend each of these 1,460 days, will be our legacy for the next generation, when William and his peers are leading the city.  


As I wrap up here today, I want you to know that I dedicate the next 4 years to the people of Knoxville—but this moment, this speech, I dedicate to my family.  I’m so grateful for my family here today, and for the family members who are no longer with us.  

I would not be here today without the love and support of my mother, father, and sister.

They instilled in me the importance of family, the benefits of engaging in activities that bring you joy, and the value in contributing to your community— in ways both big and small. 

I lost my sister in May of 2022, and my mother died this past August—-They were my biggest supporters and my best role models.

Five days from now, we will place my Mom’s remains with my Father’s, at Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill.  For their headstone I chose Psalm 90:12:

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”
Knoxville, I know how blessed I am to have four more years to serve as your Mayor.  I am numbering every day, and will apply my heart to wisdom, to make our city a beloved community.

Thank you.

Mayor Kincannon at Inauguration