First District City Council candidate Joe Hultquist wants to be a voice for students at the University of Tennessee, but he thinks improving relations between Council and campus is a two-way street.
Hultquist, 48, is a designer and builder with a history of community involvement.
"One of the things that appeals to me the most about the 1st District is its diversity, and UT is a big part of that," Hultquist said. "But I think the lack of engagement between the UT community and the rest of Knoxville is disappointing."
As an example, Hultquist noted the low voter turnout on campus for the primary election.
However, Hultquist said he is hopeful things can improve.
"I think there are a lot of potential areas of cooperation between the Council and the UT campus," he said, "including students and administrators.
"It just can't be one sided, everyone involved has to be willing to help."
Two of the issues that Hultquist says are the most important to the UT community are parking and transportation.
Hultquist said he supports the recently developed campus Master Plan, which plans to move parking to the edge of campus, which he said will free up the campus interior for better uses.
City Council will also have to look at new forms of transportation, Hultquist said, and there is "tremendous potential" in this area. He said he supports a streetcar system that would run through campus, Fort Sanders and downtown.
"Mass transit will be a key component in Knoxville," he said. "It will just take cooperation between the city, the Council, and UT."
Hultquist would also like to see some renovation and enhancement of the Fort Sanders area, and he supports curbside recycling and the living wage. He said that with a little creativity, these ideas can be implemented without putting an undue burden on city taxpayers.
Hultquist said there is a clear distinction between himself and his opponent in the 1st District race.
"With me, you get someone who has been involved in the community for 15 years," he said. "I've been trying to nurture effective public involvement."
Hultquist co-founded the Island Home Park Neighborhood Association and was its president for eight years. He is a board member of Nine Counties/One Vision and chaired the Outreach Action Committee.
"City Council shouldn't just provide citizens with the right to participate, it should encourage them," he said, adding that he genuinely wants to improve the relationship between the Council and UT students.
"I want to reach out to students as their councilmember," he explained. "I think they feel they've been ignored in the past, and I want to change that."