Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Well Timed Decision

I was forty years old when I got married because I did not allow myself to be pressured into making a commitment prematurely. Some have said that I'm a late bloomer, but I prefer to think of myself as someone who counts the cost before making a decision, especially the kind of decision that affects my life and the lives of others. For me that means looking at what has been done, what can be done, and how well I can reconcile the two.

One of the questions I've been asked during this campaign is, "What made you decide to run for City Council now?" My answer: I'm ready to make that commitment. I've made a critical, well thought out decision to step up and position myself to be an agent of hope. Now I'm asking you to do the same.

In five days, on September 22nd, you will have the opportunity to go to the polls and make a critical decision that will affect the present and future generations of District 6 and the city of Knoxville at large. I'm not asking you to marry me, but I do believe that we can create a harmonious partnership that satisfies both the required and the desired in this proposed relationship.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't Count Me Out

People sometimes make all kinds of assumptions. Many times, people assume that because I'm an attorney I make lots of money, drive a fancy car, and live in a posh neighborhood. Well, I do drive a BMW (it's an '88, with a cracked dash, but it's still pretty fancy to me). I actually live in one of the more depressed areas of East Knoxville, and most of the cases I take are cases no one else wants: abuse and neglect; delinquent and unruly children; domestic disputes. Why do I drive an old car, and take these kinds of cases, and live where I live? Let's just call it preservation. I see something of value that needs to be preserved.

'Location, location, location.' is said to be the number one rule in real estate. Do you know what happens when people lose interest or pride in an area or no longer see real value in it? It becomes dilapidated. The same is true of cars, buildings, agendas, and even people. As I look around District 6 I see a lot of dilapidation, but I choose to live here because I see something worth preserving. Someone has to be willing to deal with the abused and neglected, the delinquent and the unruly, and the domestic disputes, even if it means trading in the wingtip shoes for a pair of well-worn sneakers. Someone has to be willing to look past the sometimes shabby exterior and see the real value in our location and in the people who make up our location. I'm willing. How about you?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yard Work

When we were growing up, my mother would send me and my brothers out into the yard to "police the yard." This meant that we were to look around the yard, see what needed to be cleaned up, and get to work cleaning it up. The condition of our yard was a reflection of our family's pride, and our pride in our neighborhood and community. It didn't matter that some of what we found in the yard was not put there by us. Even if it was messy and dirty and smelly, because it was in our yard, we became responsible for making sure that things were as they should be.

District 6 is the only district in Knoxville whose borders touch every other district. We are, in effect, in all of the other districts' "backyard." Not only does that put us in a very strategic location, it also means that what we do here has the potential to affect not only this district, but all of the surrounding districts as well.

People want to know what issues I'm campaigning on, and I could easily make a list. But, sometimes, a list is too limiting. That would be like me saying I'm only going to focus on the sticks in the yard, when there are cans and weeds and a host of other things that might crop up and need to be addressed. I look at it this way: I'm here to "police my yard." I'm looking around my district and seeing what needs to be done. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work to make sure District 6 doesn't end up being the "yard" that everybody points at and talks about how messy and dirty and smelly it is.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just in case you're wondering...

Yes, Steve Dupree is my brother... but don't hold that against me. (Those of you who know my brother are already smiling.) What can I say? I'm proud to be a Dupree. That name means a lot to a lot of people around this city. Some know me as Adora Dupree's baby brother; others know me as Master Seargent William Franklin Dupree's son, or Eloise Dupree's "number seven" (of nine children). I was born and raised right here in the heart of East Knoxville. I grew up on Cruze Street. I still wear my Austin-East High School Class of '77 t-shirt (even though it's just a little snug around the middle -- okay, a lot snug -- and even though I graduated from Catholic High.)

I can still remember sitting in class, practicing my signature and daydreaming about one day becoming an attorney and making a difference. Preparing for the fulfillment of that dream took me out of Knoxville to Howard University in Washington, D.C., but my heart has always been right here in East Knoxville. So I came back to make a difference in my own hometown, because this is still where I live.