|Mayor Rogero presiding over City Council meeting 02/04/2014|
|Mayor of Knoxville|
December 17, 2011
|Preceded by||Daniel Brown (interim)|
July 26, 1952 |
Jacksonville, Florida, United States
|Political party||Democratic Party|
|Spouse(s)||Gene Monaco (2001–)
Mark Pitt (divorced 1983)
|Alma mater||Furman University
University of Tennessee
Madeline Anne Rogero (born July 26, 1952) is the mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, elected in 2011. She is the first woman to hold the office and the first woman to be elected mayor in any of the Big Four cities (Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga) in Tennessee. Before entering politics, Rogero worked as a community development director, non-profit executive, urban and regional planner, and community volunteer. She served on the Knox County Commission from 1990 to 1998, and first ran for mayor in 2003, losing to the current Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam.
Rogero (the "g" is pronounced as an "h") was born in Jacksonville, Florida, one of three children of Gerald Rogero, a plumber, and Anita Ghioto, a former nun. She spent her childhood in Eau Gallie, Florida, and later in Kettering, Ohio, where she attended Archbishop Alter High School. Rogero attended Temple University and Ohio State University, before graduating with a degree in political science from Furman University in 1979.
During the mid-1970s, Rogero and her first husband, Mark Pitt, worked as organizers for César Chávez's United Farm Workers, a labor union that sought better wages for migrant farm workers. She and Pitt moved to Knoxville in 1980, where Pitt helped run the textile workers' union, Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers, now UNITE HERE. Rogero obtained a master's degree from the University of Tennessee's Graduate School of Planning, having been inspired to enter the urban planning field while helping fight an attempt by a developer to install temporary trailers in her neighborhood in anticipation of the 1982 World's Fair.
Knox County Commission
In 1990, Rogero successfully ran for the 2nd District Knox County Commission seat, defeating 24-year incumbent Jesse Cawood. She was reelected in 1994. Following her second term, she chose not to run again after a term-limits referendum was passed by voters in 1994. Though the referendum was not enforced until 2007, Rogero returned to non-profit work and community development, namely as head of Dolly Parton's Dollywood Foundation and then as executive director of Knoxville's Promise, a branch of Colin Powell's America's Promise.
2003 mayoral campaign
In 2003, Rogero ran for mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, competing with businessman Bill Haslam for the position being vacated by long-time Knoxville mayor Victor Ashe. Her plan for the city involved four key components:
- Bring higher-paying jobs to the city, accusing many of the city's business leaders of keeping higher-paying jobs out of town for fear that this would lead to increased pay expectations in their own businesses.
- Strengthen neighborhoods and work with neighborhood organizations.
- Revitalize the Downtown area, namely with a better retail strategy for Gay Street and Market Square, and the creation of more parking areas.
- Address quality of life issues, namely greenways, arts, and historic preservation, and link them to economic growth.
By June 2003, Rogero had raised $72,000 in contributions, far short of the $467,000 Haslam had raised, though she eventually amassed over $160,000 (about one-fourth of Haslam's eventual total). As the campaign heated up, Rogero attacked Haslam on several fronts, attempting to paint him as a representative of oil interests (Haslam's father, Jim Haslam, is the founder and chairman of Pilot Corporation), and arguing he would be a puppet of developers that have "gone up against many of our neighborhood organizations." Haslam was generally considered an "establishment" candidate, but ran a grassroots-style campaign in an attempt to connect with all of the city's neighborhoods, and won the support of numerous black leaders in East Knoxville.
While Haslam won the election with about 53% of the vote, Rogero garnered praise for running an effective campaign and energizing the city's urban and working class voters. In 2006, Haslam appointed Rogero director of community development, a move inspired in part by the Doris Kearns Goodwin book, Team of Rivals.
2011 mayoral campaign
Haslam was reelected mayor in 2007 (Rogero didn't run), and resigned the office in January 2011 after he was elected governor of the state. Councilman Daniel Brown was appointed interim mayor. Rogero announced her candidacy for mayor in August 2010, joining a field that eventually included councilwoman Marilyn Roddy, former councilman Ivan Harmon, businessman Mark Padgett, former councilman Joe Hultquist, and local 911 operator Bo Bennett. Roddy dropped out in April 2011 to run for the district's state senate seat, leaving Rogero as the front runner in the nonpartisan mayoral election.
By July 2011, Rogero had managed to raise $160,000, and by September she had raised over $345,000. Her candidacy was endorsed by the Knoxville News Sentinel, Knoxville's daily newspaper; the alternative weekly Metro Pulse; the Public Trust PAC, a nonpartisan political action committee in Knox County that was established after a series of 2007 scandals involving county government; former State Senator Ben Atchley; former Knox County Executive Tommy Schumpert; several key members of the city staff under former mayor Haslam; and the Knoxville Firefighters Association. By the day of the primary election, she counted a total of "more than two dozen" endorsements from current or past elected officials in the Knoxville and Knox County governments.
In the primary election on September 27, 2011 Rogero won 49.91% of the vote, ahead of the second and third-place finishers, Mark Padgett (22.64%) and Ivan Harmon (22.32%), but 16 votes short of the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff.
Rogero faced fellow Democrat Padgett, the second-place finisher, in a runoff election that was held on November 8, 2011. During the weeks following the primary, Rogero picked up an endorsement from the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, while Padgett was endorsed by all three of the other men who had been candidates in the primary; Jimmy "J.J." Jones, the Knox County Sheriff; the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors; and the Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville. Rogero won the runoff with 58.6% of the vote. Rogero's election made her the first woman mayor of Knoxville. She also became the first woman mayor of any of Tennessee's Big Four cities.
Rogero was sworn in as mayor on December 17, 2011, in a ceremony at Chilhowee Park. In her first year in office, she proposed the creation of a new hybrid pension plan because the existing plan was deemed unsustainable. The Knoxville City Council voted to put the new hybrid plan on the November 2012 ballot and voters approved it with 76 percent voting in favor. The new plan does not interfere with benefits of existing employees but does impact all city employees hired after Jan. 1, 2013.
Her administration also saw the development of the Office of Business Support, which was designed to help local businesses in their dealings with the City of Knoxville government, and the development of new enforcement tools to deal with chronically neglected and blighted properties. City Council approved four ordinances to help address the issue. Rogero included both initiatives in a Year-End Review that looked at her first year in office.
On November 1, 2013, Rogero was selected as one of 26 governmental leaders to serve on a task force that will advise President Barack Obama on climate preparedness and resilience-building efforts.  In late January 2014, Rogero visted Turkey at the invitation of the U.S. State Department to talk about the importance of women participating in politics and public life.
Rogero's administration has a four-level platform: Strong, safe neighborhoods; Living Green and Working Green; An energized downtown; and Job creation and retention. Her first budget included initiatives in each of these areas.
During her 2011 campaign, Rogero stated she would only consider raising taxes after "all attempts were exhausted to cut expenses to provide needed services."
She also expressed her support for the proposed Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan, which would place restrictions on development along the slopes of area hills and ridges. Supporters of the plan had said it was necessary to preserve the area's scenic beauty and protect neighborhoods and waterways from runoff. Opponents argued that it was too restrictive, and would harm area economic development.
- Georgiana Vines, "Meet the New Mayor: Family, Shared Time Important to Madeline Rogero," Knoxville News Sentinel, 11 December 2011. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- Joe Sullivan (April 3, 2003). "The Patrician Vs. the Populist; Bill Haslam and Madeline Rogero: A study in contrasts". Metro Pulse (Vol. 13, No. 14) (monkeyfire.com). Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- "About Madeline". Madeline Rogero for Mayor. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Cari Wade Gervin (April 27, 2011). "Knoxville Mayoral Candidate Profile: Madeline Rogero". Metro Pulse.
- Ryan Seals, "Rogero Voices Her Vision for the City," The Daily Beacon, 15 August 2003. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- Joe Sullivan, "Madeline's Song Turns to Discord," Metro Pulse, 10 July 2003. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- Rogero Releases First Financial Report. Madeline Rogero for Mayor campaign website, 31 January 2011. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- The Year In Review, Metro Pulse, December 2003. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- Josh Flory, "Building on Experience as Knoxville's Mayor, 'Optimistic and Enthusiastic' Haslam Begins Leading State", Knoxville News Sentinel, January 19, 2011. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- Georgiana Vines, "Marilyn Roddy Drops Out of Knoxville Mayoral Race," Knoxville News Sentinel, 22 April 2011. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- Ali Griffin, "Rogero Takes Mayoral Election," The Daily Beacon, 21 November 2011. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- "Madeline Rogero endorsed for mayor based on vision, leadership, years of experience" (editorial). Knoxville News Sentinel. September 4, 2011.
- "Knoxville Elections '11: Metro Pulse's Endorsements", Metro Pulse, September 7, 2011
- Georgiana Vines (September 12, 2007). "Public Trust PAC backs Rogero". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- Georgiana Vines (September 27, 2011). "Madeline Rogero needs to ride close call to finish line". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- Georgiana Vines (September 23, 2011). "Final stretch: Knoxville mayoral candidates stump for votes". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- Cari Wade Gervin, "Close Calls: Notes From a Nail-Bitten Primary Election Night," Metro Pulse, 28 September 2011. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- Georgiana Vines (October 14, 2011). "FOP picks Rogero in mayor's race". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- "Mark Padgett endorsed by 3 former opponents, sheriff". Knoxville News Sentinel. October 5, 2011.
- David Hunter (November 1, 2011), "Elephant settles into room during race", Knoxville News Sentinel
- "Local Realtors, home builders endorse Mark Padgett for mayor". Knoxville News Sentinel. October 17, 2011.
- Jim Balloch, Lance Coleman, Mike Donila (November 8, 2011). "Madeline Rogero is Knoxville's first woman mayor". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- NashvillePost.com J.R. Lind, "A Town We All Know Well," Nov. 9, 2011
- City of Knoxville Pension Task Force Meeting minutes, City of Knoxville website, 19 January 2012. Retrieved: 1 February 2014.
- Madeline Rogero, The 2012 Year-End Review, City of Knoxville website, 17 December 2012. Retrieved: 1 February 2014.
- Mayor Rogero Selected for President Obama's Climate Preparedness Task Force, City of Knoxville website, 1 November 2013. Retrieved: 1 February 2014.
- Mayor Rogero to Visit Turkey on Behalf of State Department, City of Knoxville website, 23 January 2014. Retrieved: 1 February 2014.
- Madeline Rogero Response to Knoxville News Sentinel Questionnaire," Madeline Rogero for Mayor campaign website, 18 August 2011. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- Madeline Rogero Response to Metro Pulse Questionnaire, Madeline Rogero for Mayor campaign website, 19 August 2011. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- Mike Donila, "Officials: Newly Updated Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan Provides Flexibility, Knoxville News Sentinel, 26 October 2011. Retrieved: 5 January 2012.
- City of Knoxville Mayor
- Madeline Rogero for Mayor – official campaign website
- MayorRogero on Twitter