An Upper Arlington native could become the next mayor of Knoxville.

An Upper Arlington native could become the next mayor of Knoxville.

Marilyn Roddy (née Long) was born and raised in UA and graduated from Upper Arlington High School in 1980. She still comes back to UA to visit her parents, Nancy and Ron Long.

But her home is now in Tennessee. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Marilyn married Patrick Roddy and they moved to his hometown of Knoxville, whose current population is estimated at 185,000. She taught for a while, but stayed home to raise their three daughters and became active in the community.

Marilyn Roddy has been an at-large member of Knoxville City Council for more than six years. (At-large means she and two other members cover all of Knoxville, while the other six represent geographical regions of the city.) She chairs the city of Knoxville audit committee and is a member of the City Investment Advisory Board.

Politics beckoned to Roddy after she took part in a program called Leadership Knoxville.

"In 2003, all three of the at-large seats were going to be open seats (due to term limits)," Roddy said. "There was this real opportunity for fresh leadership to step up and bring some new ideas to the table. If I had to jump into a seat with an incumbent, with the old-time political machine, I probably would have been much less likely to do that."

The primary takes place Sept. 27, with the two top vote-getters going to a run-off election Nov. 8.

"A lot of snowbirds and Ohioans have driven through Knoxville," Roddy said. "We get a lot of through traffic, and Knoxville did host a World's Fair in 1982.

Roddy said that as mayor of Knoxville, among her challenges will be to "continue to be fiscally responsible in tight budget times, and to build a city that offers great services to its citizens while still making it affordable and efficient.

"In that same vein," she said, "we've got to continue to attract great talent to work for our city."

Like other cities, Knoxville is dealing with weather issues — spending more money on salt than it had budgeted.

"People laugh at southerners and how we can't drive in the snow, but the reality is we frequently are skating around on a layer of ice, with a little snow sprinkled on top just for fun."

Roddy said she is leading the other candidates in fundraising.

"I've told people it takes some big donations to get off the starting block, but it takes a whole lot of 20-dollar bills to get you to the finish line."

You can follow the Roddy campaign via her website,, or her Facebook page, Marilyn Roddy for Mayor.