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Knoxville Gets a Shout-Out From the First Lady 

City of Knoxville Deputy Mayor and Chief Operating Officer Christi Branscom joined First Lady Michelle Obama, representatives from the National League of Cities (NLC) and several federal agencies at the White House last Wednesday, Sept. 16, for a celebratory event honoring the achievements made by local elected officials participating in the Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) initiative.

The First Lady announced that 500 cities, towns and counties, impacting 80 million Americans including those within Knoxville and Knox County, have committed to the five goals in the LMCTC initiative since July 2012. 
During her speech at the White House ceremony, the First Lady mentioned some of Knoxville’s programs as success stories in the national LMCTC initiative. 

“Take Knoxville, Tennessee for example,” said Mrs. Obama during her speech Wednesday. “They have a Walking School Bus program and a Kids Can Bike! program that gets kids from underserved areas pedaling all over the city.”

LMCTC is a key part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative and helps local elected officials, their staff and communities ensure all children grow up healthy and have the ability to reach their full potential. NLC works in partnership with Let’s Move! and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide assistance to local elected officials. 

Branscom Anthony
Christi Branscom, City of Knoxville Deputy Mayor and COO, with Clarence Anthony, Executive Director and CEO of the National League of Cities.

Since 2013, Knoxville and Knox County have been ranked no. 1 in the nation among the LMCTC goals by reaching the highest honor of five gold medals.

“It’s exciting that our collaboration with Knox County, Knox County Schools and other local partners to pursue healthier, more active lifestyles for children in our area has brought Knoxville so much national attention,” Branscom said. “At the end of the day, this spotlight has reinforced Knoxville as a city with assets that promote healthier lifestyles, reducing healthcare costs and, ultimately, making us a more desirable city.”

Kathleen Gibi, Public Affairs Specialist for Knoxville Parks and Recreation, has served as the liaison with the NLC for the City dealing with Knoxville’s role in the LMCTC initiative and accompanied Branscom at the White House last week.

At Wednesday’s event, Branscom and leaders from a handful of selected cities met in a room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (that was used as a State Department room where many treaties were signed until post-World War II) to share successes and discuss future strategies for an NLC Let’s Move! All Stars program challenging those cities “going beyond gold.” 

“These roundtable discussions are so crucial. Sharing lessons learned and hearing about innovative approaches from other cities correlates to even more cutting edge techniques for Knoxville,” Branscom said.
The 500 cities, towns and counties honored at Wednesday’s event came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 

A transcript of the First Lady’s speech may be viewed on the White House website. Or you can watch the speech below: 


For more information on the achievements by LMCTC communities, visit www.healthycommunitieshealthyfuture.org/spotlights/

NLC works in partnership with Let’s Move! and HHS, with support from USDA, the National Association of Counties and other nonprofit organizations, to provide assistance to local elected officials as they implement policy and program changes to improve access to healthy, affordable food and provide opportunities for physical activity for all children. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides generous support to NLC to provide technical assistance to local elected officials working to create healthier communities and prevent childhood obesity, including those participating in LMCTC.

Posted by On 22 September, 2015 at 9:49 AM