- The Democrat was elected to the Knoxville City Council in 2017, becoming the first South Asian American to be elected to any public office in East Tennessee, and was reelected in 2021 for another four-year term.
Seema Singh, a city council member in Knoxville, Tennessee, has announced that she’s running as a Democrat to represent District 90 in the state’s House of Representatives. That seat is held by Rep. Gloria Johnson, a fellow Democrat running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn.
Singh was elected to the city council in 2017, becoming the first South Asian American to be elected to any public office in East Tennessee. She was reelected in 2021 for another four-year term.
On the council, she has been a big proponent of community-based policing and grants targeted at low-income neighborhoods through affordable housing programs. One of her most immediate successes came in the form of a fee freeze from the Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) as well as the creation of a community advisory board for KUB.
She currently serves on the Knoxville Family Justice Center’s Coordinated Community Response Team, Knox County Domestic Assault Death Review Team, The Metropolitan Drug Center Gateway Advisory Board, and The YMCA of East Tennessee Board. She is also a City Council Representative and Chair of the Municipal Golf Committee.
She told the Knox News Sentinel that if elected to the state Senate, she’ll be there (as a) bookmark for sanity,” adding that she will “try to bring up the points of view that I think are important and push ahead for a lot of people who are not being represented or listened to.”
She further told the publication that while the district is comfortably blue, she isn’t taking anything for granted. “I think my odds are on how hard I work,” she said. “It’s not going to be just a shoo-in by any means.”
Singh has “filed her treasurer appointment forms and will have a formal announcement later this year,” the Know News report noted.
A social worker and community advocate, Singh is the executive director of the Healing the Home, a nonprofit agency serving families to address the abuse and trauma that are the result of generational domestic and intimate partner violence. She has worked as a coordinator for the Batterers Intervention Program – Knoxville, for the past six years. It is a state-certified program to reduce intimate partner violence and rehabilitate domestic violence offenders.
Born in Varanasi, Singh moved with her family to Knoxville at the age 2, as her father, Ram Naresh Singh came on a Fulbright scholarship to New York’s Columbia University. He later settled in Knoxville to teach social work at the University of Tennessee. “I just followed in his footsteps when I took up social work,” she says. He passed away 15 years ago.
After graduating from Bearden High School, she got a B.A. from the University of Tennessee in 1996 with a major in Psychology with an emphasis on Clinical, Counseling, and Applied Psychology.
She has served as a community advocate for more than two decades, dedicating many years to her work in the field of medical social services, where she assisted women in our community with access to healthcare. Additionally, she worked with the Knox County Health Department, focusing on access to medical care for Knoxville’s homeless population with HIV/AIDS.