Thursday, February 7, 2013
With early voting for the March 5 election fast approaching and multiple candidates vying for open City Council District 7 and 8 positions, the Community News asked each candidate to respond to two questions in an effort to help inform voters before early voting kicks off Feb. 13-28.
Early voting sites are Northgate Mall and the Brainerd Community Center, both of which are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; and the Hamilton County Election Commission office, which is open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Our questionnaire contained only two questions: 1. What do you think is the biggest issue in your district and how do you plan to address it if elected? And 2. What do you think makes you a qualified candidate for City Council? Each was given 150-200 words with which to answer.
Next week’s issue of Metro Community News will include responses from District 1 and 9 candidates.
The following are the responses from districts 7 and 8:
The most important role that our local government plays in our lives is to ensure the safety of its citizens. That’s why I’m proud to have received the endorsement and support of the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers and the Chattanooga Firefighters Association. We’ve got to ensure the public servants who put their lives on the line each day have the resources they need to keep us safe. And we need to work with our local neighborhood associations and communities to adopt creative policies that reduce crime.
I’ve lived in the Chattanooga area my entire life, working in my community to improve our city. I currently operate the Bluff View Art District Food & Beverage Department, which employs over 150 individuals and attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year. I serve as the vice chair of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Health Council, working to keep our communities safe and healthy. Additionally, I sit on the Chattanooga Board of Sign Appeals to ensure that Chattanooga remains beautiful. I believe that District 7 deserves real leadership and real representation. If you share my vision of what Chattanooga could be, I hope I can count on your support on March 5.
The most important issue is affordable housing and I would bring that up in the Legal and Legislative Committee where that housing ordinance has been placed and what’s going on with it.
I live here and I’m concerned about my city and the people in it.
The most important issues in my district are public safety, sidewalks and street payment. These are the issues that personally affect everyone. I plan to work with the next administration to fund keeping and replacing fire and police as they retire, quit or are fired. Same with infrastructure — we must allocate more funds for streets and sidewalks.
I feel I am the most qualified candidate because I have done this job for eight years and have the ability and experience to continue making this city a better place to live, work and play. This is my full-time job. This is what I do and I have been told I do it well.
He was not available for comment. Both the Community News and the Chattanooga Times Free Press have attempted to contact him.
I have been out in the district talking to folks every day, and they are telling me their No. 1 concern is crime like youth gang violence. People want to feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods, but lessening crime and eliminating youth gang violence is only possible if all elements of our community are involved, not just government. I will act as a catalyst to bring people and organizations together. As a councilman I will be directly involved at all levels in finding solutions to our neighborhood crime problems. A councilman should do more than just show up to meetings and vote.
I believe a councilman should be connected to the community he represents. As a hometown product, I have worked as an activist, advocate and volunteer to make Chattanooga a better place and offer a helping hand to those in need. I have worked in the public, private and nonprofit sectors as a teacher, a city administrator, a developer and a revitalization specialist. All of these experiences have taught me the importance of engagement with the people of Chattanooga and their potential to do great things. I want to continue helping the people of District 8 by being their public servant.
I hope to help further decrease crime by creating a Police Athletic League. In addition, I will continue to fund both the recruitment and STEP program for officers.
I am the councilman. Four years ago, I beat the 20-year incumbent. The calendar may say 2013, but it’s 2009 all over again. If Mr. Pierce was a better representative than I am, vote Mr. Freeman. If you want conviction, integrity and action, then I ask for your vote.