NOOGA Guides    City

Local Chattanooga, TN mayoral + city council election guide

We've got all the info you need for early voting. | Pexels

On March 2, Chattanooga residents will head to the polls to elect a new mayor + new city council members.

After his two terms as mayor, Andy Berke is set to leave office. 

With 15 mayoral hopefuls + more than 20 people vying for a city council seat — it’s the biggest cast of candidates to date. (In 2013, three people ran for mayor.)

Incumbent council members Carol Berz + Chip Henderson are unopposed, and three seats — District 2, 5 +7 — are open to new candidates. 

Important dates + times

Early voting: Feb. 10-25 – Locations + times here.

Election Day: March 2 – Polling places here

What to know on Election Day

You’ll need to bring identification. Click here for approved IDs. 

How to find your info

You can use this form to find your precinct, voting location + sample ballots.  

Six mayoral candidates responded to our brief questionnaire. If you’re a candidate for mayor and haven’t responded to our questions, you can do so here and send us an email to let us know you replied. We attempted to contact every candidate.

Mayoral candidates

Monty Bruell

What are your top three priorities for the city if elected?
As Mayor, my top three priorities will be:

1. Addressing the HUGE income and wealth disparities that exist in Chattanooga. I like to describe Chattanooga as being like a bright shiny pickup truck. While some of us are riding upfront in the cab with the air conditioning running, the music playing, and enjoying the beautiful view, there are many others who are stuck in the bed of the truck not enjoying any of these amenities. Unfortunately, every day we add more and more people to the back of the truck. Eventually, the weight of these poor, under-educated, and under-employed people will exceed the weight capacity of the truck, and we will all be stuck together, broken down by the side of the road.

2. It is sad that it has taken the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others by police to awaken our country to the issues of discrimination, inequality, and social justice. I have wholeheartedly supported the peaceful protests in Chattanooga and around the US. We need to totally rethink how Chattanooga and Hamilton County address public safety in our communities. First and foremost, I am in favor of Chattanooga having a real Citizen Oversight Board. Our police force should be accountable to the people of our community. Next, I would hire social service and mental health professionals to intervene in situations where citizens are having mental health crises. I would also outsource to private companies functions like traffic accident investigation and other non-violent response calls. For example, both Denver and New Orleans have taken progressive steps in these areas. Chattanooga should identify and study best practices from across the US.

3. Chattanooga needs to improve its public transportation system. The quality and accessibility of public transit impacts a broad array of issues ranging from unemployment to education to gentrification. As Mayor, I will make CARTA buses free to ride for all passengers. I will also reroute the system so that it goes where riders want to travel and institute a hub & spoke system with a Central Transit Facility for easier commuting. I will continue expanding the use of electric buses to reduce CARTA’s carbon footprint. The Chicago Equitable Transit Plan could provide guidance for CARTA.

What qualities, skills, experiences do you have that will make you a strong mayor?
I’m Baylor School’s first African-American graduate and have earned a degree in Economics from Harvard, but my roots are in Alton Park and East Chatt.

What do you intend to do to ensure the city is best suited to handle challenges that it will continue to face as our community grows?
Let’s build a city that works for all people, regardless of race or socio-economic status. No more running our city from the top down. Let’s create leadership that is diverse and inclusive.

What’s your vision for NOOGA in the next four years?
My vision for Chattanooga is to create a Clean Money Economy that balances Economic Development with Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice. Our rising tide should lift all boats across our city.

Where can we find more information? Please include your website, social media pages or other relevant information where residents can learn more about you. *
MontyBruell.com
Facebook: Monty Bruell for Mayor
Instagram: @MontyBruell

Wade Hinton

What are your top three priorities for the city if elected?
Recover from the COVID pandemic stronger. On day one in office, I will appoint a COVID Response Director, who will lead the City’s response efforts, streamline resources and efforts, and partner closely with the County and other community organizations to ensure all Chattanoogans, especially those most vulnerable, receive the vaccine as soon as possible.

I will also create an Equitable Recovery Commission to ensure that our community is fully leveraging the influx of federal recovery funds to rebuild a more inclusive economy. In particular, I will work to ensure that recovery efforts and funds are directed at four critical areas: restructuring and increasing career training opportunities and access to good jobs, addressing critical learning loss and educational needs for students, supporting affordable housing and eviction prevention, and ensuring critical support for the small businesses that are at the heart of our community.

Build an inclusive economy by investing in job training and workforce strategies that prepare residents for good jobs, leveraging Chattanooga’s assets to recruit high-wage employers, and supporting small and minority-owned businesses in accessing the resources they need to thrive.
What qualities, skills, experiences do you have that will make you a strong mayor?

Worked for County Mayor Claude Ramsey, General Counsel for VW, City Attorney under Mayor Berke, Head of Diversity and Inclusion for UNUM
What do you intend to do to ensure the city is best suited to handle challenges that it will continue to face as our community grows?

Strengthen neighborhoods and access to housing. Put resident engagement at the heart of all important decisions, including budgeting.
What’s your vision for NOOGA in the next four years?

My Office of Equity and Engagement will create equitable practices and policy across City departments and diversify representation on City boards and commissions.

Where can we find more information? Please include your website, social media pages or other relevant information where residents can learn more about you. *
wadeahinton.com
https://www.facebook.com/WadeHintonForMayor
https://twitter.com/Wade_Hinton

Tim Kelly

What are your top three priorities for the city if elected?
BEST NEIGHBORHOODS ANYWHERE:

* Get back to the basics of good city government — fix potholes, sidewalks and roads
* Work with chief David Roddy to invest in community policing
* Invest in stronger, community-driven YFD centers
* Expand access to affordable housing
* Expand and coordinate homelessness outreach and mitigation
* More responsive, smarter public transportation with expanded access to educational opportunities and integration of a mobile app for on-demand transportation

A GREAT EDUCATION NO MATTER YOUR ZIPCODE:

* Pre-K for all
* Invest in access to job/vocational training, from the planned Construction Academy and apprenticeship programs to partnerships that expand access to Future Ready Institutes
* Work to build a stronger middle class with better job training, good-paying jobs and a focus on helping aspiring small business owners and workers
* Create one-stop shop to grow entrepreneurship in black community, with access to federal, state and local resources, as well as pathways to capital

A LEADER WITH CRISIS MANAGEMENT AND SMALL BUSINESS EXPERIENCE:

* I led my businesses through two recessions with no mass layoffs, as well as through the COVID-19 pandemic. I have a plan to help Chattanooga emerge stronger from this crisis
* My small business experience taught me how to create good-paying jobs, attract and retain talented workers, and practice servant leadership
* I will bring accountability, transparency, and organizational management ability to city hall. Every voice and every neighborhood must be heard to help drive a responsive, responsible, common-sense city government

More at https://www.kellyforcha.com/priorities

What qualities, skills, experiences do you have that will make you a strong mayor? *
I have founded and managed multiple businesses in Chattanooga, and served on the boards of nearly 20 non-profits here, as well as on city boards.

What do you intend to do to ensure the city is best suited to handle challenges that it will continue to face as our community grows? *

I will get our city on the right track, from the basics like filling potholes, paving streets, and keeping the public safe, to maximizing the enormous potential of Chattanooga and Chattanoogans.

What’s your vision for NOOGA in the next four years? *
My campaign has published comprehensive policies and plans on our website at https://www.kellyforcha.com/priorities — but our guiding principle is One Chattanooga.

Where can we find more information? Please include your website, social media pages or other relevant information where residents can learn more about you. *
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
LinkedIn
YouTube
Common Purpose podcast
Policies and Focus areas
Get Involved

George Ryan Love

What are your top three priorities for the city if elected?
I will house and feed the homeless and hungry and prevent others from becoming so.

We will bring real accountability to the police by appointing new leadership and direct accountability to my office for civil rights violations.

We will have community input in budgeting and put city worker pay and benefits, as well as human needs first.

What qualities, skills, experiences do you have that will make you a strong mayor? 

I hold a Master of Education, a Bachelor in Political Science, and have Spanish interpreter training. I am a former Spanish instructor.

What do you intend to do to ensure the city is best suited to handle challenges that it will continue to face as our community grows? *

The City is the people, not something ethereal. I will fight to make sure everyone can join a union. I will make sure we build families and embrace diversity. I will the needy will get help.

What’s your vision for NOOGA in the next four years? 

I want to see a city where our beauty is measured in charity, not wealth building where income is taken from the poor and given to the rich. Everyone can pay their bills independent of government.

Where can we find more information? Please include your website, social media pages or other relevant information where residents can learn more about you. *

George Ryan Love for Mayor on Facebook. I am doing a town hall live on February 5th. It’s on my Facebook page under George Love. [email protected]  yanlove833.wixsite.site

Erskine Oglesby

What are your top three priorities for the city if elected?
*Economic Development that will focus on small business development and support and workforce & career development

*Community Revitalization and Stabilization-Develop and support strong neighborhood associations, create plan to eliminate abandon/neglected properties and provide support to replace with affordable housing, improve trust and establish relationships with public safety initiatives with neighborhood involvement to reduce crime.

*Early Childhood and Family Development-Increase funding and capacity to develop programming to prepare children birth through 1st grade in partnership with HCDE to increase literacy levels prior to entering 1st grade.

What qualities, skills, experiences do you have that will make you a strong mayor?
*My extensive experience in volunteering in civic and community organizations, and on boards shows my involvement and commitment to public service.

What do you intend to do to ensure the city is best suited to handle challenges that it will continue to face as our community grows?
I will build a strong, innovative, and diverse team with neighborhood involvement to address the current challenges, and develop a comprehensive 5-year plan to address the future growth of our city.

What’s your vision for NOOGA in the next four years?
A stronger more diverse economy, increased trust in public safety while reducing crime, more access to affordable housing and expanded infrastructure plan.

Where can we find more information? Please include your website, social media pages or other relevant information where residents can learn more about you.
www.ErskineOglesby.com
Facebook/Erskine Oglesby
Youtube-Erskine Oglesby

Kim White

What are your top three priorities for the city if elected?
Growing Business

With a focus on small and medium-sized businesses, an Office of Small Business Support will be created to assist these businesses in accessing available City or community resources, in navigating City government and harnessing all pandemic recovery funding. The services of the Office of Small Business Support will be in the neighborhoods and not behind the doors of City Hall. And while recruiting companies to Chattanooga is key, we will also have a renewed focus on workforce training with partners like Chattanooga State to provide necessary education and training for Chattanoogans to access quality jobs.

Supporting First Responders

Public safety is a primary job of any government, and I am committed to supporting our fire and police departments with the resources they need. My administration would be committed to competitive compensation, additional support services like mental health and addiction treatment specialists to work alongside law enforcement, and to identify and to correct barriers for greater recruitment of minority officers. Regular communication is key, and as Mayor, I will meet regularly with neighborhood leaders and fire and police employee groups to review existing measures, consider new opportunities, and how together, we create a safe Chattanooga for all.

Improving Streets and Roads

Chattanooga has over 2,300 miles of streets and roads, and they have not been maintained well. In my first budget, there will be an additional $3 million dollars for paving. Paving projects will be based on the greatest needs throughout our city identified by working with neighborhoods and City Council along with creating a paving plan so Chattanoogans know where, when, and why these projects are occurring.

What qualities, skills, experiences do you have that will make you a strong mayor? *
Recruited business and $1.2 billion of investment to Chattanooga; CEO for 16 years; proven community leader and public-private partnership builder

What do you intend to do to ensure the city is best suited to handle challenges that it will continue to face as our community grows?
With a proactive, sustainable policy approach, I will make strategic, long-term investments in areas like infrastructure and growing a diverse economy to make a more resilient and flexible city.

What’s your vision for NOOGA in the next four years? *
Growth in Small/Medium Sized Businesses. Business Recruitment. Infrastructure, Parks and Education Investment. 700 Units of Affordable Housing Added. Thriving Neighborhoods. Diverse Police Department.

Where can we find more information? Please include your website, social media pages or other relevant information where residents can learn more about you. *
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
LinkedIn
Youtube

Elenora Woods

What are your top three priorities for the city if elected? 

Affordable Housing & Homelessness, Expanding Business Growth and Development for all Neighborhoods with emphasis placed on  our Marginalized Communities , 0-5 Early Childhood  Education

What qualities, skills, experiences do you have that will make you a strong mayor?
I started my own business and have 31 years of experience running a business (Small Business and Corporate),  strong community advocate and activist

What do you intend to do to ensure the city is best suited to handle challenges that it will continue to face as our community grows?
Continue to grow the economy globally, provide livable wages, create more businesses and housing especially in marginalized communities, Trade School, Tolls to  pay for road damages.

What’s your vision for NOOGA in the next four years?
A vibrant & thriving economy for Chattanooga and all neighborhoods,  Adequate stock of affordable housing, Adequate funding for  0-5 early childhood educational programs, no homelessness

Where can we find more information? Please include your website, social media pages or other relevant information where residents can learn more about you. *

Docwoods.org, facebook.com/DrElenoraWoods2021, Instagram.com/Dr.Elenora Woods2021

What about the other candidates?

We aggregated information about each candidate for whom we haven’t received responses. 

Monty Dewayne Bell

He calls himself “the homeless journalist.” He’s a former broadcaster in Chattanooga.

Lon Cartwright:

He studied at Western Michigan University and said on his Facebook page he wants to make a difference for the city.

Christopher Dahl

He wants to “shake up the status quo.” He’s an advocate for disenfranchised residents and wants to stop the “corruption, favoritism, nepotism, and misspending” in local government.

D’Angelo Davis

He’s calling himself the people’s mayor and said he won’t do business as usual. “I have always and will continue to my last breath to fight and protect all of Chattanooga not just those at the top,” he said on his Facebook page.

Russell Gilbert Sr.

He’s served as a city council member since 2008. His website highlights his past work, such as implementing the Chattanooga disparity study  + the development of the police advisory and review committee

Chris Long

He says he’s tired of the “charade” at every election. He’s a business owner, not a professional politician, and wants to focus on managing the COVID-19 crisis, finding solutions to homelessness, and job creation through education, among other issues. 

Andrew McLaren

He’s advocating for more pay for firefighters and help for members of the homeless community and has more information, including videos, on his Facebook page

Robert C. Wilson

He wants to deal with potholes, work to eliminate food deserts, and strengthen early education programs + sell the Scenic City as a “slice of heaven.”  

City council candidates 

We aggregated this information based on candidates’ websites + news articles. 

District 1 

Chip Henderson (incumbent): Currently serving as the chairman, Henderson has also served in other council leadership positions since 2014. 

District 2 

Tim Gorman: A Chattanooga resident since 1997, Gorman has served in leadership positions, managed major projects + multi-million dollar budgets. He wants to invest in infrastructure, follow best practices, and put people over things. 

Jenny Hill: She owns local business Papercut Interactive, which is a 19-year-old tech company who wants a shared vision for the city, strong infrastructure, well-paying jobs, quality early childhood education + safe communities. 

Thomas Lee: He’s lived in Chattanooga for 28 years and is a small business owner who wants safer, stronger neighborhoods, infrastructure investment + a focus on economic development. 

District 3 

Ken Smith (Incumbent): He’s served in several council leadership positions since 2017. He wants a focus on community, public safety + roads.

Rachael Torrence: She’s running on a platform of “individual liberty for all” and to build small businesses by focusing on a freer market. 

District 4

Darrin Ledford (incumbent): He’s served on council since 2017 + is an entrepreneur and advocates for a fiscally conservative approach to government. His priorities include improving the city’s infrastructure and fostering responsible economic growth.

Bill Lloyd: He believes candidates should proactively help those in crisis, wants to improve the city’s transportation system, and end divisiveness when discussing issues. 

District 5

Dennis Clark: He wants to advance public education, provide equal funds for each district, reform police practices, and wants development without gentrification and displacement. 

Isiah Hester: He’s a pastor who wants a focus on public education and public safety. He doesn’t believe in defunding the police, but instead wants diversity training at all levels. He also wants to raise the city minimum wage to $15/hour by 2023. 

Alan “AJ” Holman Sr.: His vision for the district is to improve adequate housing accessibility, to get more job training for the community + education improvement through enhancing wifi and tutorial access. 

Leanne M. Jones: She wants to bridge the gap in communication between constituents and leaders + supports a $15-minimum wage for city workers. She’s an advocate for issues like more funding at Youth and Family Development centers to promote community wellbeing.  

Cynthia G. Stanley-Cash: “My vision as your city council elected representative is one of unity, inclusion, and transparency. I will pledge unity by working with you and all elected city, county, and state representatives for the betterment of our district, city, and our state.”

District 6

Carol Berz (incumbent): She’s unchallenged and has been a General Civil and Family mediator and trainer for more than 25 years. She also has served as the Chair for the Budget & Finance Committee. 

District 7

Raquetta Dotley: She wants to focus on economic development and infrastructure + transportation improvements. She also wants to work toward neighborhood equity, fostering inclusion.

Ken Hays: Quality education, strong neighborhoods, and economic development + equity are his top priorities. He wants to work with everyone in the district to ensure progress gets to each door. 

District 8

D’Andre Anderson: Equitable housing availability, boosting small businesses, and sustainable communities that have quality public safety are all priorities.

Anthony Byrd (incumbent): If re-elected, Byrd plans to “work for continued improvement in the city’s approach to homelessness, city employee wages, policing, trades, affordable housing, neighborhood funding, and better infrastructure so that all citizens can be proud of their communities.”

Marie Mott: This local activist said she will focus on quality affordable housing, leveraging business and technology to provide more opportunities + she supports reallocating a portion of the police budget to other “vital” city services. 

District 9

Demetrus Coonrod (Incumbent): Criminal justice reform, early childhood education, economic development + COVID-19 recovery are top priorities for this incumbent. 

Scott Kelvin: High-quality education programs + apprenticeship opportunities, closing the economic disparities gap through investment in infrastructure and programs, and overhauling offender education are all on his list of priorities.