A Chattanooga We Can All Believe In
I believe Chattanooga can be a stronger, more just city — a place where the color of our skin, where we’re from, our gender or whom we love does not change our access to opportunity.
Right now, mid-pandemic, Chattanooga is hurting. But as we weather this storm together, we will start to build back a city that works for everyone. As Mayor, my first priority will be to protect the health and well-being of Chattanoogans. I will work with experts and community leaders in the creation of a COVID Response and Recovery plan that will ensure we:
- Partner with Hamilton County and local stakeholders to maintain widespread testing and ensure access to a vaccine for all residents.
- Support the ongoing health and financial needs of the essential workers on the frontlines
- Strengthen relationships with local, state, and federal leadership to guarantee Chattanooga’s share of recovery funds and ensure a more unified response to the pandemic.
- Provide resources and assist small businesses and nonprofits so that they are able to continue supporting our community
- Advocate for stronger, clearer regulations to protect the health of Chattanoogans and our economy.
Despite Chattanooga’s economic growth, many residents have been locked out of opportunity. Too many of our employers struggle to hire for jobs, while too many of our residents struggle to find jobs that pay enough to support their families. I believe we can bridge this skills gap today and build the workforce we need to sustain economic growth in the future, so that all Chattanoogans have access to quality jobs. Economic inclusion and recovery will be my priority from day one, and I will:
- Build a comprehensive talent strategy for Chattanooga: partner with employers, schools, and community organizations to create job training programs and apprenticeships in high-demand industries so all residents have clear pathways to good jobs.
- Lift up the City as a model for equitable workforce development and build talent pipelines that provide access for local students to access careers in local government
- Ensure Chattanooga continues to leverage its core assets—world-class outdoor amenities and low-cost, high-speed internet—to attract workers and employers in the post-COVID economy.
- Streamline the range of business services across Chattanooga, so everyone, from first-time entrepreneurs to long-time business owners, are able to quickly and easily access the support they need to grow their businesses.
- End discriminatory contracting processes and increase outreach and support, to engage more small businesses, especially minority and women-owned with the City.
Chattanooga boasts nearly 100 distinct neighborhoods, and they each contribute their thread to the fabric of the city we call home. Every neighborhood deserves safe and convenient access to restaurants and grocery stores, parks and open spaces, multiple transit options, and critical services that connect residents with opportunities. We also must support a range of different housing types that meet the diverse needs of residents and their budgets. This includes access to safe, quality affordable housing. The essence of our city is defined by the character of its neighborhoods, and to support each and everyone, I will:
- Engage residents, neighborhood associations, business owners, developers and community organizations to identify critical neighborhood projects and investments that increase quality of life and access to opportunities
- Improve efficient transit access between neighborhoods and critical employment, educational, and commercial centers.
- Leverage City resources to help grow small, locally-owned businesses in neighborhoods.
- Partner with developers and community organizations to create an additional 2,000 affordable housing units and an affordable housing unit tracker, while leveraging smarter housing policies and resources like our Land Bank, housing trust, and a new Housing Commission to ensure more investment in affordable housing over the long-term.
- Commit to creating a vibrant Downtown that is welcoming to tourists and to all Chattanoogans. Revitalize and activate public spaces and address the growing issue of building vacancies in our urban core.
- Increase funding for paving and technology to ensure our streets and sidewalks reflect the pride we have in our communities.
Every child in Chattanooga deserves an equal chance at the American Dream. We know that investing in early childhood education is the most impactful way to create bright futures for our children and guarantee working families have the support they need. When children thrive in Chattanooga, we all thrive. In order guarantee opportunity for every child in Chattanooga, I will:
- Develop an early childhood voucher program to assist working families in accessing high-quality early learning programs for children under five.
- Embrace the City’s role in the education of our children, by fully partnering with Hamilton County Schools to provide transportation, after school and summer learning opportunities, and support for student success plans to meet the needs of all students.
- Invest in youth and family centers as essential community hubs that go beyond recreation, with greater access to job training and critical city services.
- Ensure the City leads by example and engages other employers in supporting family-friendly workplace policies such as paid parental leave.
We must embrace the diversity of Chattanooga to build a truly welcoming and inclusive community—a place not just where your voice will be heard, but your ideas will be woven into the fabric of the community we call home. We must appreciate the value of each Chattanooga to guarantee all residents—no matter where we come from, where we live, our gender, the color of our skin, or who we love—feel that we belong and know we have a role to play in making this city better. I will:
- Create an Office of Equity and Engagement that will embed inclusive practices across City departments and in the delivery of services to all Chattanoogans.
- Utilize performance data to identify racial, gender, and other disparities in City-led services and impact.
- Ensure the City models inclusion and diversity practices for all of Chattanooga by developing and supporting more inclusive practices across City departments from hiring, business support, contracting, community development and public safety.
- Create continuous opportunities for community organizations and residents to share their ideas and work together to build a stronger Chattanooga.
No matter what we look like or where we live, we all deserve to feel safe in our communities. We can come together to create a Chattanooga with a shared vision for public safety—one where we can say Black lives matter while still appreciating the important role law enforcement plays in our community, because we believe in both civil rights and civil order. We must have conversations that are uncomfortable, conversations about race and inequity that address issues related to trust and trauma, and conversations about actions we can take to create change. To bring about transformation, I will:
- Work with residents, community groups, and our police department, to create a unified approach to public safety by creating a city-wide and neighborhood public safety strategy
- Prioritize the role social services and other interventions play in public safety to ensure our law enforcement officers do not carry an unfair burden and provide the services Chattanoogans truly need.
- Engage community members and expand the impact of the police oversight committee that ensures transparency and builds trust.
- Communicate ongoing performance data to the public about the status of crime, arrests, department workload, and safety of our officers.
- Along with other City personnel, evaluate firefighter, police, and emergency services pay to guarantee the City remains competitive for retaining and recruiting high performing talent.
- Commit to addressing the root causes of crime, ranging from a lack of economic opportunity or to access to mental health services.
- Work with community stakeholders to create a re-entry strategy to assist individuals released after paying their debt to society.