Your guide to the 2017 Chattanooga city election
On March 7th, 2017, registered voters in Chattanooga will head to the polls to decide who will best represent them in city government.
Voters will decide who will be their mayor and city council member for the next four years.
Below is a list of the candidates and ways to contact their campaigns.
Andy Berke (incumbent)
- Interview with Hannah Lawrence
- Campaign website
- Campaign Facebook page
- Mayoral Facebook page
- Mayoral Twitter page
- YouTube page
Coming soon: Contact info & social media page links to the candidates for Chattanooga City Council.
MAYORAL CANDIDATES - BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
The following biographical information was provided to NewsChannel 9 by each of the Chattanooga mayoral candidates.
"Andy was born on March 31, 1968 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Marvin and Kandy Berke.
Andy’s grandfather, Harry, founded a local law practice in Chattanooga aimed at representing and helping Tennesseans. From assisting someone who was discriminated against for his military service to talking to someone who just needed some advice, the Berke family law practice worked to make someone's life better. Growing up in a family devoted to solving problems for individuals, Andy learned the value of helping others while giving back to and improving one’s community.
After graduating with honors from Stanford University in 1990, Andy worked as a legislative assistant in the office of Tennessee Congressman Bart Gordon. Seeing Congressman Gordon's attentiveness to his constituents' needs, Andy decided public service was where he could best serve his community.
Andy graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School in 1994. Following law school, he worked as a law clerk for Judge Deanell Tacha of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Denver, Colorado. During this time he also taught at Kansas University Law School as an adjunct professor.
Elected to the State Senate in 2007 and re-elected to a second term in 2008, Andy became the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. He served on the Senate Education and Transportation Committees. In 2008, he was appointed by Governor Phil Bredesen to the State Workforce Development Board. In addition, the State Legislative Leaders Foundation nominated him to attend its Emerging Leaders Program at the Darden School at the University of Virginia Business School. He was honored by the Tennessee PTA as the 2012 Legislator of the Year and the Tennessee Education Association's 2012 Friend of Education Award for his commitment to improving public education across Tennessee. Previously, the County Officials Association of Tennessee had named him its legislator of the year, as had the Southeast Tennessee Development District. Lipscomb University's Institute for Sustainable Practice awarded him its Public Official of the Year.
He was elected Mayor of Chattanooga in March 2013 with over 72% of the electoral vote. Immediately following his inauguration, Mayor Berke streamlined government with a top to bottom reorganization that eliminating three departments and saved taxpayer dollars in the process. Since the reorganization, the Berke Administration has relentlessly focused on making Chattanooga streets safer, families stronger, growing middle class jobs, and using taxpayer dollars efficiently.
During the Mayor’s tenure, Chattanooga has seen a number of improvements in quality of life. Through a coordinated approach with the US attorney, the District Attorney, and law enforcement agencies, the City has seen a decrease in both property and violent crime. Since March of 2013, unemployment has dropped more than 2% and over 6,157 new jobs have come to the Chattanooga region. Not only is overall employment on the rise, foreclosure rates have decreased while Chattanooga had the third highest wage growth in the country for a mid-sized city in 2014.
To ensure that this wave of prosperity reaches everyone in Chattanooga, the Mayor has put forth an aggressive workforce development strategy and a number of programs aimed toward increasing economic mobility. In his 2nd State of the City address, Mayor Berke announced that the City would partner with the White House and area nonprofits to end chronic Veterans Homelessness by the end of 2016. Since then, more than 117 veterans have been housed in the Chattan While the City does not have authority over the School system, Mayor Berke has put a number of supports in place to help students reach their full potential. Through strategic investments in early childhood education, the City is working to make sure every student is prepared to learn when they enter kindergarten. In 2014, the City received a grant to fund 150 new early learning slots for 2 and 3 year olds. In addition, partnering with a local non-profit, the city has begun Baby University to help parents in need be a newborn child’s first teacher.
Under Mayor Berke’s leadership, Chattanooga has taken bold steps to further harness the unique advantage of having the fastest, cheapest, more pervasive internet in the Western Hemisphere. Following a robust public engagement process, Chattanooga established an Innovation District -- 140 acres in the heart of downtown that houses a catalytic mix of start-up businesses, incubators, and accelerators alongside investors and public amenities. In addition, the City has partnered with various nonprofits, businesses, and County Government to launch Tech Goes Home (TGH), a program recently honored for Digital Inclusion Leadership by the National League of Cities and Google. Through TGH, students and seniors receive practical training on how to use the internet safely. After nine weeks of courses, they are given the option to purchase a low cost Chromebook. To increase connectivity in the home, the City has partnered with EPB to offer a reliable, low-cost, high speed broadband connection to all families with a child on free or reduced lunch.
For these works, Mayor Berke was named Municipal Leader of the Year by American City and County magazine.
Andy is married to Monique Prado Berke. Andy and Monique have two daughters: Hannah, who is in 10th grade, and Orly, a 7th grader."
"Councilman Grohn spent the first 38 years of his life in San Antonio, TX. His parents were Anton Charles Grohn and Addie Shaw Grohn, both native Texans. He was the the younger of two sons.
Councilman Grohn has two sons, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, who live in Texas and Oklahoma. After spending 10 years as a single parent receiving custody when his children were 6 and 3, Councilman Grohn met and married his wife Army Major Carol Werschky Grohn (retired) in 1986.
In 1986 he returned to college full-time to pursue a second career as a secondary school teacher. He began teaching at the age of 42 after completing his undergraduate degree in History (University of Texas) and Master’s Degree in Education (University of Kansas). He was certified in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado, receiving umbrella certifications in science and social studies. During his career he has taught the following courses at the middle and high school levels: life science, mathematics, geography, U.S. history, world history, A.P. U.S. history, A.P. world history, economics, psychology, civics, chemistry, physics, earth science and geology.
Councilman Grohn and his wife Carol are active members of Stuart Heights Baptist Church.
Councilman Larry Grohn has been serving the City of Chattanooga as the councilman of District 4 since 2013. As a councilman he has pushed for inclusion for all and conservative principles concerning fiscal issues within our city."
"Meet Chris Long. Chris, a life-long Chattanoogan, is married, and has one son.
Chris understands the value of hard work, integrity, and loyalty. A thirty plus year small business owner, Chris has been a former builder, and personally helped to change the landscape for our city.
Chris wants to add integrity and honesty back to the mayors office in city hall. An expert in both commercial and residential construction, his passion lies within the economic redevelopment of our city where he will end the over-reaching local rainwater runoff fees that many of our builders experience when trying to develop outside the downtown area of Chattanooga.
An advocate of community groups partnered with local government to lower crime, he will work to end the ever increasing violent crime in our city by helping to end gang violence. Our current mayor's strategy to temper gang violence has simply been inept, and the problem not only continues to expand in the surrounding areas, but shows no current signs of being stopped. Chris will work to stop the senseless violence that threatens our entire community, and commits the mayors office and law enforcement to working with local communities to make our streets safer.
Above all Chris commits to bring honesty and integrity back into the mayors office. Chris pledges that corruption, immoral behavior, and a deaf ear to the communities needs ends when he gets elected. Although having never served as an elected official, he is uniquely qualified to respond to many of the communities problems based of his work experience with city government and the free market of being a local builder and architect consultant. Chris pledges to end the trappings of government favoritism for the select few, and an economic climate that is not open to every business and individual.
Please take the time to read Chris' comprehensive viewpoints and plans for our great city under the Issues tab on this site. There are so many solutions that he would like to address, and we believe that you will agree as with many things in life, our problems and solutions are inter-related in many areas. For example relieving the excessive storm water runoff fees will increase development in areas other than downtown; development creates jobs and a greater hope and opportunity for our citizens. Developing more affordable housing creates housing opportunities for everyone, not just our lower-income citizens, but homes for all our citizens including our middle-class. New businesses create a stronger tax base for our local government to operate, and as our citizens become more vested in our community, the communities themselves become more engaged in the expansion of jobs and revenue. His diversion plan promotes jobs within the community, and better personal opportunity for the individual himself at creating a life of purpose. Gang violence reduction will not only promote a safer community for everyone, but will encourage growth in all areas of Chattanooga!
Our decision for mayor is one of the important candidate decisions you'll make for the next few decades. It determines the direction for our city as our children and grandchildren become good young citizens, and grow to become leaders themselves. Character does matter. Our city deserves better. Vote for Chris Long for Mayor, and bring our city back to the voiceless citizens."
"David Crockett, a former three-term City Council member and Council Chairman who became widely known as a driving force in Chattanooga’s renaissance in the previous two decades, is preparing to run for the mayor’s seat in the next city election.
His long-term, creative role in the city’s transformation includes many of the cities greatest success stories including the greenways, Greenway Farm, the Southside redevelopment, the Volunteer Site [Enterprise South] and the initiation of the High-Speed Rail 30-minute connection to Atlanta.
While nurturing a young family and a job with IBM, he helped jumpstart the city’s largest neighborhood association collaborative [H.E.L.P.] in Hixson that led to Chattanooga’s first community visioning and area plan. That led to his activist role in support of other early community-planning initiatives across the city starting with Glenwood and including the Chattanooga Creek neighborhoods in South Chattanooga.
Before leaving the City Council and since then Crockett has remained a noted advocate for higher goals for the rebirth of Chattanooga and other cities. He has spoken in and worked with cities, universities and economic development groups in nearly every state and Canadian province as well as a number of other international cities. The national press has referred to him as a “practical visionary for cities”."