Photo by Dewayne Bingham
By Regina Baker, Assistant News Editor-
As the end of the mayoral election approaches, the top two candidates are only separated by a 1 percent vote. Chattanooga has not seen an election like this one since 2005.
Kelly received 30 percent of the vote while White received 29 percent; the city has not seen a race this close in a decade. With such a close vote, the city of Chattanooga decided the candidates will be participating in the runoff election.
Both candidates that have made it to the runoff are involved with UTC in one way or another.
Kelly was an adjunct professor for the University, while White graduated in 182, and is now an alumni. Each candidate stated how much the University means to them and what their goals are to build the city.
The growth of the city is a priority for many graduates. Without development and jobs, UTC students will have to leave the city to make a living upon graduation.
Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Jim Hicks stated how he thinks either candidate elected will benefit Chattanooga and UTC.
“Both candidates’ campaigns have been very positive. They highlighted how to fix issues. They said what they wanted to do and focused on Chattanooga. There is a huge benefit to both candidates being involved with UTC, community and university engagement is very important. Because of previous relationships with the University, there is an open door for communication.”
Chattanooga resident and UTC student Jannat Saeed spoke about her experience and how local voting is very important for the community.
“With student voting, I think it was unique in the sense I was able to go meet with some of the mayoral candidates and ask about their views regarding a better student relationship with Chattanooga,” Saeed said. “I have always been interested in law and politics, local included. I was able to use my voice in the 2020 presidential election and I realized that there were so many little things here and there that the average voter doesn’t realize. It brought me to my conclusion that in order to make a lasting impact you have to start small, local.”
Through this election, both candidates have addressed issues within the city such as lack of school funding, Black and Hispanic inequality, and economic recovery. While each candidate has different changes in mind, they both have the same end goal of building the City of Chattanooga.
Senior sociology major Ashley Ferrell mentioned what she has seen while living in Chattanooga that should be focused on and changed.
“Being here since freshman year I have noticed things I would like to see fixed such as helping build stronger initiatives to find housing for low-income/homeless citizens,” Ferrell said. “I think as students we see the city in a different perspective as well and not only are we voicing our minds on campus but we are carrying over some of those changes we want to see in local government.”
For more information about voting times, locations, first-time voting information and registration, visit UTC Votes 2021.