By Kaleigh Cortez, News Editor –
Chattanooga’s remaining mayoral candidates debated prior to the runoff election on April 13.
UTC alum Kim White and former UTC adjunct professor Tim Kelly received 29 and 30 percent of the vote respectively, the highest total vote counts out of the pool of 15 original candidates.
The close results from the first election on March 2 prompted the runoff campaign that will allow citizens to vote early until April 8.
Candidates covered topical subjects during the debate moderated by Ray Bassett, host of WUTC’s Scenic Roots, and presented by WTCI-PBS and WUTC 88.1 FM.
The first question posed by Bassett dealt with the candidate’s plans for Covid relief and how they plan to use the $39.8 million in funding.
Kelly answered first, citing his plans to aid in the growing issue of homelessness and affordable housing. He also commented that the effects of the pandemic were “disproportionately impactful on low income and communities of color.”
The candidates were questioned on how they will ensure diversity within their mayoral team.
“We’re committed not only to have an administration that looks like the community, we want an administration that thinks like the community,” White said.
Alongside the question of diversity, Kelly and White were asked for their opinions on policing in Chattanooga.
Kelly said he hopes the “Chattanooga Police Department restores trust in the community rather than a military force over the community.”
The candidates were also questioned on their plans to combat the homelessness epidemic, affordable housing and poverty, and how they plan to improve economic development, early childhood education and the job market in Chattanooga.
For more information on the candidates, UTC’s Student Government Association questionnaires can be found here for Tim Kelly or here for Kim White. For more information about voting times, locations, first-time voting information, and registration visit UTC Votes 2021.