By Herman Wang Staff Writer
Four candidates, Quenston Coleman, Eric A. Colen Sr., Debbie Gaines and Edward L. Williams Sr., are running to fill the open Chattanooga City Council seat for District 9.
The district includes precincts in Amnicola, Avondale, Bushtown, East Chattanooga, Eastdale, Glenwood, Highland Park and Missionary Ridge. The seat became open after former Councilman Yusuf Hakeem resigned Jan. 23 to accept an appointment by Gov. Phil Bredesen to the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole.
Voters will select his replacement May 2. The term expires in 2009.
Mr. Coleman, 53, is a probation officer with the state of Tennessee. He graduated from Tennessee Prep School in Nashville in 1970 and attended Tennessee Tech University. He is the PTA president at Barger Academy and Chattanooga Middle and High schools and is a volunteer project director for the Alton Park/Piney Woods Neighborhood Improvement Corp.
"I think the district needs somebody with a vision for the betterment of the city and a commitment to the needs of the neighborhood," Mr. Coleman said. "I want to continue the progress that we have made to create some jobs, improve the standard of living and provide the necessary infrastructure for growth and development."
Mr. Colen, 49, is a retired Army major and a past president of the Glenwood Neighborhood Association. He graduated from Brainerd High School in 1974 and East Tennessee State University in 1978. He said his key issues include education, senior citizen services and crime, particularly among black youths. He also said he would focus on ethics if elected.
"I think it's time we put leadership and ethics back into the city and the council," Mr. Colen said. "I'm a proven leader, and that's from my military background. I feel I am beyond reproach, and I define moral character."
Ms. Gaines, 51, retired this past November as the legislative administrator in the Hamilton County Commission office, a position she had held since 1999. She had worked for the Hamilton County government since 1978. Ms. Gaines graduated from Brainerd High School in 1972 and attended McKenzie College. She said she would address crime issues and work to get a neighborhood grocery store.
"I'm running because of my concerns to move the community forward as far as revitalization and economic development," Ms. Gaines said. "I'm also interested in youth programs. I have the experience and the interests of the community and people at heart."
Mr. Williams, 43, is a Chattanooga native who owns Mobile Tek Furniture and Rentals. He graduated from Kirkman Technical High School in 1980.
In a faxed statement, he said he is running "to enhance the quality of life for our citizens" and would work to provide more community centers for children, improve services for the elderly and clean up neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, the City Council still is accepting applications from those who wish to serve as District 9's interim representative until the May 2 election. The council will make its appointment Tuesday but first will interview interested candidates at 3 p.m. Monday.
The deadline to file a letter of interest to the council clerk is 4:30 p.m. Monday.
E-mail Herman Wang at firstname.lastname@example.org
AT A GLANCE
District 9 City Council candidates:
Eric A. Colen
Edward L. Williams Sr.