published Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Five new faces on Chattanooga City Council

Pam Ladd, 52

* Vocation: Owner Custom Custodial Inc.

* District: 3

* Goals: We need to resolve a hot-button issue in Hixson, which is the best use of old Hixson School Property.

* Biggest challenge: Budget. We've got great ideas and things that need to happen, and we have a money crunch.

* Favorite book: Bible

* Biggest political inspiration: My Chattanooga Leadership Class 1999

Russell J. Gilbert Sr., 49

* Vocation: Food Service Director, Parkridge Medical Center.

* District: 5

* Goals: To revitalize the Highway 58 plan to fit the ideals of the community and businesses. To give opportunity for youth to develop their skills in business at Brainerd Center.

* Biggest challenge: To make sure that Chattanooga does not get drastically hit by the recession. Make sure we are spending money where it should be spent.

* Favorite book: Bible

* Favorite quote: Proverbs 3:5,6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

* Biggest political inspiration: Colin Powell and Barack Obama

Deborah S. Scott, 55

* Vocation: Retired nurse practitioner (nurse educator and manager).

* District: 1

* Goals: To make sound fiscal decisions during a difficult economic climate. To promote accountability and transparency for the actions of local government.

* Biggest challenge: Overcoming inertia to promote this concept: We (government) should live within our means to delay additional financial burdens for residents.

* Favorite book: Bible

* Favorite quote: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

* Biggest political inspiration: Abraham Lincoln

Andrae Rennie McGary, 29

* Vocation: Educator

* District: 8

* Goals: Partner with community associations to enact community plans, streamline budget process, learn fellow council members.

* Biggest challenge: trying to create a 32-hour day (even 25).

* Favorite book: Bible

* Favorite quote: My mother, "Be an example."

* Biggest political inspiration: President Barack Obama

Peter B. Murphy, 36

* Vocation: Attorney

* District: 9

* Goals: Make our neighborhoods safe, leverage resources in district for economic expansion, do the will of my constituents.

* Biggest challenge: To make things happen yesterday; and to position the district to take advantage of opportunities in a quick and nimble way.

* Favorite book: "All the King's Men"

* Favorite quote: "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address.

* Biggest political inspiration: My children, wife and larger family.

The nine-member Chattanooga City Council has five new members. They are Pam Ladd, Russell Gilbert Sr., Andrae McGary, Deborah Scott and Peter Murphy. Mr. Gilbert began serving in November and the others in the spring.

One of the newest members is also the youngest. Mr. McGary is 29 years old. He defeated Leamon Pierce, who served on the council since 1990.

Mr. McGary and his wife, Cheryl, moved to Chattanooga in 2002. He is a theology professor and said he had no political aspirations until his wife suggested he should get involved with cleaning up their neighborhood in Orchard Knob.

"I was a good guy, basically, who went to work, came home, kissed my wife and kids," Mr. McGary said. "At first, I told her that I was not interested, and I went on being a good guy."

Mrs. McGary would not be deterred, however. Eventually, Mr. McGary began attending neighborhood meetings and soon was elected president of the association. Members began urging him to run for council, and Mr. McGary said he started attending the weekly council meetings to get an idea of how things operate.

"Two things struck me," he said. "First, there was no one under 40." He said the previous council was diverse racially and in terms of gender, but not by age.

The second thing that he noticed was that some members had served for a long time. "I wondered if we were getting their best," he said.

Being relatively new to town in politics is a positive, Mr. McGary said.

"I have not been co-opted by anyone or anything."

He said he also believes Chattanooga is on the verge of a renaissance and that the relatively high number of new council members is a reflection of that.

"I think it is indicative of the change that is coming, and I'm very excited to be a part of it," he said.

new city council members

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about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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