published Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Most Chattanooga City Council members are planning to run again


by Cliff Hightower

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CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS


• District 1: Deborah Scott

• District 2: Sally Robinson

• District 3: Pam Ladd

• District 4: Jack Benson

• District 5: Russell Gilbert

• District 6: Carol Berz

• District 7: Manny Rico

• District 8: Andraé McGary

• District 9: Peter Murphy

Most of the nine Chattanooga City Council members say they want to stay in their posts and plan to run in the March 2013 city election.

One exception is District 8 Councilman Andraé McGary, who is running in the Democratic primary for state Senate.

And District 4 Councilman Jack Benson still is making up his mind. With 11 years on the council, the 82-year-old former principal and teacher is the senior member. Benson said he is feeling good and believes he could make another run for the office.

"Presently, I am," he said. "I could change my mind."

The seven other council members all confirmed that they will run, saying they wanted to continue improving programs and services in their districts. Chairwoman Pam Ladd is considering a run for mayor. She said if she decides not to take on that challenge, she will be a candidate for the District 3 seat again.

"I would like to remain a player at the table," she said.

Most members came to the council three years ago as new faces. District 6 Councilwoman Carol Berz and District 5 Councilman Russell Gilbert were voted in during special elections. McGary and District 1 Councilwoman Deborah Scott beat incumbents to get into office. Ladd and District 9 Councilman Peter Murphy ran for open seats.

District 2 Councilwoman Sally Robinson was elected with Benson and District 7's Manny Rico in 2005.

Berz said she wants to stay on to see the fruition of Brainerd's revitalization. Projects pending include a new library branch and the proposed greening of Brainerd Road.

"I want to stay and be part of it," she said.

Rico said he can "still make a difference."

Robinson said she loves the job and wants to do it "as best as I can as long as I can."

Scott, Murphy and Gilbert all said they have more to accomplish within their districts.

"While I haven't accomplished everything I wanted to do, I still think I've done some good for my district," Scott said.

Gilbert said he's running again for the same reason he sought office in the first place.

"It's to help people who have no voice," he said.

Murphy said he still wants to focus on public safety and also wants to see the widening of Wilcox Tunnel.

"I think I've got unfinished business in the 9th District," he said.

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