ABOUT THE CANDIDATE
• Name: Chris Anderson
• Age: 31
• Profession: Food and beverage director at Bluff View Art District
• Education: Attended University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Middle Tennessee State University, did not obtain degree
Chris Anderson, director of food and beverage at the Bluff View Art District, thinks his City Council district needs someone better to look after its needs.
That's why he announced Thursday he will run for the District 7 City Council seat now held by Manny Rico.
"I don't feel the district currently has the representation that really reflects the district," Anderson said.
He said the 7th District has changed drastically, with more people moving in and new borders because of redistricting. The district now encompasses almost all of downtown and the Westside.
Anderson is the first person to publicly announce a run for a City Council seat, though state Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, said Tuesday he will run for Chattanooga mayor.
The mayoral and council election is March 2013.
Anderson lives in Jefferson Heights and is a longtime state Democratic Party volunteer. He is a Democratic executive committeeman in state Senate District 10, and he worked in former Gov. Phil Bredesen's election campaign in 2002.
Anderson said he will run on a platform of safe streets, good jobs and strong neighborhoods. He said there a growing gang problem in the district needs to be addressed in a variety of ways, including creating jobs in the inner city.
"It can't be the military or Burger King," he said. "It has to be a livable wage."
For instance, he said, there needs to be public transportation or even light rail from the inner city to Enterprise South industrial park, where jobs at Volkswagen and other companies may be available.
Joda Thongnopnua, an Anderson supporter, said he was persuaded by Anderson's plans on sustainable growth and safety. Thongnopnua works downtown, so he wants to feel safe.
"I believe he has a vision for Chattanooga that works," Thongnopnua said. "We need a plan for sustainable growth in Chattanooga, a plan to protect our environment, and a plan for a smart budget that understands where this city is going."
One of the largest issues in District 7 is talk of a new mixed-used community in Westside. Purpose Built, an Atlanta nonprofit, is talking with the city and the Chattanooga Housing Authority about a possible development in an area that now is home to several senior high-rises and College Hill Courts public housing complex.
Anderson said t any development needs to be done with "compassion," especially with public housing, and new housing provided for displaced residents.
"A one-to-one swap seems to be the best thing to do," he said.
He will officially kick off his campaign at 5:30 p.m. May 23 with a reception at the Camp House.