Chattanooga developer Greg Vital said today he plans to run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Andy Berke.
Vital, a 56-year-old president of Independent Healthcare Properties LLC in Collegedale, said he plans to file his papers next week to run as a Republican primary in August for the 10th Senate district.
"I waited until Andy (Berke) made his decision (not to run again), looked at the map and decided to run for what will be an open seat newly created because of redistricting," Vital said. "Half the district is in Hamilton County and half is in Bradley County and I think I can do an excellent job having been in both districts."
Vital said the new 10th Senate district leans Republican and he can bring a fresh business perspective to the Legislature.
Vital is a former executive for Life Care Centers of America in Cleveland who started building assisted living centers, nursing homes and other senior housing projects in 1986.
"We've built Independent Healthcare and Morning Pointe from one employee to almost 800 employees at 20 locations in five states," he said. "My platform is about jobs, jobs. I think I have the experience in business and getting Hamilton and Bradley counties to work together to create a regional balance between jobs and quality of life that contributes to people moving here, living here and working here."
Vital was elected to the Collegedale City Commission in 1979 for a 4-year term and served as a board member for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority from 1983 to 1989. He has also worked to support the creation of the Moccasin Bend National Park and is on the Chattanooga Leadership Council for the Trust for Public Land.
"I think our Legislature needs practical business people who understand what it takes to build a company, make a payroll, figure out the regulatory environment and strike a balance with conservation and preservation of our heritage," he said.
Vital said he thinks he will be a stronger candidate than state Rep. Vince Dean, who previously indicated his desire to run for the open Senate seat.
"Vince is a nice guy who has done well in the House, but that doesn't merit his elevation to the Senate," Vital said.