Sohn: Chattanooga has challenge, opportunity for new City Council

Staff File Photo / The mayor and next mayor and current and future Chattanooga City Councils — who meet at City Hall — could determine what part race and gender should play in awarding city contracts.

Chattanooga has a strong mayor form of government, but we've seen over the years that our nine-member city council has plenty of sway - sometimes helpful and sometimes not.

Each district's council member represents thousands of residents in communities ranging from Mountain Creek, Alton Park, East Brainerd and East Lake to the hundreds of neighborhoods sprawled across our 144.6 square miles.

In this election season, only two incumbent council members - Chip Henderson, a general contractor, in District 1, and Carol Berz, a legal mediator, in District 6, - are running unopposed. Henderson represents Moccasin Bend and parts of Hixson, Lookout Valley, Mountain Creek and Northwoods. Berz represents Brainerd, the airport area, Brainerd Hills, and parts of Concord, Ooltewah, Summit and Tyner.

Another four incumbents face opposition in the March 2 election, and three seats are open - one due to a retirement and two others because the incumbents are seeking election as mayor.