Cooper: Chattanooga, Hamilton County elected leaders' vaccine choices show a city, county not of one mind

Staff File Photo / Chattanooga City Councilman Anthony Byrd, hugging Judge Clarence Shattuck after being sworn in for a second term earlier his year, based his vaccine hesitation on a shameful government experiment on a group of black men in Alabama that ended nearly 50 years ago.

The answers by Chattanooga City Council and Hamilton County Commission members last week to a Times Free Press question as to whether they had taken the COVID-19 vaccine paint, not surprisingly, a picture of the wider community and country.

The answers ranged from "follow the science" to, in essence, mind your own business.

What each individual chose to do also varied across gender, racial and political lines. Their answers proved who chooses to get vaccinated is not as cut and dried as the national media pretends.

Republicans on the two bodies - the city council is officially nonpartisan - both advocated the vaccine and were hesitant or chose not to respond. Democrats were both for it and were skeptical about it.

One commission member - Randy Fairbanks - and four city council members - Demetrus Coonrod, Raquetta Dotley, Darrin Ledford and Ken Smith - did not respond.