Hamilton County Commissioner David Sharpe will run for re-election to the county's District 6 seat this year, he announced Wednesday.
Sharpe, 45, a Democrat from Red Bank, was first elected in 2018 and is the second candidate to enter the race behind Republican Ruth Jeno, according to the Hamilton County Election Commission. Only Jeno had returned her qualifying petitions as of Thursday.
"What we really need in Hamilton County to look forward to are better schools, great jobs and leaders in office that look to the future and not to the past, and I think that's what I bring to the conversation," Sharpe said after Wednesday's commission meeting.
If re-elected, Sharpe said a priority would be to invest further in schools, particularly to build up infrastructure.
"I think there are certainly some schools that are completely outdated and inefficient to run, so investing in our physical facilities is a way to find efficiencies in the system," he said.
In addition, he said the county has to "get ahold of" other infrastructure issues such as the wastewater treatment system - which he said has been neglected for four decades - and roads.
In his first term, Sharpe said his biggest achievements include working to consolidate the county's jails into the Silverdale Detention Center, which he said has improved the inmates' experience while saving taxpayer money.
In addition, despite acknowledging more work needs to be done, he noted the county has increased its investments into classrooms and teachers alike during his tenure in office.
Before joining the commission, Sharpe served on Chattanooga's 21st Century Riverfront Steering Committee. He also served as co-chair of the Southern Brewers Festival.
After commissioners passed a new 11-district map to replace the former nine-district map in the redistricting process required by the 2020 U.S. Census in November, District 6 lost the entirety of Lookout Mountain and Lookout Valley.
The district also lost Southside-area neighborhoods in Chattanooga, although it now includes the entirety of Red Bank, rather than just a portion of it.
The 2022 primary election will be May 3.
Candidates must return qualifying petitions to the elections commission by Feb. 17, and they have until Feb. 24 to withdraw from the race.
Contact Logan Hullinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-319-5158. Follow him on Twitter @LoganHullinger.