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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger speaks during a press conference about the coronavirus (COVID-19) at the McDaniel Building on Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

My job serves two purposes: explaining government to people and explaining people to government. Both of those are more important now than ever.

In this unprecedented situation, powers that be — city council, county commission, health department and others — are walking uncharted territory to balance regular operations, procedural rules and public safety. As big decisions are made quickly, there will be both flubs and feats in trying to keep people safe from the novel coronavirus while minimizing impact on our daily lives.

That makes it increasingly important to have someone watching them to explain what changes are being made and what precautions need to be taken, but to also have someone in the room (perhaps only metaphorically) making sure that the interests of all people are being considered by those calling the shots.

So while our day-to-day reality changes, please know that I take my role of keeping you informed extremely seriously, and that won't change.

Help me help you: If there's something you need to know, drop me a line at staylor@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416.

— Sarah Grace Taylor, city/county reporter

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