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20 Under 40: Latricia Thomas

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Latricia Thomas


Managing editor and evening anchor for WTVC NewsChannel 9; board member for Chattanooga Down Syndrome Society; named 2018 Community Mother of the Year by the Tennessee Justice Center; mother to Lila, Lawson and Avett.

What's your anthem or theme song?

"9 to 5," by Dolly Parton.

If you were a musician, what would your stage or band name be?

Momma Tried (but really needed a nap).

If you were starting a band, who from your life would you pick to be in it and why?

If you saw dinnertime at my house, you'd know we already have an experienced band. Between my 6- and 3-year-old and now newborn baby, we are equally as likely to be singing "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," "Boogie Shoes" or "The Wiggles." My husband, Charlie, is an excellent guitar player and set list coordinator.

Which member of the band would you be?

A little bit lead singer, a little bit manager, but definitely the one who makes sure there is a fiddle break somewhere in the middle to keep it interesting.

If you achieved rock star status, what would you hope it would be for?

Increasing the amount of inclusion in Hamilton County Schools for children with special needs. I've been working with the Chattanooga Inclusive Education and Opportunities Committee to do just that, but there's still a long way to go. I believe that, for many years, the majority of schools in Hamilton County have preferred to educate differently-abled students in a separate environment, but these students deserve better. They shouldn't be an afterthought, but deserve the same considerations as ALL students.

Random green room demand?

McDonald's french fries, margaritas, and Chewy SweeTARTS (only the red ones).

Who are your top influencers (not necessarily musically)?

My dad, who passed way after a 9-year battle with cancer. He believed in fighting for justice in an unfair world, speaking up even when it was hard, and showing love even when it was undeserved.

Which musical style best describes your personality?

A little bit folk, a little bit classic rock 'n' roll, and a twang of country.

Who would write the soundtrack to your life and why?

The Avett Brothers! We love them so much we named our new baby Avett, but they might need a little help from Dolly Parton and Mumford and Sons.

First album you bought for yourself?

Debbie Gibson's "Electric Youth" — on cassette tape no less.

If you could change one thing about Chattanooga, what would it be?

I wish there were more opportunities for children with special needs to find high-quality after-school and summer care alongside their typical peers. Having now two children with Down syndrome, I know what a major need this is for our community. My daughter loved her time at Siskin but there just aren't any similar options after preschool.

To what cause would you donate the proceeds from your first benefit concert?

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is doing groundbreaking medical research on conditions that people with Down syndrome are more likely to fight. By studying the link between the 21st chromosome and diseases like Alzheimer's and leukemia, there is great potential to find new treatment options for the entire population. Traveling to Washington, D.C., last year to advocate to Congress for more funding for this specific medical research was one of the greatest opportunities I've received.