John Kerns

John L. Kerns has announced he will seek the District 9 seat on Chattanooga's City Council in the March 9 election.

The Highland Park resident said in a news release he hopes to offer "new energy to voters in our district, as well as leadership that listens on City Council."

The district represents East Chattanooga, Eastdale, Glenwood, Missionary Ridge and Ridgedale.

Kerns' release said his campaign "will focus on four main issues: Crime reduction, closing Chattanooga's opportunity gap, creating the Smartest City in the South, and ensuring that Chattanooga remains the Scenic City for generations to come."

He said Chattanooga "has done some great things in the last 20 years, but that success hasn't touched every neighborhood, or benefited every taxpayer, like it should."

Kerns owns Preferred Care at Home, providing in-home care for senior citizens. He said the business has 75 employees and was a finalist for the Chattanooga Hamilton County Small Business of the Year award in 2015.

On the Preferred Care website, Kerns says he grew up in Greeneville, Tenn., and attended the University of Tennessee.

His release said he and his wife, Sara, moved to Chattanooga in 2009. He is active in the Highland Park Neighborhood Association, is a graduate of Leadership Chattanooga and serves as vice chairman of the board for Welcome Home of Chattanooga, which provides end-of-life care for the needy.

Kerns said his campaign kickoff will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Archway Building, 2523 Glass St.

He is the sixth candidate to announce for the nonpartisan District 9 seat.

Incumbent Yusuf Hakeem has qualified for re-election. Pat Benson Jr., who lives on North Crest Road, also has filed qualifying papers.

Businessman J.T. McDaniel, of Glenwood Avenue; Demetrus Coonrod, of Tunnel Boulevard; Shelby Patton, of Martin Street, and Kerns, of Duncan Avenue, have picked up papers, according to the Hamilton County Election Commission website.

The 9th District race is the most crowded so far in the City Council races.

Three people, including incumbent Chip Henderson, have picked up papers for District 1. Challenger Susan Miller has qualified, but Henderson and Jay Nevans haven't filed qualifying papers yet.

In District 2, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Mickey McCamish has picked up papers to challenge incumbent Jerry Mitchell, who has filed qualifying papers.

No challenger has emerged for District 3 incumbent Ken Smith, who is seeking re-election. No one has picked up in District 4, including incumbent Larry Grohn, according to the election commission.

District 5 incumbent Russell Gilbert and challenger Jeffery E. Evans have both qualified.

Incumbent Carol Berz and challenger Robert Wilson have picked up papers in District 6 but neither has qualified.

District 7 is the next-most-crowded race. Incumbent Chris Anderson faces challengers Montrell Besley, Erskine Oglesby Jr. and former seat-holder Manny Rico. Oglesby and Rico have filed qualifying papers.

In District 8, incumbent Moses Freeman and challenger Patrick Kellogg have picked up papers, while challenger Anthony Byrd Jr. has qualified.

The qualifying deadline for the City Council races is Dec. 15.