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Yusuf Hakeem

Yusuf Hakeem has announced he will seek re-election to the Chattanooga City Council District 9 seat.

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

Hakeem, elected to represent District 9 five times between 1990 and 2006, won a tight race for the seat in 2013. Challenger Pat Benson Jr. has announced candidacy and qualified for the election and Shelby Patton has picked up qualifying papers for the race, according to election commission records.

He cited the need to continue fostering working relationships that have "set the foundation for the positive change that is taking place in District 9, while creating new opportunities for investments and businesses," in the announcement.

He said he has worked for improvements to Wilcox Tunnel, more public transportation options for the district, renovations to Chattanooga Youth and Family Development centers and summer youth employment programs.

Hakeem championed "ban the box"efforts to remove questions concerning felony convictions from city job applications. He also pushed for the city to engage in a disparity study to determine whether minority- and female-owned companies have a level playing field with other entities seeking to do business with Chattanooga government.

"District 9 is very diverse in people and incomes," Hakeem said. "I will continue to vigorously represent all of them with all the strength and dedication in me as we strive for upward mobility through hard work and playing by the rules within all communities."

Hakeem currently serves as the chairman of the council's Planning and Zoning Committee. He served as the body's chairman in 2013 and on several prior occasions.

Elections for the Chattanooga mayor and city council members will be held on March 7, in accordance with the city charter.

Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or pleach@timesfreepress.com. Follow on Twitter @pleach_tfp.

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