People listen as Hamilton County Schools superintendent Bryan Johnson gives a "State of Our Schools" address to the Hamilton County Council of PTAs in the Hamilton County Department of Education board room on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

UnifiEd Action

UnifiEd Action

Paul Brock, president

Alison Lebovitz, secretary

UnifiEd Action PAC

Lorie Runge, president

Dana Perry, treasurer

A new nonprofit organization and a separate political action committee have been formed in Hamilton County to support pro-public schools candidates in next year's local elections.

UnifiEd Action, a 501(c)(4) organization, formed a PAC called UnifiEd Action PAC and filed its registration with the Hamilton County Election Commission on Monday.

PACs are organized to raise and spend money to elect and defeat candidates.

Elections Administrator Kerry Steelman said UnifiEd Action PAC is the only local candidate PAC to file in Hamilton County.

The two groups will serve by informing and lobbying local officials on community-driven public education initiatives. Though the two entities will help further UnifiEd's mission, they are not affiliated in any legal, financial or managing capacity, said Jonas Barriere, executive director of UnifiEd and temporary consultant for UnifiEd Action.

All three organizations will have separate boards and separate decision-making power. As of right now, no board members have been selected, but a few of the executive positions have been appointed.

Paul Brock, president of UnifiEd Action, said policy implementation will require sharing information and lobbying the Hamilton County Commission and Board of Education, "which UnifiEd Action will be able to do as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization."

"Ensuring every child in this county has an equal chance at future success is going to take meaningful policy change," Brock said in a statement. "The community has made its priorities clear through the Pact for Public Education, and continues to define its priorities through the Action Plan for Educational Excellence (APEX) Project."

Lorie Runge, president of UnifiEd Action PAC, said it's crucial to ensure officials committed to meaningful change in public schools are elected "at every level of local office."

"This PAC will support incumbents and candidates who are ready to take bold action to ensure a brilliant future for every child in Hamilton County," she said.

As for UnifiEd, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, its focus has been on educating the community on ways to support and improve public education for all students, according to a news release.

"UnifiEd will continue to do all of the work that [it] has traditionally done, and especially advocating for the APEX policy proposal," Berriere said.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.