Chattanooga activist announces 2021 run for District 8 amid feud with Councilman Anthony Byrd

Chattanooga activist announces 2021 run for District 8 amid feud with Councilman Anthony Byrd

June 12th, 2019 by Sarah Grace Taylor in Local Regional News

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the election is in 2020. It is in 2021.

Chattanooga activist Marie Mott has announced her candidacy for District 8 commissioner in 2021, taking her public discord with Councilman Anthony Byrd to a new height.

After giving two heated speeches at consecutive council meetings, the first last week on the proposed business improvement district and the second Tuesday night about the proposed 2020 budget, Mott, 31, announced her run Wednesday morning on Facebook.

"It's just the calm before the storm," reads the post with her campaign logo.

Mott told the Times Free Press that she will run to make sure her concerns on police activity, low-income housing, equitable government funding across the city and other issues are addressed.

"We have heard in the community that these things would be addressed and they haven't been yet," Mott said. "It's early, but I decided to let the people who have asked me to run know that I hear them and I have decided to do it for sure."

Addressing her history of breaking quorum at council meetings through speaking out of turn, yelling at council about speaking restrictions and participating at a police violence protest that shut down a meeting late last year, Mott says the friction between her and the council will help her campaign.

"I built a trust with the community as someone who holds council accountable," she said. "And I'll run having trust from my community."

In April, Byrd called the police on Mott after a Facebook Live video she posted made him feel unsafe.

In the video, Mott claims Byrd threatened his neighbor, whose son was killed in 2018, while trying to "mediate" between her and "another involved party," and calls for men in the area to "drive by [the woman's] residence to provide protection while ensuring that interested parties knew that Councilman Byrd lived directly across the street," according to the police report.

Byrd refuted Mott's claim saying "I love my neighbor and I love her kids, and I will continue to do everything I can to help her get an understanding of what happened [to her son]."

While Mott said her personal issues with Byrd were not the driving factors behind her decision to run for council, saying she would run regardless, she did say that he was known for breaking campaign promises, most notably his promised efforts to preserve the district's Lincoln Park.

"There's nothing I can say negative about that young lady," Byrd told the Times Free Press, adding that he was unsure what Mott's issue was with him. "I wish everyone the best and it's the people's vote."

Unprompted, Byrd noted that many of his original goals in city council, including "saving" Lincoln Park, had been unrealistic because of state laws and inability to swing a majority vote.

"I'm still learning here in council," the councilman of three years said. "At the end of the the day, I realized that I have to count to five [votes] to make anything happen."

Byrd denounced rumors that he would run for mayor in 2021 and said he will "definitely" campaign to keep his seat on the council.

Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at staylor@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @sarahgtaylor.


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