Tom Decosimo, center, talks with staff members Sharon Hamrick, left, and Shannon Farr during a staff meeting Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, at the offices of Decosimo in Chattanooga, Tenn. / Staff file photo by Doug Strickland

Local businessman Tom Decosimo has announced he is running as a write-in candidate for the District 2 seat on the Hamilton County school board on this year's ballot.

"I have enthusiastically entered the race as a write-in candidate and will face Marco Perez, protégé of Kathy Lennon. We have a plan to lock in a strong majority of the District 2 votes. We are very confident our strategy will lead to a significant victory at the ballot box," Decosimo said Thursday in a news release from the Good Government PAC, a conservative political action committee affiliated with the Good Government Coalition.

Incumbent Kathy Lennon announced that she will not be seeking re-election and withdrew her name from the ballot Thursday — the deadline to do so in Hamilton County.

Candidates had to qualify by April 2, so only one candidate, Marco Perez, will officially appear on the August ballot for District 2.

Decosimo has strong ties in the community and has previously served on the board for the conservative think tank Hamilton Flourishing and helped found the Good Government Coalition.

The Good Government PAC announced its endorsement of Decosimo on Thursday as well as candidates in two other school board races — incumbent Rhonda Thurman for District 1 and Debbi Meyers for District 7.

"Last fall we set a goal to elect strong, conservative candidates to the school board, voices that would challenge the status quo on behalf of the conservative majority in Hamilton County," said Mike McGauley, founder of the coalition and its PAC, in the release.

McGauley touted Thurman's "conservative beliefs" and "valuable institutional knowledge" thanks to her long tenure on the board in his endorsements for the nonpartisan elections.

Thurman was first elected to the board in 2004 and is facing one opponent in this year's race — Soddy-Daisy resident and coach Stephen Vickers.

Though Vickers hasn't spoken out against Thurman, she has hinted that he is backed by Hamilton County United, a teacher advocacy group that recently filed a formal complaint against her.

"[Thurman] stands firm publicly on her conservative beliefs and is not afraid to challenge the administration on behalf of taxpayers," McGauley said.

"There are currently few board members with strong business backgrounds, which was in full display as the board voted to support the unnecessary $34 million budget increase. With Debbi, Rhonda and Tom, the taxpayers of Hamilton County will have three board members who will look at issues, like the budget, from a fiscally conservative, business perspective," he added.

Contact Meghan Mangrum at or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.