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Self-proclaimed "District 5-lifer" LaDarius Price is running for Chattanooga City Council to promote public health, financial literacy and youth development.

Price, 39, the community outreach manager for Cempa Community Care, wants to use his experience working with the community to continue his work of bridging health and wellness disparities facing Black and Latino Chattanoogans by serving on the council.

"I want to see District 5 become healthy on every front— mentally, physically, emotionally, socially and financially," Price said. "I want to prepare them in position, you know, to be successful."

A native and nearly lifelong resident of the district, Price said he could represent his neighbors thoroughly if elected.

"You can't just go into communities and tell them 'Hey, I provide this service.' You have to have a relationship with them first," he said. "I'm very grateful to say that I grew up there, I reside there, the resources that I've been blessed with I have poured right back into that community. I am a District 5-lifer."

In addition to physical health — which he has promoted through his work at Cempa, including supporting COVID-19 testing efforts in underrepresented communities and the formation of "workout jams," which provide community exercise classes and wellness education resources — Price says he will help citizens learn other key wellness skills.

"For me it's about doing things like that where we prepare and teach the different communities what being healthy really looks like," he said. "And then, of course, finances are a big piece for me because stress is one of the major killers. Whether you're white, black, green, or brown, if you have your finances in the right place and understand true financial literacy, it also impacts and heals you in different ways."

Finally, Price, a former special education teacher and basketball coach who now serves as a youth pastor at Pneuma Ministries and a father to five kids, said he will work to communicate these values and provide these resources to young Chattanoogans.

"I stand in the gap for youth," said Price, who runs nonprofit organization PEAK, Placing Emphasis Around Kids.

"That is my other baby, aside from the five babies that I have with my wife," he said. "So I'm very family oriented. And a lot of my leadership reflects back on the fact that I'm in a very stable environment and relates to my family."

Each of the city's nine council districts will be up for election in March 2021. Current District 5 Councilman Russell Gilbert will be vacating the seat after three terms to run for city mayor.

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

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LaDarius Price / Photo contributed by LaDarius Price
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