Chattanooga college student and community activist D'Andre Anderson is running for the already contested District 8 City Council seat.
Anderson, 21, is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a lifelong resident of Chattanooga. He says he's running because he wants to see more-in-touch elected officials.
"After a global pandemic, after the tornadoes that happened here in Chattanooga, and then coming off the tails of the Black Lives Matter movement, something in my heart changed and I feel like it's just time for elected officials that are going to put people over politics," he said Monday.
"I just couldn't vote for the people that are running in the district. Nothing personal, but I just feel like I don't think they're going to be able to give the community what we need," he said. "So I decided that I'm going to step into that race and try to be the voice of reason for the community."
If elected, Anderson said, he will aim to represent people rather than any of his own political ideas, in order to improve economic disparities in the district.
"I think number one on my list is definitely just putting the people first, hearing them out, letting them know that we see them when we hear them," he said. "There's a lot of things with housing [and] economic development in District 8 and just general protection of people in the district that I feel like have been overlooked because of some people's political agendas and schemes."
Anderson, who is involved in several campus organizations and has done recent work for local education group UnifiEd and Nashville-based nonprofit The Equity Alliance, is not new to the world of local government. After serving as the student representative for the Hamilton County Board of Education while in high school, he ran for the school board in 2018.
"That's kind of when I tapped into the local government side of myself that I didn't know I was really interested in, and since then I've just become somewhat of a community organizer and activist, just wanting to help out the community, wanting to be there for them."
District 8's council seat is currently occupied by Anthony Byrd, who said in 2019 that he intends to run for re-election. Local activist Marie Mott is also running to represent the district in the March 2021 election.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at email@example.com or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.