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Raquetta Dotley / contributed photo

Community activist Raquetta Dotley has announced that she is running for Chattanooga City Council District 7 to improve what she calls the city's greatest district.

Dotley, 38, administrator for Westside Missionary Baptist Church and a voting rights activist, says she is running to amplify the voices of neighborhoods and individuals to strengthen the community as a whole.

"I love people. I love the community. And I believe having strong neighborhoods make strong communities," Dotley said Thursday.

"We need neighborhood equity, so I would make sure I'm participatory in a majority, if not all, neighborhood associations, because I know that's where most of the change happens," she added. "It's about what each neighborhood wants, because the seventh is the best district, because it's the most diverse district. So what one neighborhood may lack in theirs may not be what someone else wants, but I want them to know they would have my full support in helping them achieve whatever goals they have for their neighborhood."

For Dotley, an East Chattanooga native and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga graduate, advocating for the rights of individual Chattanoogans has long been a passion.

"I love civic engagement, you know, voter registration and education. And also, transportation, getting people to the polls," said Dotley, who has worked with the Hamilton County Voters Coalition, churches and other groups to enable people to vote since 2008.

"There are a number of organizations that do this, so I'm all about collaboration, partnering with those organizations that do civic engagement through some of the contacts that I have," she added, saying that she would use the City Council as a platform to continue that work. "And I would just encourage them to continue to do the work that they're doing, where we are reaching more people about voter registration and education and making sure that as many people are equipped to vote as possible."

In her campaign announcement, Dotley summarized her vision for the election as a quote by Coretta Scott King.

"The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members," she wrote.

District 7's council seat is now occupied by incumbent Erskine Oglesby, who has not announced whether he intends to run for re-election. There are no other candidates in the district for the March 2021 election.

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

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