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Contributed photo / D'Angelo Davis

Equality activist D'Angelo Davis entered the 2021 race for mayor of Chattanooga Friday, promising to promote equity in underserved groups across the city.

In his announcement, Davis said he will fight for the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, poor Chattanoogans and everyone else "left out" of current politics.

"I have been advocating for many years. I've been walking down the street, I've been meeting with people, and I've been trying to get to understand when someone has an issue and how to get our issues addressed," Davis said in an interview Friday. "I want to make sure that everyone has a chance in the city that we have built and a fresh start."

Davis, a native of Chattanooga, graduate of Howard High School and Southern New Hampshire University and founder of the I Am Foundation — a Black LGBTQ+ nonprofit group in Chattanooga — says he knows what plagues this city and believes he "has the working solutions to fix what is broken in Chattanooga."

"For example, I want to make sure [LGBTQ+ citizens] are protected under all city laws," he said. "I want to make sure that there are hate crime resources available for the war on the transgender men and women as well as LGBT."

As a member of the community, Davis prides himself on over six years of fighting for LGBTQ+ equality in Chattanooga and says he has seen inequities in policing, housing, economic development, early childhood development, transportation and environmental justice.

"It's not just the LGBT, I also want to protect the middle class, the lower class — and actually anyone who doesn't feel that they are being protected currently in our city," he said. "I am running the people's campaign because it's about all of us."

And, he said, the other nine candidates in the mayor's race so far are not cutting it.

"The other candidates available, they don't have the vision for the people that I see," Davis said. "We need to represent all of our people, not just some who are represented or who others know and want to represent.

"So I know that I have experienced some of these things first-hand, and know that I can make the city better for everyone."

Davis plans to "move Chattanooga into the 21st century" with a 21st-century workforce to combat the economic impact of COVID-19, reform the Chattanooga Police Department and invest equitably in all parts of the city. Some specific policies would include limiting when police officers can discharge their weapons to prevent unnecessary injury and to make sure that large companies in the city "give their share of taxes."

"It's time for Chattanooga to value all of Chattanooga. It's time to invest in all of us not just some parts of the city," he wrote in a release Friday. "It's time to give relief to the backbone of our city, which has always been our neighborhoods."

Davis is the 10th candidate to enter the race for outgoing Mayor Andy Berke's seat, which is up for election in March 2021.

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

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