Former River City Co. President Kim White announced her candidacy for mayor of Chattanooga on Thursday, promising to lead with collaboration and partnership.
"I'm not going in to say I have all of the answers, but I do believe in partnerships," White told the Times Free Press. "And I believe with our community partners working together, we can come up with the right answers. And that's why I'm running."
White, a native of Hixson, kicked her campaign off with an outdoor event at Hixson High School, surrounded by family, campaign staffers and other community leaders.
Known for her years working for former Mayor Bob Corker's real estate company and more than a decade as president of economic development nonprofit River City Co., White prides herself on a legacy of community service and strong relationships.
"I have spent my time in this community meeting my neighbors and wanting to make a difference," she said Thursday, highlighting her experience as a community representative on boards and organizations ranging from Erlanger health system to her alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
"Politics can be divisive but civic leadership isn't," she said. "That's how I'm approaching this race. It's not a stepping stone, something to put on a resume or a first step in a political career. I am doing this out of love for a city where I want to continue to make a difference."
White says she's proudest of community development projects completed during her years at River City, specifically the development of Miller Park, increased market-rate housing and revitalized economic development in downtown.
Citing her mentors Corker and former Gov. Bill Haslam, White says mayor is the best job possible to make a difference in a community.
If elected, White says she will do so by drawing on her mixed experience and knowledge of the city to forge and foster partnerships with public and private leaders to benefit Chattanooga as a whole.
"I have experience taking on tough projects. I know to make a difference sometimes you have to take on tough issues," White said. "And I have been really enthused that business people, community people who have worked alongside me in the last 17 years, have said they want to come alongside me and work on my campaign."
"I'm excited that I do have a reputation of building coalitions and partnerships, and I think our community is in a place where we need someone to bring us all together."
White says she will prioritize decision-making that benefits the diverse communities within Chattanooga, supporting those in the most need and bolstering growth.
Hotelier Mitch Patel, Hamico Foundation Executive Director Alexis Bogo, public relations specialist Albert Waterhouse and Friends of the Festival board president Mary Kilbride have joined White's campaign leadership.
White is the candidate to enter the race to assume outgoing Mayor Andy Berke's seat in March 2021, along with Councilman Russell Gilbert, activist Christopher Dahl and local businessmen Monty Bruell, Tim Kelly and Andrew McLaren.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.