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Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Shannon Stephenson, the chief executive officer for Cempa Community Care, poses for a photo in her office at Cempa Tuesday, July 30, 2019 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Stephenson said she plans to apply for the District 9 seat of the Hamilton County Commission.

Nonprofit health care leader, accountant and Chattanooga native Shannon Stephenson intends to apply for the soon-to-be vacant District 9 seat on the Hamilton County Commission.

Stephenson told the Times Free Press that she will submit her paperwork to be considered as a replacement for Hamilton County Commissioner Chester Bankston, who will retire from his seat halfway through his third term on May 31.

Bankston's seat will be filled by an appointee of the remaining eight commissioners, with the application period for interested candidates officially opening on Monday.

Stephenson has been a resident of District 9, which includes the Snow Hill, Collegedale and Harrison areas, since 2013 and said she feels called to serve the community that has contributed a great deal of positivity to her own life.

"I have no grand plans for a career in politics. Rather, I seek this appointment because I firmly believe that my professional skills and expertise, coupled with my lifelong affinity for the individuals, families, and organizations of my home district will enable me to be a strong representative for its well-being until the conclusion of this term," Stephenson said by email.

Stephenson serves as the chief executive officer at Cempa Community Care, a nonprofit, community health care organization that focuses on eliminating health disparities across the Chattanooga region.

She is the third candidate and only woman to publicly express interest in Bankston's commission seat. Harris Ruritan Club Foundation President Dean Moorhouse and District 9 Hamilton County Board of Education member Steve Highlander have also said they intend to apply.

Stephenson received a bachelor's degree in finance from Tennessee Wesleyan University, followed by a master's in business administration from Lincoln Memorial University.

Contact Elizabeth Fite at efite@timesfreepress.com or follow her on Twitter @ecfite.

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