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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Hamilton County Mayoral candidate Matt Hullander shared his vision for the county, from the steps of the courthouse on December 1, 2021.

Hamilton County's two mayoral candidates on Wednesday pitched their vision for the county's future, to varying levels of detail.

Matt Hullander, a Republican from Chattanooga, held an event with dozens of supporters at the Hamilton County Courthouse in the morning. When asked about specific policy proposals, he said his plans are in the works and that he has been meeting with parents, school officials and government employees.

Concrete policies will be released on his campaign's website in the coming weeks, he said.

"I don't need this job, I want this job," Hullander said. "I feel I'm led to accept this challenge and to follow my motto to always make it better, and together we can do this. As a business leader, I'm ready."

(READ MORE: Hullander says he won't use own money in run for Hamilton County mayor)

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Hullander, Wamp lay out visitions in Hamilton County mayor race

Hullander named economic development, education, infrastructure and public safety as four priorities for him, but did not expound further.

In the past, he has said he wants to work with school districts to improve career technical education, invest in economic development and jobs that keep workers in the county and work to improve staffing levels at the Silverdale Detention Center.

Also Wednesday, Weston Wamp, also a Republican from Chattanooga, laid out proposals in a news release.

Wamp's plans include creating a "Mayor's Parent Council" with representatives from all 79 Hamilton County schools. Its members would be nominated by their respective parent-teacher associations.

Through the council, the representatives would communicate to Wamp specific issues and desires regarding their schools such as budgetary needs.

"These are decisions that involve the county mayor," Wamp said in an interview. "And I think the county mayor should be in touch with public school parents. I think it's transformative to have a mayor that is a public school parent."

(READ MORE: Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger announces he won't seek re-election)

Wamp's plans also include an apprenticeship program for high school students through which they would be able to be paid while earning trade certifications. Programs supporting education can lead to a decrease in violence and absenteeism, he said.

Finally, Wamp committed to only serving two terms, saying he has no plans of being a career politician. Hullander also has said he has no higher political aspirations.

"These things are the core of who I am," Wamp said.

In addition to the candidates' plans if elected, the idea of a candidate using his own money to fund his campaign has become a talking point in the 2022 mayoral race.

Hullander on Tuesday said he does not plan to fund his campaign with his own money, saying he was responding to insinuations by Wamp that he would.

Wamp responded by denying having ever made the accusation, although Wamp's campaign did warn his supporters that Hullander would likely do so earlier this month.

"I don't currently plan to invest any of our own money into this campaign," Hullander said Wednesday. "I don't believe we'll have to."

(READ MORE: Weston Wamp announces run for Hamilton County mayor)

Both candidates have business backgrounds with a family history in government.

Hullander owned the home improvement company HullCo before selling it in April for an undisclosed amount to Pennsylvania-based West Shore Home. He is also the son of Hamilton County Trustee Bill Hullander.

Wamp, a former congressional candidate and founder of the Millenial Debt Foundation, is the son of former U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp, and his sister, Coty Wamp, is challenging incumbent Neal Pinkston in a run for district attorney.

While Wamp and Hullander are currently the only two candidates for mayor, others have expressed interest in running.

Hamilton County Commission chair Sabrena Smedley, R-Ooltewah, said in October she is "strongly considering" a run.

Mayor Jim Coppinger, R-Hixson, though, is not seeking re-election.

Contact Logan Hullinger at lhullinger@timesfreepress.com or 814-319-5158. Follow him on Twitter @LoganHullinger.

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