Hamilton County Commission chair Sabrena Smedley officially announced Thurday her bid for county mayor in 2022.
Smedley, R-Ooltewah, made the announcement surrounded by dozens of supporters at the former Garber Elementary School in Chattanooga, which is undergoing construction and will open as a vocational school next year. She is the third candidate to enter the mayoral race.
"I'm the only candidate now that's running with actual government experience," Smedley said. "I have been in there doing the work going on eight years now."
Smedley, 53, is the owner of Sabrena Realty Associates in East Brainerd. She is a passionate Christian who is an active member of Morris Hill Baptist Church.
The Republican is a graduate of Ooltewah High School and Chattanooga State and Bryan College, where she received a master's degree in business administration.
Smedley said her priorities are supporting public education, rebuilding the county's critical infrastructure and supporting local businesses with a focus on employing Hamilton County residents.
"This is a grassroots campaign," Smedley said. "I feel this is God's will for my life. Otherwise I would not be doing this. This will be a sacrifice, not only for me but my family."
When asked about specific policy proposals, she said her campaign would be releasing them during the course of the campaign and that she is looking forward to debates with the other two candidates.
Smedley will face off with Matt Hullander and Weston Wamp, both Chattanooga Republicans.
Hullander held an event with dozens of supporters at the Hamilton County Courthouse. 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.
Wamp laid out plans that 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.
Wamp's plans also include an apprenticeship program for high school students through which they could 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.
Contact Logan Hullinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-319-5158. Follow him on Twitter @LoganHullinger.