Mayor Begins New Programs For Jobs And Veterans

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
Contributor: Shawn Lanier
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Updated: 4/22 7:10 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) -- Less than 24 hours after his first State of the City address, Mayor Andy Berke is moving quickly to get several major programs into-action.
At the top of the list is a jobs incentive program, followed by a homeless veterans initiative.
Here's a closer look.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE, CHATTANOOGA "There's plenty more to do, but we are doing it."

Never let it be said Chattanooga's young mayor doesn't have plenty of ideas.

One year into his administration Berke got high marks from those who attended his Monday night State of the City address.
Bouncing off his success at repairing the broken Police and Fire pension program, and a reduction in gun crimes, Berke focused on the future.
One of his first acts was appearing at a meeting of former members of the military at UTC and signing an order to get homeless veterans off the streets by 2016.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE, CHATTANOOGA "We know that things like providing shelter for those who fought for our country is also critical to our city..its says a lot about who we are."

ZACHARY HOLGUIN, MARINE VETERAN "Coming together and creating this task force and signing an executive order today will allow these resources to be shifted toward every possible means that is available for the mayor to get out here and contact these veterans."

The mayor estimates as many as 150 homeless vets in the city.

Berke also unveiled a combination of plans to create job incentives.
One of them involves the Enterprise center.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE "Today, I'm happy to announce that job one for the enterprise center, will be to establish an innovation district in Chattanooga..pulling together advanced technology, entrepreneurs, existing industry and higher education into one location."

The mayor says jobs can be created at every level.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE "My administration is committed to controlling Chattanooga's economy by supporting every business, whether it has 5 employees or 500."

The mayor counts the purchase of Harriett Tubman homes by the city, as another major step toward creating jobs.
That area of the city will eventually be dedicated to light industry.


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