Chris Long Speaks Out About Mayoral Race
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Three candidates are running against Andy Berke for his job as Chattanooga’s mayor.
Two of them are politicians, but one candidate is a businessman running for office for the first time.
“I’ve been trying to stay out of the news media for this purpose because I’m dealing with a lot of people, actual voters.”
You can call Chris Long an outsider, he says he’s usually behind the scenes, not in the spotlight, but decided to run for mayor to make a change in the Scenic City.
“I’m running as an independent. I don’t carry no party line. The community, the city is my boss, and I will be routinely out here in the city keeping the pulse of what’s going on.”
The architectural and engineering consultant is pushing for better economic development.
He says Chattanooga needs to create a workforce base to bring in industry.
Long believes there are too many “for rent” signs downtown.
“I want to create a base for jobs. That’s the reason we’re not having any industry coming in is because we don’t have any skilled labor. It’s the bottom line. And I want to give these folks an opportunity to do something. Nobody’s tried to do that.”
Long believes creating a workforce base will help curb crime and he says Mayor Berke’s Violent Crime Initiative isn’t working.
“We’ve had a major upswing in crime and shootings since the VRI took place. It’s only for gangs. I don’t necessarily say we have a gang problem. We have a thug problem. It has to do with our economy. People don’t have jobs. They’re poor. They have to hustle. They have to make money with what they have to do.”
The longtime Chattanoogan says he sees a vision for the city, and wants to be part of it.
“I want to drain the swamp down there, and I know where to drain the swamp at. I know all the key places that we can get Chattanooga booming again, and have opportunities for everybody, not the select few downtown.”
In addition to incumbent mayor Berke, councilman Larry Grohn and former council member David Crockett are in the race.
Chattanooga voters will head to the polls on March 7th.