Hamilton County lawmakers react to Coppinger retirement

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – After Mayor Jim Coppinger announced that he won’t be running for reelection, more Hamilton County lawmakers are addressing his legacy.

“I think he’s been a great leader. He’s been great to work with, there’s no doubt. And I think he’s been forward thinking as well,” says County Commissioner Sabrena Smedley.

“I think that Hamilton County government is the envy of county governments all over the state of Tennessee if not the entire country, and that’s due to the leadership of Mayor Coppinger,” adds Commissioner Greg Martin.

To some, his decision came as a surprise.

“I was actually shocked by his announcement yesterday. He talked to us a few minutes prior to his going out to his press release,” comments Smedley.

But they all wished him the best.

“We’re going to hate to see that he’s stepping down and going to be retiring and we certainly appreciate him and wish him the best,” Martin adds.

During his speech, the Mayor touched on his disdain for the divisiveness of today’s politics – not just nationally, but locally.

“We see on the national level of how divided we are. We even see some issues in Nashville that are going on right now of how divided we can be. And that’s not good,” the Mayor said during his announcement.

But according to Smedley and Martin, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for getting things done.

“With the McDonald Farm purchase, that’s going to be a huge future probably industrial site that’s going to attract many businesses and create jobs,” says Smedley.

“You look at the McDonald Farm that we purchased that’s going to be great for economic development down the road, that was a bipartisan vote,” says Martin.

And it couldn’t have been done without good leadership.

“That was Mayor Coppinger. He made that happen, he had the vision, he brought it before us, we supported it,” Smedley says.

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