“I have a moral and spiritual investment in this district,” said Yusuf Hakeem in opening his campaign for Chattanooga’s City Council in District 9. Mr. Hakeem, who represented District 9 from 1990 to 2006, noted that district residents had approached him, urging him to run for the seat.
“They told me they needed a representative who was responsive, who listens to their concerns,” he said. “I bring a long history of service to this community. I have also served as a positive role model, someone who was born and raised in Chattanooga, and a resident of what is now District 9 for the last 46 years.”
During this time, he served as a member of the Chattanooga Board of Education for 10 years, on the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Planning Commission Zoning Board, and as City Council Chairman three times, among many other positions. He serves and has served on the boards of many local nonprofits, including Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, and as chairman of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization.
Mr. Hakeem noted that, as he has retired both from General Electric Corporation after 25 years of service, and the State Board of Probation and Parole after seven years, he will be available full-time to respond to the needs of District 9. He lists reducing crime, improving schools and providing more job opportunities as major priorities for the district.
"We need more cooperation between police, elected officials, churches and nonprofits to help prevent crime,” he said. “I can be the bridge between these entities. We don’t need duplicate efforts, but coordination between all the people working to improve the community.”
He cited his efforts to build a new Orchard Knob Elementary as evidence that much can be done on the city level to improve schools. “We can’t wait for the state and county to solve the problems of our local schools,” he said. “The bulk of the monies supporting schools come from local taxes, and we must be active participants in making sure children are ready to learn when they come to school.”
Mr. Hakeem said he is also aware that more job opportunities must be provided for District 9 residents, both through developing businesses to the district, and increasing transportation options for residents to get to available jobs at places such as Amazon and Volkswagen. “I want to work with the Chamber of Commerce to explore opportunities for business and job creation here,” he said.
“I look forward to expanding on these ideas, and hearing the ideas of community members during this campaign,” Mr. Hakeem said. “These concerns and solutions will be my focus in moving District 9 forward.”