Nick Wilkinson Announces Candidacy For State Senate

Thursday, March 24, 2016 - by Claire Henley Miller
Nick Wilkinson
Nick Wilkinson

As a young man, Mike Allen did everything right. 

The East Tennessean joined the military as a paratrooper. He later started a family and became a business manager. 

But, according to Nick Wilkinson who announced his candidacy for State Senate on Thursday, the state legislation denied Mr. Allen the opportunity to live his life. 

On the day Mr. Allen got in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, he was “forced into poverty” because he did not have insurance.

 

Now he has to choose between paying the rent and paying electricity, Mr. Wilkinson – the city’s deputy administrator of economic development – said.   

“Why does Mike have to sit in the dark?” 

Mr. Allen attended Mr. Wilkinson’s midday candidacy announcement on the third floor of the Edney. Many others came out in support as well, greeted by Mr. Wilkinson’s extended hand as they walked in the room.

When the candidate took to the podium – the only décor in the white-walled space – he stood tall in his pressed navy suit, saying with emphasis that he is running for State Senate for District 10 “for our children who deserve better opportunities to succeed, for working families who deserve a chance to get ahead, and for our neighborhoods who deserve to have their voices heard, not deleted.”

Over the last several weeks, he said he had been thinking a lot of the people in the 10th District. Having grown up in East Ridge in a working household, he said he knows the meaning of working hard to “put food on the table.” 

Furthermore, he remembered when the city air was dirty and jobs were leaving downtown, and how a group of collaborative leaders carried out a vision to transform Chattanooga into the clean, innovative city it is today. 

This effective leadership inspired Mr. Wilkinson to return to Chattanooga from Ohio to dive into the entrepreneurial pool on the rise. He became part of the revitalization and resurgence of the local economy after the 2008 mortgage crisis devastated many families. He contributed as director of development at Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprises – the nonprofit dedicated to building homes and restoring neighborhoods in underserved parts of town.

As deputy administrator of economic development, he worked on the 2014 Volkswagen initiative to bring 2,000 new jobs to the city. 

“It has been my gift to wake up every day and serve Chattanooga and our economy,” he said.

Now he wants to span his service to the state’s District 10, which encompasses seven cities from Cleveland to Red Bank. The seat is held by Republican Todd Gardenhire, who is running again. Mr. Wilkinson is running as a Democrat. 

Education, he said, is one of his passions and focuses for his campaign. Having worked in the school system, he has “seen up close” what makes an educational experience exceptional: great teachers. If elected, he aims to provide teachers with the proper tools and salaries they need to help children succeed. 

His second passion revolves around Insure Tennessee. The story of Mr. Allen is not the only one Mr. Wilkinson has heard of the state legislation failing East Tennesseans. Because of this, Mr. Wilkinson wants to help citizens who do not have insurance by working to pass Insure Tennessee – the program to provide health insurance to Tennesseans who do not have access to it or who have limited options. 

Applause rang out after this announcement. 

Mr. Wilkinson stressed the power of working together to make necessary changes. As candidate for State Senate, he plans to work with the surrounding counties to really hear what people have to say. 

His drive for this is simple.

“Because I am from this district,” he said. “And I believe deeply in the people of Tennessee.” 

City officials said Mr. Wilkinson is not required to step down from his city job and will remain in his current post during the campaign.




Travis Caslin, 42, Shot While Walking Along South Willow Street

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot on Friday night while walking along South Willow Street.   The victim was identified as Travis Caslin, 42.   At 7:37 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers were called to a local hospital after a person showed up with a gunshot wound.   Police were informed that the victim's condition was non-life threatening. ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AILEY, SLATON R  1130 DARTMOUTH ST CHATTANOOGA, 37405  Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE --- ANDERSON, EDWARD ANTONIO  2507 CURTIS ST CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 25 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ASSAULT ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Myth And Fact Check

My husband and I recently had the privilege of participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Chattanooga. I listened as my husband told the audience about how his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was nine and how she died from the disease when he was fourteen. As a child, my husband didn’t understand what breast cancer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Bill Pennington, a sports writer for the New York Times, was lamenting the “huddle” is slowly disappearing in football due to the faster pace of the game and, during his search for more information, he called former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. Bill wrote that Joe couldn’t stop laughing about the funny things that would happen between plays. Joe told this story: ... (click for more)

Mocs Fall 20-14 To Visiting Citadel

The Chattanooga Mocs fell just short in a 20-14 heart-breaker against The Citadel. It was a hard-fought game that went the full 60 minutes.   The Mocs defense stiffened and gave their offensive teammates a shot late in the fourth quarter. The Citadel marched 41 yards, churning out 5-plus minutes of game clock. Tae Davis dropped Grant Drakeford for a 3-yard loss at the Mocs ... (click for more)

Top-Ranked Alabama Smashes Tennessee 45-7

(Story will be updated) Tennessee, a 34-point underdog in one of college football’s better long-running series, stayed close for one quarter before top-ranked Alabama switched to another gear and pummeled the struggling Vols, 45-7, Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The rock-ribbed Crimson Tide defense locked down Tennessee’s ground game, hounded quarterback ... (click for more)