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.




Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report: ADAMS, JARRETT LEE  8219 CICERO TRAIL CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION COMMUNITY SUPERVISION FOR LIFE --- AKE, NAOMI MICHELLE  7321 SOUTH PITTSBUGH MOUNTAIN ROAD S. PITTSBURG, 37380  Age at Arrest: 41 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck On Highway 58 At Oakwood Drive On Tuesday Night

A pedestrian was struck on Highway 58 on Tuesday night. The incident happened around 7 p.m. at the intersection with Oakwood Drive. A Taco Bell is nearby. An ambulance was at the scene. (click for more)

Current Republican Tax Plan Will Add To The National Debt

Independent tax experts agree that the Republican tax plan will add over $1 trillion to the national debt, even accounting for economic growth.  Adding to the national debt during good economic times doesn’t seem smart to me. The time for adding anything to the national debt is during a major war or when the economy needs more government spending to stimulate it during a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s Focus On ‘Better’

As I stepped away from the overflow crowd at Monday night’s Town Council meeting on Signal Mountain, I leaned in to tell Jean Trohanis how sorry I was to hear of the loss of her dearest friend. But in that millisecond before I could speak, the former but still-loved elementary school principal gave me her best hallway hiss and, with a pointed finger, she ordered, “You be nice!” ... (click for more)

Hayes Surpasses 1,000 Points As Lady Canes Beat Walker Valley 54-43

East Hamilton sophomore Madison Hayes scored 17 points in a 54-43 victory at Walker County in Cleveland on Tuesday night and pushed her career scoring past the 1,000-point mark in the process. Hayes scored a team-high 19 points Friday in a 52-40 victory over Notre Dame in the East-West Classic, giving her 996 points in her career, including eighth-grade and freshman seasons ... (click for more)

McMInn County Slaps Soddy-Daisy With Two 5-3A Losses

McMinn County roared into Soddy-Daisy on Tuesday night and blasted the Trojans and Lady Trojans lop-sided victories in District 5-3A high school basketball action. The Cherokees (3-5, 3-0) blitzed the Trojans (3-5, 1-2) early to build a 26-14 halftime lead, built a 20-point lead and cruised to an impressive 58-30 victory. The earlier game was even more one-sided as the ... (click for more)