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 Bradley County Arrest Report

Click  here  for the latest Bradley County arrest report. (click for more)

Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News

We send out headlines each week day of the latest Chattanooga news.  Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there is a highly significant local news story breaking so you will be aware of it quickly. To be added to the email headline list, just email us at news@chattanoogan.com. In addition, ... (click for more)

John Porter Franklin, Sr.: A Community Gem

In 2016, It was   my honor to have been chosen to recognize African American History Month at the February HCDE board meeting.   Throughout my life, I’ve been taught and exposed to African American history both nationally and locally. In reflecting on what to share, I thought about all that was going on in our community and more importantly in our educational community ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What’s 28% Of 2,500?

There is a strong likelihood, this based on new data obtained from the Hamilton County Department of Education, that only 700 of this year’s approximately 2,500 high school graduates can tell you what 28 percent of 2,500 is. The 2018 test scores, used to determine what percentage of students in public schools are “scoring on track,” averaged 28.4 percent in our 32 middle and high ... (click for more)

Chris Douglas Wins Waterfront Triathlon Sunday

More than a thousand trim and fit men and women gathered at Ross’s Landing Sunday morning for the annual Waterfront Triathlon with McKenzie’s Kirsten Sass the only one of four defending champs to successfully defend her title. There were two races held on Sunday, including a sprint event that included a 400-meter swim, a 12-mile bike ride and a 5K run.   The longer intermediate ... (click for more)

UT Athletics Department To Host Tribute To John Ward On Wednesday

  The University of Tennessee Athletics Department and The Vol Network are hosting a Tribute to "The Voice" event honoring John Ward on Wednesday, June 27, starting at 6 p.m. ET at Thompson-Boling Arena. The legendary broadcasting and marketing icon passed away this week following a lengthy illness. He was 88. Wednesday's event will take on a celebratory ... (click for more)