Wade Hinton, who finished third in the initial Chattanooga mayoral election, formally endorsed Tim Kelly for mayor during a Wednesday press conference at the Walnut Street Bridge. Mr. Kelly and Kim White will have a runoff election on April 13.
“Running for mayor was never about me. It was about lifting up the voices of our community leaders and ordinary Chattanoogans that believe in a city that fosters economic opportunity for all,” Mr.
Hinton said. “As we stand here at the Walnut Street Bridge, a place that is a reminder of the challenges of our past and a reminder of our hopes as we live with the greatest assets at our disposal, we still should know our greatest asset is our people.”
He emphasized lifting up Chattanooga’s financially disadvantaged communities during his press conference, and said the COVID-19 pandemic only served to highlight the economic disparities in Chattanooga. While he said these communities are not exclusively minority communities, many minority communities were affected the most by the pandemic.
“The pandemic did not create the disparities in our community, but it did deepen them,” Mr. Hinton said. “It’s clear both candidates love our city, but it is clear, that only one candidate who has carried forward a strong commitment to addressing these deep-seeded iniquities in our community. That is why I am supporting Tim Kelly as mayor of Chattanooga.
"His campaign has embraced my call for an equitable recovery commission, to ensure the incoming federal recovery funds are distributed in strategic and equitable ways, and that the residents across this community are engaged. Tim and his team have agreed to revise their 100 day plan to make this a possibility."
Tim Kelly thanked Mr. Hinton for his support, and said he will look to Mr. Hinton for guidance if he becomes mayor. Mr. Kelly said he will lean on Mr. Hinton, but did not say the former candidate would have any sort of official role in his administration.
“Under my administration, with Wade’s help and guidance, we are finally going to address the roots of these problems and make the necessary investments to lift all of Chattanooga up,” Mr. Kelly said. “Equity is more than just a buzzword. It’s more than just a moral or political issue; it’s an economic issue. It’s about bringing everyone to the table, including the folks who for far too long have been kept on the sidelines and whose voices have not been heard.”
Mr. Kelly said that he has planned to set up a commission in order to make sure federal relief funds are spent in a way that benefits every community in the city.
“That’s why during my first 100 days, we are assembling a commission to set clear criteria for ensuring these critical investments benefit all of Chattanooga,” Mr. Kelly said.