Former River City President and CEO Kim White has added her name to the already crowded field of six candidates running for mayor of Chattanooga.
As Chattanooga–along with the entire nation–grapples with surging deadly coronavirus infections, the worst unemployment since the Great Depression and sweeping civil unrest, White admitted that “our city is at a crossroads.”
To this end, White said her campaign is focused on reinvigorating the economy and all the city’s communities through job creation, business recruitment, affordable housing and expanded services for low-income residents.
“As your mayor, it will be my duty to serve our city and its residents truthfully and transparently and help to create a city that lifts up all Chattanoogans regardless of zip code,” she said. “I will remain accessible for continuous conversations on the different challenges facing our city to ensure all voices are heard, represented and respected.”
As far as Chattanooga’s inner city neighborhoods, specifically, White said, “We have lots of neighborhoods that need to be lifted up. So it’s about bringing jobs, bringing investment out into those neighborhoods and connecting them in a bigger way.”
If elected, she would also invest in early childhood education, expand programming and maintenance of Chattanooga’s community centers and make massive infrastructure improvements in all neighborhoods across the city.
White said the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man whose neck was pinned to the ground under the knee of a white police officer, has forced the country to reexamime the subject of systemic racism.
“I think it most definitely has shone a light on some issues that have made us all reflect,” she said. “As a female, I thought I understood some of discrimination, but I’ve never had to experience any of that because of skin color. So, I know that I personally have been out there listening and learning and trying to understand.”
With a 16-year career with Fortune 500 company, ALLTEL Communications, White was responsible for recruiting top talent and growing market share in existing and newly acquired markets throughout the southeast.
Upon her return to Chattanooga in 2003, she served as president and CEO of the Corker Group, fully leasing and managing over two million square feet of real estate. For the past 11 years, White has served as the president and CEO of River City Company, a non-profit organization with a 34-year history focusing on the economic growth of downtown Chattanooga.
“I grew up in Chattanooga,” White explained. “I went to public schools here. I paid my way through UTC (the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga). This is a community that means so much to me. I’m coming at this through a lens of civic leadership, so it’s not about big vision statements. Those are all nice, too. But it’s really about being out there and executing and actually doing the work.”
If elected in March 2021, White would be Chattanooga’s first-ever female mayor.
“I have found that this community has been very open, very receptive–and I think–excited about a different perspective,” she said.
Because of term limits, Andy Berke is retiring after two terms as Chattanooga’s mayor.