By Camm Ashford
Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly endorsed Councilwoman Marvene Noel on Thursday morning during the official launch for Noel’s runoff campaign for City Council District 8.
“She is the kind of person that I, as a resident of District 8 and the mayor of the city of Chattanooga, want to see up there on the dais,” Mayor Kelly said during Noel’s campaign rally, which was held at 10:30 a.m. outside the Carver Community Center, 600 N. Orchard Knob Ave.
“When she fights for you, she fights for all of us. Because as your elected representatives, our job is not to grandstand on social media but to work together as a team to find a solution that moves us closer to that vision of a community that works for every one of our residents. A vision of One Chattanooga. Candidly, the stakes are simply far too high to make a wrong decision here. We’re extremely fortunate to already have the leader we need.”
Around 50 community members, leaders and elected officials gathered to show support for Councilwoman Noel.Councilwoman Noel earlier competed with six others, including community activist Marie Mott, to win the interim appointment on March 8 to represent the District 8 seat until the Aug. 4 primary election. Noel will face Mott again in a Sept. 15 runoff election.
The runoff was triggered because Mott, chairperson for Civic Engagement at the Hamilton County Chattanooga Chapter of the NAACP, did not secure a majority by receiving more than 50% of the vote on Aug. 4. Mott received 557 of the 1,202 ballots cast to Noel’s 341 in the District 8 race to fill out the remainder of the term of former Councilman Anthony Byrd, who in February resigned his post on the nine-member council to become Chattanooga’s new City Court clerk.
Mott frequently attends regularly scheduled Tuesday evening council meetings and speaks out on a variety of subjects during the three minutes set aside for residents to ask questions and/or voice their opinions. The 34-year-old Mott, who led local demonstrations in response to the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, has a large following on social media platforms.
The runoff procedural change was made Feb. 8 in a 7-1 council vote, setting the rules for the District 8 special election. Previously, the person with the most votes was named the winner in such elections, regardless of whether the candidate received a majority.
Describing herself as a long-time East Chattanooga community leader, Councilwoman Noel said she has dedicated herself to the needs of her neighbors, including: economic growth and development, affordable housing, strengthening neighborhoods and keeping them safe.
She is a past president of the Orchard Knob Neighborhood Association and serves on Park Ridge Health System’s board of trustees.
“Now is the time to change the narrative,” Councilwoman Noel said. “It is time for District 8 to become a strong, thriving community for all generations. It is time for growth in all of District 8.”
Mayor Kelly said of Councilwoman Noel, “She’s a worker, a fighter, and someone who has given a lot of time in service to her community. When it comes to doing the real work that it takes to bridge the gaps in our city, she’s one of the few who are willing to put in what it takes to get things done.”
District 8 includes areas of Chattanooga, including Alton Park, Avondale, Bushtown, Courthouse, Downtown, East Chattanooga, East Lake, Eastside and Ridgedale.
Mott did not respond to an email request for comment in time for the Chattanooga News Chronicle deadline.