Local Businessman Tim Kelly Elected Mayor of Chattanooga


Chattanooga’s new mayor-elect, Tim Kelly, was determined the winner of the runoff election on Tuesday evening. Kelly secured 60 percent of the votes over former River City Company President and CEO Kim White.

In his victory speech, Kelly stated that this election marked the beginning of achieving social justice. He said that his first actions would be to establish a COVID-19 response team and address racial disparities.

[C]hattanoogans from every walk of life came together to choose a better way forward. A way for that ensures every child in our community has access to the early childhood opportunities they need to succeed. A way forward that will begin to close the opportunity gap between our Black neighbors and our white neighbors. A way forward that brings every community to the table instead of the divisiveness along the same old partisan lines that too often keep us bitter toward one another. Chattanooga’s special, and together we chose the vision of One Chattanooga.

Kelly’s platform, “One Chattanooga,” focused heavily on social justice issues. He promised that these plans would make Chattanooga a “less frustrating and more enjoyable city to live in.”

A major component of Kelly’s platform centered on the Black community. He promised to address structural racism through what resembled an affirmative action-style set of initiatives. In part, Kelly pledged to increase Black homeownership, businesses, income, jobs, creative talent, and cultural representation.

Kelly is also a proponent of police reform, such as “decriminalizing certain nonviolent offenses” and “decriminalize[ing] poverty.” He advocated for community policing through a “community outreach response team” to address nonviolent situations: mental illness, homelessness, and addiction. Additionally, Kelly promised to increase minority representation within police.

Further, Kelly pledged to give the homeless permanent housing and rewrite laws so as not to encroach on their lifestyle.

Chattanooga will strive to ensure that city law enforcement has the necessary tools to provide homeless individuals services without making an arrest. Additionally, Chattanooga will review the City’s policies and ordinances that serve to penalize the homeless population, versus a more appropriate long-term response that relies upon the use of supportive services.

The mayor-elect’s other top priorities include improvements to education and public transportation. He promised a $15 minimum wage for teachers in Chattanooga’s Head Start, a pre-K program which he pledged to expand as well. He also promised to expand apprenticeship programs.

Notably, Kelly also promised free transportation for city residents by 2022. Funding would be sourced from non-fare revenue instead, like advertising. Kelly envisioned modernized and expanded public transportation, as well as incentivized usage through mobile apps.

The complete list of Kelly’s policy framework, “Vision 2021,” includes minority-focused affordable housing; “common-sense public health policy” for COVID-19 recovery; more aggressive recruitment of businesses to compete with Nashville and Atlanta, Georgia; and sustainability across a wide swath of concerns with the environment, economy, and culture.

White conceded the race to Kelly on Tuesday evening, calling it the race “positive, well-run, [and] issues-based.”

Kelly will be sworn into office next Monday, April 19.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tim Kelly” by Tim Kelly. Background Photo “Chattanooga Downtown” by Imilious. CC BY-SA 3.0.





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20 Thoughts to “Local Businessman Tim Kelly Elected Mayor of Chattanooga”

  1. MarieB

    I’ve visited East Tennessee many times and was eager to move there. I was very dismayed over the past year to see the lockdowns and mask mandates in what was supposed to be the most conservative regions in the state. I decided to stay in Florida and move to the Panhandle instead. Best decision ever.

  2. AC

    Ugh. My hometown! Saw this on Liberty Daily under the headline Local Businessman Wins Mayoral Election in Chattanooga. Very disappointing to see the details.

  3. Jay

    Sad but true. Here is a SJW that believes so much in our city he moved his business out because of taxes. Go figure. Typical lib do as I say not as I do.

  4. Dee

    Another great Tennessee city to cross off the “let’s go visit and spend our money” list.

  5. Joe M

    It’s all of the 20-somethings and relocators that have moved here that put Kelly in office. These people need an education in real life.


    Another Commie at the helm. We have one in Knoxville just like him. She helped BLM paint BLM on the street in front of Austin East Magnet School. You know the one that just had the shooting. A total of four black teenagers have died from that school in the last few months. She has lost control of the city. She dissolved the Gang Taskforce and wants to be best buds with all of the criminal thugs. All of these Liberal run cities are going down the shithole.

  7. 83ragtop50

    Idiocy reigns in Chattanooga. Not planning to visit there again.

  8. lb

    Once more the Rs/Conservatives are asleep at the wheel allowing another leftie to take over a major population area. THIS is how you become like Ga-a Swing State instead of a solid Red bastion!
    WAKE UP TN REPUBLICANS–you need to run Candidates and FIGHT for every darned elected Seat out there–Judges, Councilppl, etc. Instead I see the R just ignore major areas and not even bother to run anyone!

  9. Elena

    Communist freak culture will show the residents sooner than later what a huge mistake was to give this wealthy demagogue control of their city.

  10. ArKane

    Sooo, he’s going to send Chattanooga down the same Hades hole Phil Bredesen sent Nashville.

  11. EdC

    Nice sounding platitudes but, promoting dependence never works.

  12. Kitty Lenoir

    Oh gee.. another liberal democrat/communists leader. Just what we need. /s

  13. Wolf Woman

    Socialism wins big in Chattanooga. There goes the neighborhood . . .

  14. Ms Independent

    Here we go….social justice again. 🥴

  15. Kevin

    Interesting! Is this just more of the “Plan”, to make Tennessee a swing State in 2024. Promise tons of “free stuff”, take over the big cities, and then the headlines read “Record voter turn-out in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and (now) Chattanooga”, as the votes are manipulated…

    Kind of ironic that it’s the Democrat Party which will forever erase the process that they are named after.

  16. LM

    He groups Blacks together like some kind of disabled population that is intellectually incapable of independent life – but he’s going to stop racism.

  17. rick

    Mr Giveaway, blacks and homeless, what a leader, Chattanooga will go further down the rabbit hole of a liberal city. Another useless social justice warrior, people like this are the problem.

  18. Gordon Shumway

    oh good. chatt is going to try to turn into nashville. smh.

  19. Mrs. Ramsay

    We’re from Atlanta and considered retiring in Chattanooga. Not any more. The city will be crumbling by the time we get there.