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Hakeem announces bid for retiring Favors' seat

(Image: WTVC)

On Friday, six-term Chattanooga City Council member Yusuf Hakeem announced he is running to represent State House District 28, a seat held for years by Rep. JoAnne Favors, who announced earlier this week she will not seek re-election.

Hakeem is the first candidate to declare interest in Favors' seat.

In a news release emailed to NewsChannel 9, Hakeem says “If elected, I will fight to ensure the residents of District 28 have opportunities for job training and affordable housing. Communities that are lacking in these areas are struggling to survive.”

“Along with other Council members, I worked with the Chamber and other entities to bring more and better paying jobs to Chattanooga and surrounding communities, like Red Bank and Ridgeside. While we were successful in that effort, there is now a gap between workforce skills and employment opportunities,” Hakeem continued.

Hakeem says he visited a school in Georgia where a partnership between local Chambers of Commerce, schools and businesses allows students to go to school a half day and work a half day. “Students were not engaged in learning, but that changed, once they started working and earning money,” Hakeem said, noting that job placement firms can also train and certify individuals to work in various industries.

Hakeem served as the first Vice Chairman on the Chattanooga City Council when elected in 1990 and served on the Council until 2005. He was also the first Chairman of the Council’s Budget and Finance Committee. In 2006, he was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole by Gov. Phil Bredesen. Hakeem went on to serve under Gov. Bill Haslam, until voters returned Hakeem to the Chattanooga City Council in 2013, and his fellow Council members elected him Chairman of the Council. Hakeem says that proves that he also has a track record of being able to work with both sides of the political aisle.

“In addition to job opportunities and education, access to affordable housing can help decrease crime and poverty, because individuals and families are better able to provide for themselves,” Hakeem said. “No more than 30 to 40 percent of one’s income should go to housing. I will work with local, state and federal officials to find or develop partnerships that will help improve the quality of life for District 28 residents.”

Hakeem served on the Chattanooga City School Board, prior to being elected to the Chattanooga City Council, for 10 years. Active in community service, he also was a member of the following boards: Chairman, Bessie Smith Cultural Center; Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise; Kirby Day Care Center; Chattanooga Community Impact Fund; Tennessee Human Rights Commission (Appointed by Gov. Bredesen); Fortwood Center; Senter School, Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corporation; Chattanooga/Hamilton County Railroad Authority; and Chairman, Chattanooga-Hamilton County North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization.

If elected, Hakeem said he will work on some of the same issues as Rep. JoAnne Favors has during her tenure: TennCare expansion, quality schools, seat restraints on school buses and prison reform.

Depend on us to keep you posted on this race.

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