Activist Marie Mott is running for Chattanooga City Council to address community safety and opportunity disparities across the city and in District 8.
Mott, leader of this summer's I Can't Breathe protests in Chattanooga, is opposing District 8 Councilman Anthony Byrd in the hopes that she can bring new life to the fight against inequality.
"I feel that Chattanooga needs a desperate change. We have seen a lot of longstanding issues exacerbated during the tornado and then following COVID-19," Mott said, noting how she's seen gaps in opportunity, access to resources and wage disparities worsen in her lifetime. "So I want to bring resources and opportunity back to the district."
One such resource, which Mott considers a top priority in her district and the city, is affordable housing. "It is getting very, very difficult for people to rent, which a good portion of my district are people who rent," she said. "So I'm very, very concerned about where we're headed with the improvements that are going to be made in the district how that can impact housing."
The other most pressing issue Mott sees is public safety, a matter she has been protesting and addressing the council about for years.
"I've also seen in the district a lot of gun violence and a lot of people have died in my community," Mott said. "We live in the South. I want our elders to sit on their porch in the summertime in the spring and in the fall. And I want our children to have the experience I had as a kid in Chattanooga, where I could go outside and play and I never had to worry about a bullet, you know. The most I had to worry about was a bee sting."
In an announcement, Mott also highlighted the importance of infrastructure and cultivating early childhood resources in the district.
"We should be empowering the people of District 8 with resources like affordable housing, community safety, and technology. We must improve the lives and futures of the city's youth by connecting them with our existing technological infrastructure and diverse opportunities for business and innovation," she wrote. "I am also committed to improving safety for all by strengthening community infrastructure, investing in parks and recreation, and expanding early childhood development."
Mott, who identifies herself as a "pastor's daughter, friendly neighbor and Churchville-made activist," said her consistency in fighting for the district sets her apart from others in the race.
"What you'll hear consistently from other candidates is 'if I'm elected I'm going to do A, B and C,'" she said. "I want to bring things together in a way I don't think any other candidate has and part of that comes from the experience of being an activist."
"So I don't have to sell to the people what I'll do if I'm elected. I'm going to continue to do the work [I] have been doing for several years."