Chattanooga Mayor gives State of the City address, talks U.S. Senate race

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – It’s Walter Cronkite’s old comments about a dirty Chattanooga that started off Mayor Andy Berke’s talking points during his 2019 State of the City address Thursday night

He highlighted the efforts to clean it up, and acknowledged there’s more work to be done.

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“Our climate isn’t what it was in 1969. If you remember the summer fires of 2017, you know what happens when the air gets trapped in between these beautiful mountains. Not surprisingly, one study reports Chattanooga has the 6th fastest rising temperature in the country,” Mayor Berke said.

One of his mentioned priorities is for the Regional Mayor’s Council to work on plans for what happens when extreme weather hits.

“How do we make sure that businesses and cities and infrastructure is prepared for that because we know that we just see more extreme weather now than we ever have,” Mayor Berke said.

The Mayor also touched on plans for further reducing the city’s carbon footprint.

“One of our biggest energy users in city government is Moccasin Bend Wastewaster Treatment Plant. We’ve been examining the ability to put a solar array out there, and take roughly three mega watts of power off the grid,” Mayor Berke said.

Other priorities included ongoing efforts to end homelessness, and safer schools.

The Mayor wants to identify police liaisons for Hamilton County Schools that do not have school resource officers.

“They’ll have point of contact. They’ll know cell numbers. They’ll be able to invite the person to meetings. If they have questions, if they’re concerned about something, if they know about a problem they just have a person they can reach out and talk to and will understand that particular schools issues and problems,” Mayor Berke said.

When asked whether he’d run for the US Senate, Berke said he’s focused on issues affecting Chattanooga and the Nation.

“I’m always going to be engaged on that level and finding out how I may be most productive, is going to be something that I’ll look into.”

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