CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Early voting for the March 5th city election is underway. Monday night, candidates for Chattanooga City Council participated in a community forum. The public gathered at Greater Tucker Baptist Church to hear where candidates stand going in to the election.
Some of the tighter races to follow are in Districts 1, 4, 7 and 8.
For the candidates running for those particular districts that were present at the forum, Channel 3 asked two quick questions: Why are they running? And what is their top priority if elected to city council?
"I was approached by a group of business and community leaders, they asked me if I would consider running. After I sat down and talked to my wife, and thought through the process, I decided to go ahead and run. My focus on this election would be infrastructure and public safety and economic development. I think those three things are critical," says Chip Henderson, candidate for District 1.
"I was born and raised in Chattanooga. My children live here, my grandchildren live here. I really want Chattanooga to continue to improve, for it to be the city that we all want it to be," says Tom McCullough, candidate for District 1. "My top priority is, the last several years, the council may not have been all together. I really want to, although I represent district one, I would bring consensus among the council, and I'd like to be a representative of all of Chattanooga."
"I have a lot of business experience, I have a lot of problem solving experience, I have a lot of budgetary experience," says Tom Tomisek, candidate for District 4. "I'd like to work on the infrastructure. And right now we have a problem with the morale with the police. But we really have an infrastructure problem. The roads are terrible."
"I'm running again basically because I want to serve people. I've always been in jobs that serve people. That's my mission. That's why I'm running. My top priority is to continue to try to implement a land use plan in East Brainerd, so that we can keep balanced, smart land growth," says Jack Benson, candidate and incumbent for District 4.
"I'm running because I think the people of Chattanooga deserve safe streets, good jobs and strong neighborhoods. My first priority as soon as I take office will be to connect people with living wage jobs so they can provide for their families, and make sure that all of our communities are safe and no one feels afraid to be in their own home," says Chris Anderson, candidate for District 7.
"I was asked. The residents of District 8 approached me and asked me to consider running again. They thought enough of me to ask, I think enough of them to follow through. That's why I'm in this race. My top priorities are reducing crime, increasing affordable housing, improving our transportation grid and ensuring that we're reducing infrastructure costs in the City of Chattanooga," says Andrae McGary, candidate and incumbent for District 8.
"I am running because I believe this district needs someone who will be sensitive to their concerns and response to their need," says Moses Freeman, candidate for District 8. "My top priority would be to clean up the neighborhoods and make people feel safe in their neighborhoods and their homes."
Again, not all candidates for each district were present for the forum.
A copy of the ballot and all candidates is pictured to the right.