Democrat seeks Senate District 10 seat

Nick Wilkinson, deputy administrator of Chattanooga’s department of economic development, announced Thursday he will run as a Democratic candidate for the state’s 10th District Senate seat, reports the Times-Free Press. He said support for Insure Tennessee would be a major campaign issue.

Representing the 10th District is just part of his overall mission of seeking to improve the Chattanooga area, said Wilkinson, who told his supporters he wants to increase opportunities for children, help working families get ahead and ensure that the district’s voices are heard in Nashville. Republican Todd Gardenhire now holds the seat.

“Right now, Nashville is more interested in special interests than the people they represent, and I’m running to make sure we are looking out for East Tennessee families,” Wilkinson said.

…His leadership experience includes Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, in which he helped create more than 10,000 homes and kept thousands of other families in their homes, Wilkinson said.

While leading economic development initiatives for Mayor Andy Berke’s administration, his efforts spurred the creation of more than 6,500 jobs, he said. Wilkinson said he will continue serving as the deputy administrator of economic development for Chattanooga.

During the announcement, Wilkinson introduced Mike Allen, a Chattanooga veteran who suffered permanent injuries in a car accident but was uninsured despite his steady job as a restaurant manager.

“I see Nick Wilkinson not as a change, but as a progression of what Chattanooga is going through as a community,” Allen said.

The cold refusal of the state Legislature to afford Allen ā€” and other Tennesseans like him ā€” the health care opportunities many of us take for granted has forced him and his wife into poverty, Wilkinson said.

“I plan to change that by listening to the voices of our neighborhoods, fighting for our families and working to pass Insure Tennessee,” Wilkinson said.