Joseph “Joe” Lee, a commercial construction worker who is now a field superintendent for a project at the University of Tennessee, is running for Oak Ridge City Council in the November 8 election.
Lee, an Oak Ridge native, announced his candidacy this month, and he said he has qualified to be on the ballot in November.
Lee is a 1970 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, and he attended Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. He returned to his hometown in 1987 and was employed by Downtown Management Company as construction manager during the time known as “The Mall Wars,” a press release said. He met Julie Easterday there, and they were married in 1989. They now have two daughters, Lindsay and Loren.
The press release said Lee has worked his entire career in the commercial construction industry as either carpenter, superintendent, or construction manager. He has worked throughout the Southeast on industrial, institutional, and commercial projects, the release said.
For the last 10 years, Lee has been employed by Rentenbach and has primarily worked on projects at the University of Tennessee. His main projects include The Howard Baker Center for Public Policy, the Neyland Stadium renovation and expansion, and the University Center, phase one. He is currently the on-site field superintendent for the second phase of the University Center, the largest project in the history of UT, the press release said. It will be complete in the fall of 2018.
“As a result of his work, Lee recognizes and values the importance of building consensus, teamwork, and maintaining a positive can-do attitude,” the release said. “He will carry these skills into a potential seat on City Council. He understands that accomplishing anything in our city requires the approval of the majority of Council, and that consensus and team building are essential.”
“Now more than ever is the time to be focused on the city’s future, and we must capitalize on the opportunities that are ongoing and developing,” Lee said in the press release. “Now is the time to support public policy that will promote growth in the tax base, encourage job retention and growth, and support existing and new business. We need to work together constructively by building community involvement and consensus, and get behind the National Park, Main Street, the AMSE, the Senior Center, the Preschool, and the evolving renaissance of the City Of Oak Ridge. I believe it’s time for less talk and more action and that my background in project development, construction, and management is a good fit for the needs of the city at this time. ”
Lee said he understands the unique history of Oak Ridge and has been involved in it for years to promote and make improvements in the community.
“In addition to renovation of legacy housing, I have constructed HUD housing, the Scarboro Community Center, and was active in the renovation of the Alexander Inn,” Lee said. “For the last 10 years, I have been a member of the Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals and am a strong advocate for enforcement of the Property Maintenance Code. For over a decade, I have successfully supported improvement in or removal of blighted properties in our city. I understand that the maintenance and expansion of our housing stock is key to attracting young families to live in Oak Ridge.”
Lee said he “wholeheartedly” believes Oak Ridge is a great place to live, work, and play, and recognizes the need to promote the city’s neighborhoods, businesses, and schools.
“I promote safe neighborhoods by supporting our city government, city staff, police officers, firefighters, and Neighborhood Watch, Lee said. “I understand the need for a solid business environment that is growing and expanding the tax base. I stand up for the education of our children by supporting our school system, our teachers, and administrators. I believe there are many positive elements in Oak Ridge such as our parks, our greenways, our waterfront, and the science, manufacturing, and technology that is ongoing on the U.S. Department of Energy reservation. I want everyone to know and have said it many times that Oak Ridge is a great place to be, and together, we can continue to make improvements.”
Three of the seven Oak Ridge City Council seats are up for election in November. The three incumbents are Trina Baughn, Charlie Hensley, and Chuck Hope. So far, Hope is the only one of the three incumbents to publicly announce a re-election bid.
Besides Lee, two other potential new Council members have announced their candidacies to Oak Ridge City Council: Jim Dodson and Mark LeNoir. You can learn more about the 2016 election, including City Council candidates, on our 2016 Election page.
Council members serve staggered four-year terms, meaning three seats are up for election this year and the other four seats are up for re-election in 2018. Council members earn $150 per month.
Council members elect one of their own to a two-year term as mayor after each municipal election. The mayor receives an additional $150 per month.
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