￼City Manager Mark Watson and honorable members of Oak Ridge City Council,
First, I would like to congratulate the new members elected to Council and express my enthusiasm in working with the three sitting members of Council for the coming years. I feel we have a great group of leaders and know that if we work together, we can accomplish some great things for the City of Oak Ridge.
In my opinion, a key to making these great things happen is working together in electing and supporting our new mayor. That said, I would like to officially announce my interest in becoming the new mayor.
I believe the mayor’s position is much more than cutting ribbons and running the monthly meetings. The mayor, in my opinion, is the chief lobbyist of the city.
We are unique from most cities in the fact that our health as a city is tied closely to the choices that are made by both state and federal lawmakers. Maintaining that health depends on a mayor that has strong relationships with state and federal elected officials that will result in making meaningful accomplishments for our city. In my many years of working behind the scenes in local politics, I have been able to build those strong relationships with our senators and congressman. Likewise, I have worked over the years to build incredibly strong relationships with our two state senators and our two state representatives as well as the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House.
It is true that neither City Council nor mayor are partisan positions. I believe this is something that should never change.
The reality is that all of our state and federal legislative officials are currently members of the Republican Party. The years I have had working with the local GOP and helping to elect these officials gives me a unique ability to call on and compel them to work for what is best for Oak Ridge.
However, I feel my ability to collaborate with members of either party is a strength of mine as well.
I’m sure you will agree it is vitally important for Council to support whoever is elected mayor. As Benjamin Franklin eloquently stated, “If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.” The community needs to see that this Council can work together toward a common goal to help the city move in a positive direction.
Our community is at a crossroads. The decisions this Council makes in the coming session will shape our direction for a generation of current and future Oak Ridgers. I am committed to do all I can to move us in a positive direction and work toward attracting new families and additional diversified industries while continuing to help our existing businesses and residents.
I humbly ask for your support to the position of mayor.
R.G. (Rick) Chinn Jr.
Oak Ridge City Council member-elect