Chuck Hope Jr. is seeking re-election to Oak Ridge City Council in the November 8 election.
In a press release, Hope said he wants to continue representing the city in such things as the Energy Communities Alliance, which recently took him to Washington, D.C., to meet with U.S. Department of Energy officials and federal legislators.
“We want to make sure that our legislators are current on issues that matter most to Oak Ridgers,” Hope said.
During the visit, Hope and Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson met with David Klaus, under secretary for management and performance at DOE headquarters. They discussed Oak Ridge’s status in the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and water treatment plant upgrades.
Hope said he is known for his community involvement and support. He served on the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors, and the Oak Ridge Beer Permit Board before being appointed to Council. Hope was selected by a council majority in July 2011 to fill a vacated City Council seat, and he successfully ran for election in 2012. (Hope actually won twice in 2012, first winning a three-month term in a special election in August and then getting elected to a four-year term in a regular municipal election in November.)
Hope has been a local businessman for 34 years. He owns Chuck’s Car Care Center on Oak Ridge Turnpike.
While on Council, he has completed the Elected Officials Academy I and II, or EOA, of the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service. The EOA is a program designed exclusively for municipal elected officials.
“Over the past four years, we’ve had a significant shift in retail,” Hope said. “Not even counting the downtown area (the whole Council has been discussing ways to develop the mall and bring that project forward), with retail changing along the Turnpike and along Illinois, corridors are shifting—along with the way Oak Ridgers seek out retail opportunities.
“One of the best improvements has been the continued development of our greenways and waterways, which continues to enhance our city’s beauty. Our legacy housing is something we’ve worked hard on and continue to improve as well. We have recently won $3.5 million in grants to help legacy homes, and we need to continue to find ways to entice and encourage new residents within the city.”
As a member of the Chamber of Commerce since 2004, Hope has participated in many activities, which allowed him to see how the Chamber works within the community, the press release said. In 2008, he was appointed to the Chamber’s Board of Directors, and was named the vice chair of organizational value, as well as a member of the Housing Advisory Committee. In 2009, he was elected as the chair-elect and served on the board of Tech 2020 to gain the insight of that organization. In 2010, Hope became the chairman of the Chamber Board, working very closely with Chamber President Parker Hardy and then-Interim City Manager Gary Cinder on the annual contract between the city and the Chamber, updating it from a yearly contract to a three-year term contract with new measurables and a scope of work, the release said.
Hope said he uses every opportunity to promote the city, using the premise that the City of Oak Ridge is a desirable place to live and work.
“As you know, you can either look at a glass (as) half-full or half-empty,” he says. “I believe the same goes for a city. Do we have work to do? Yes. But we have real opportunity that no other city in the state has, since we are one of the largest economic drivers in the state.”
Hope says marketing tourism as an economic driver for Oak Ridge is essential because of the city’s natural beauty, unique waterfront, extensive parks and greenways, and historic relevance.
“Now, with the recent announcement about our national park status, history will play an ever-increasing role in the city,” he said. “Also, I will continue to support the design proposal for the new Senior Center and work toward making that a reality. It is long overdue and it’s time to make it happen.
In the press release, Hope said the Oak Ridge school system is one of the city’s biggest attributes, but it has ever-increasing budget demands, unfunded mandates, and a growing need to help economically challenged children.
“We have to find new ways to strive for excellence in our school system,” Hope said. “We have recently made a large commitment to support our schools, and we must continue to pursue things like our new pre-K building, which is part of our educational goals. For us to continue to run a successful and expensive school system, we have to encourage young professionals and young families to move into Oak Ridge for the opportunities here.”
He said the city’s relationship with the Chamber of Commerce and other economic partners must continue to grow and adapt.
“The dynamics of the business world are always changing,” Hope said. “Every town, city, and county surrounding us has aggressively adapted. Therefore, we must work even harder in order to recruit industry, retain jobs, and entice retail.
“I personally believe our city ‘glass’ is more than half full, and with a strong Council, a very good vision, and no fear to make the right decisions, we will continue to work in the right direction and move our great city forward.”
Hope graduated from Oak Ridge Schools and attended Roane State Community College. He is a graduate of Leadership Oak Ridge (2005) and a graduate of the Management Success Program (2004).
Hope is one of three City Council members whose seats are up for re-election in November at the end of four-year terms. The other two incumbents, if they seek re-election, are Trina Baughn and Charlie Hensley.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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