The Progress PAC political action committee has endorsed Jim Dodson, Joe Lee, and Hans Vogel for Oak Ridge City Council in the November 8 election.
The endorsements were announced Wednesday.
“From a crowded field of seven outstanding city council candidates, these three most clearly met the committee’s criteria, which includes support of the mission, vision, and legislative priorities of the Oak Ridge Chamber and a willingness to work closely with the Oak Ridge Board of Education,” Progress PAC Chairman Stephen Whitson said in a press release.
Established two years ago by the Chamber’s Board of Directors, the PAC operates autonomously from the Chamber’s Board.
“Our city has an extraordinarily well qualified group of candidates to choose from and our committee is very appreciative to those who participated in our process and the willingness of every candidate to serve the community,” Whitson said.
Progress PAC only supports candidates who submitted written answers to committee questionnaires and who later participated in interview discussions with PAC members. Nine out of 10 candidates for the Oak Ridge Board of Education and the Oak Ridge City Council went through that process, Whitson said. The PAC previously announced support for incumbent school board candidates Keys Fillauer and Angi Agle.
John Smith, Progress PAC treasurer, said that the committee will not collaborate with any candidate’s campaign and will not financially contribute to any candidate’s committee.
“Our support is made in the form of independent advertising expenditures,” Smith said. “They are made possible by personal and corporate financial contributions made directly to the PAC, which is still accepting donations.”
He added that, as in past endorsements, the committee did not share its decision with candidates.
“But all nine candidates who went through PAC interviews asked for our support,” Smith said.
In addition to Whitson and Smith, Progress PAC members are Mike Belbeck, Chris Johnson, and Stacy Myers. All committee members are Oak Ridge residents.
More information will be added as it becomes available.