Oak Ridge City Council member Jim Dodson is running for a second four-year term in the November 3 municipal election.
Dodson has been a teacher in Oak Ridge Schools for 33 years.
He was elected to City Council in November 2016, and he serves as the Council representative on the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission and Youth Advisory Board.
In a press release, Dodson said he has a strong record of community service and leadership on several civic boards, organizations, and commissions.
“I will definitely work alongside my Oak Ridge and East Tennessee neighbors for a better quality of life in our community,” Dodson said. “I hope to continue giving our residents a voice on City Council and promoting excellent educational opportunities for all our kids and young adults.
“I will also continue to help recruit businesses and families to Oak Ridge as the place to relocate. I look forward to working as an Oak Ridge City Council member to maintain and improve all city services while providing safe and thriving neighborhoods.”
Dodson said he has found Oak Ridge to be the perfect place to work and raise a family. He said he has been fortunate to have the support from his wife Becky Dodson, an administrator with Tennova Healthcare, and his daughter Laura and son-in-law Joe Carpenter, both physical therapists in the area.
As an educator, he said he feels fortunate to have helped guide thousands of young people through their middle school years. The art teacher has given students many opportunities to exhibit their works publicly in the region and the state, including displays of student and adult art in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building, the American Museum of Science and Energy, as well as large-scale outdoor murals and sculptures throughout Oak Ridge.
During the past three years, Dodson said, he is most proud of working with council members to support the city and schools through the completion of a new Senior Center and Preschool, as well as supporting additional school resource officers, providing a proactive response to safety. Dodson also said that he has enjoyed working with the Oak Ridge Planning Commission and City Council in adopting the new “Oak Ridge City Blueprint.” The most gratifying part of the process was and continues to be receiving comments from citizens and seeing those ideas implemented in Oak Ridge, Dodson said.
In the press release, Dodson said Oak Ridge has made several positive advances during his term on Council. The city is currently seeing new housing developments such as the Preserve at Clinch River, Forest Creek, and Harbor Point, and several positive strides with some of the legacy homes, the press release said.
“Our city is also poised to see a wonderful mixed use downtown created on Wilson Street near the American Museum of Science and Energy in the next few years and a Rails to Trails program connecting most of our town with a jogging and bike path on the old CSX railroad line,” Dodson said.
During the past decade, Dodson has served as board member, president and director of the Arts Council of Oak Ridge. He has also served as chairperson of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, now known as Explore Oak Ridge, as a board member with Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties (ADFAC), as a member of the AMSE Foundation board, as a member of the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association board and the Secret City Festival Board. He also is a member and past president of the Sunset Rotary Club of Oak Ridge.
In 2015, Dodson served as co-chair of the United Way of Anderson County annual giving campaign. “The most heart-warming moments were visiting the leaders, volunteers, and clients of the more than 30 agencies served to see how the contributions from generous donors benefit so many of our neighbors,” Dodson said. “The residents of Oak Ridge are fortunate to benefit from these outstanding organizations and volunteers.”
Dodson said he wants “to continue to get the word out that Oak Ridge is no longer a ‘Secret City,’ but an excellent community to visit, conduct business, vacation, and raise a family.”