County Commission Dist. 11
Term: 4 yearsThe commissioner makes policy for the county, adopts county budgets, approves taxation and financial decisions, adopts ordinances, and makes land-use decisions. The commissioner is responsible for all county legal matters, health services, social services, highway and other safety programs, personnel, benefits, grievances, recreational facilities, county roads, sewers, solid waste, all county vehicles, garages, and parking lots. The commissioner also approves the sale of delinquent tax property.
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Joseph “Joe” Graham
What was your impression of the county’s redistricting process and the new 11-district map adopted last fall?
What is your position on providing discretionary funds to each Hamilton County commissioner?
A Chattanooga Times Free Press report states that homelessness in Hamilton County increased 81% in one year. How would you work to remedy the situation of homelessness in our county?
What is your position on the county relinquishing control of Erlanger Hospital?
Do you think there is sufficient diversity in county government? If not, how would you change that?
I believe that the county’s redistricting process should be more transparent and community-focused by publicizing each step and asking for input along the way. In my opinion, communities like East Lake and Alton Park were overlooked with the drawing of the new map. Each neighborhood in District 11 faces different sets of challenges, and they all deserve representation that will work with them to navigate solutions and build stronger communities.
I believe that discretionary funds should be provided as long as it is read and recorded at commission meetings how these funds will be used. It is important that constituents are able to easily access information regarding how discretionary and other county funds are being spent.
As County Commissioner, I want to expand access to behavioral health and counseling services to assist our community members experiencing homelessness. Along with promoting access to affordable housing and accessible employment, I believe it’s also important to invest in opportunities that foster safety and stability in all facets of life for our homeless population.
According to a 2022 article from the Times Free Press, the Erlanger system is the largest area provider for low-income and uninsured patients. I believe that the priorities in this proposed transition should be ensuring continued access to low-cost medical care and protecting the 6,300 workers that make Erlanger one of Hamilton County’s largest employers.
I do not believe that there is sufficient diversity in our county government. Our county government should better reflect the diverse population of people that live and work in Hamilton County. As County Commissioner, I would like to continue to focus on mentoring marginalized groups and building future leaders to ensure equal access to opportunities for advancement.
My impression of the redistricting that has happened is, that it is very important for proper representation, of all communities, to be very involved in the entire process. The Commissioners had no intention of adding districts until I went to them and presented the facts that would make our County better by adding more districts. I proposed a total of 18 districts hoping to get at least 15 districts and the commission settled on 11. The reason I proposed more districts is so most, if not all
Discretionary funds are a very good tool for getting many needed projects done in our communities, if used properly. The problem became abuse of these funds. If these were to ever be used again, there would have to be strenuous rules on how they can be used.
Homelessness is a situation that will take all of us working together to change. I will work closely together with our churches, businesses, foundations, and the communities to make a long-term plan to make it better. There is a lot of work to be done, it’s only going to increase in numbers if we do not come together and work together to make and implement a plan to remedy our homeless situation.
Erlanger Hospital is one of our most valuable assets, to relinquish control is a question that would need many, many discussions. We need to do what is best to ensure the longevity of our hospital for many years to come.
For several years as a past Chairman of Diversity on the Hamilton County Commission, this is an issue I am very concerned about. Today with such a shortage of workers, we have to work twice as hard to fill many positions. A place to begin would be more job training and flexibility. This is an issue that will take attention and determination to make better, a task that I am ready for!
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