Boyd Blasts Chattanooga Chamber Over Baseless Claims of Systemic Racism

“Why Does It Seem That Over The Last Year And A Half, There Seems To Be A Preoccupation Of The Chamber Getting Into Political And Racial Issues? The Chamber Is Supported By This County To Create Jobs.”  – Commissioner Boyd

Chattanooga, Tennessee At Night

Photo Credit: Background Image / Hamilton County TN Gov [youtube]

Published May 13, 2021

The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

Hamilton County, TN – On March 12th, Christy Gillenwater, Chattanooga Chamber President and CEO presented the ‘Chattanooga Climbs’ funding proposal for Fiscal Year 2022 to the Hamilton County Commission and Mayor Jim Coppinger. 

After Gillenwater’s presentation, Chairman Baker opened the floor for questions from the Commission. 

District 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd asked Gillenwater, “Why does it seem that over the last year and a half, there seems to be a preoccupation of the Chamber getting into political and racial issues?”  

Gillenwater responded, “Everything we are doing is focused on ‘how can we make talent, people in our community, those who want to come to our community, feel like they have a place here, feel included.” 

Boyd replied, “It just seems to me, prior to you taking the position as Chamber president, there wasn’t a lot of talk about this and we were growing as fast as we could grow.  And bringing this issue to the forefront, with comment after comment and letters, and asking our community to make pledges, it doesn’t seem like that’s a function of the Chamber. The Chamber is supported by this county to create jobs.” 

Boyd stated that generally hearing of the Chamber’s successes in driving more jobs to the area is a “hoo-rah moment,” but said, “it’s not such a hoo-rah moment when the Chamber has mission drift that is not in compliance with what I perceive to be their mission and that’s job creation.” 

Boyd stated that he wants the Chamber to stay focused on job creation. 

Addressing Gillenwater, Boyd said, “When you look back at the first statement you gave to the papers when you came here, ‘you love the community.’ You didn’t come here to change the community, you can here to help grow the community.  What I read is you’re trying to change what we created here in our community over the last 50 years.” 

District 4 Commissioner Mackey took his turn at the mic addressing Boyd, “You made reference to how Hamilton County lost business and nobody has said anything about it.  Well, say something about the black talent who continue to come in and stay a year or two and then leave because of the environment they find here in Hamilton County, which is not inclusive.  What about those black folk that live in your district? Are you going to fight for them? Are you going to speak for them?” 

Boyd responded, “Commissioner Mackey, I just said the Chamber’s job is to create jobs.  If you want to talk about policy and social issues, that is an elected official’s job.  That’s our job.  If it’s not being discussed on this bench, that’s one issue.” 

“We’re talking about funding an agency that’s supposed to be creating jobs and they’re putting more social and racial issues before the community than doing their job to create jobs.  If we want to have that discussion up here, I’m all about it.  I’m not about funding non-profits that have a mission statement to bring jobs and grow our revenue base and them get into social and racial issues.  It’s just not their job,” Boyd concluded. 

During Gillenwater’s presentation to the council, she spoke of some of the Chamber’s accomplishments including the foundation’s ‘Tell the World’ job creation campaign that was founded in 2003. 

“This remarkable collaboration between our organization and other community partners has yielded 159 Chamber-assisted job projects, valued at almost $5.2 billion dollars, producing more that 24,000 high-quality living-wage jobs in Hamilton County,” Gillenwater said. 

Gillenwater also shared more recent numbers that she attributed to the Chamber’s efforts. 

“Our key economic development numbers since July of 2019 have yielded 13 project announcements, 1,921 jobs, $48,748 average wage to those jobs and $895 million in new capital investment,” said Gillenwater. 

Gillenwater stated that the Chamber’s request for funding has not increased for Fiscal Year 2022 over recent years. 

Commissioner Boyd asked Gillenwater about the net permanent job increase in Hamilton County over the same period of time. 

“I know there’s been several businesses leave, that’s something we never talk about much in these chambers and I know that the Chamber doesn’t talk much about that.  I’d like to know the net increase,” Boyd said. 

Gillenwater stated that the one-year growth rate of jobs in Tennessee overall is down 2.6%, whereas Chattanooga is down 3.2%.  The country overall is down 4.4%. 

GIllenwater stated that there are over 11,000 jobs posted on the Chattanooga Calling website, but they are going fulfilled. 

“Our economy is growing, the challenge is talent, finding people to fulfill those jobs,” Gillenwater said. 

Keep Tennessee Conservative - The Tennessee Conservative -Donate

6 thoughts on “Boyd Blasts Chattanooga Chamber Over Baseless Claims of Systemic Racism

  • May 13, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    As part of a biracial marriage, and a dedicated practicing Christian, I am firmly of the belief that we are all created by the same God and descended from the same parents. There is simply no place for racism or attempting to elevate one above another on the basis of skin color of national origin.

    By all means be supportive of growing our community and providing a good environment for growth, but PLEASE leave off the politics, social activism, and divisive behavior!

    I did not leave DC for Chattanooga in order to become embedded in racism again!

    • May 14, 2021 at 12:34 am

      Our nation has seen, and now the CCC is pursuing, the promotion of idea such as critical race theory (CRT). CRT is an outcropping from Marxism. CRT promotes a victimhood mentality. Instead of bourgeoisie vs proletariat it has become white vs black (people of color), straight vs gay, the horrid white patriarchy, trans-rights, relative morality and any number of other grievances. It promotes feelings over facts and feelings over science. It promotes and glorifies PC which in turn demands restrictions on free speech. It calls for the breakdown and destruction of our past and history.
      The result is the tremendous divisiveness currently rampant across our nation. It destroys our common language, the definition of terms and standard of morality, without which we have lost our way and our unity.
      The CCC and some of our largest foundations are now controlled by those determined to promote this destructive agenda.

    • May 18, 2021 at 12:42 am

      Yes we all have a body,soul,and spirit…thereby treat all as you would want to be treated.
      Keep politics out of our CHATT.chamber

  • May 13, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    Knowing that the Chamber of Commerce has gotten into politics, if I had anything to do with funding that agency I’d immediately stop funding it. They have absolutely no right to say and do things that do not only serve to divide people but also creates racial hostility and a barrier to Conservative business owners.

    I never heard Gillenwater address the effect that their apparent move towards communism has had towards businesses owned by Conservatives not electing to come to the local area because of the Marxist stance of the Chamber. I know I wouldn’t operate a business in that place much less even spend money there now that I know of the fool that is in charge of the Chamber.

    In conclusion, if it were me , I’d fire the idiot named Gillenwater and replace the reprobate with some one who has the values of most Tennesseans and Conservative Americans.

  • May 14, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    This area is desirable. Many are moving here from areas less desirable because of liberal mismanagement. We welcome them but ask that they leave those destructive leanings behind. CEO Gillenwater does not share our values and should be replaced.

    • May 25, 2021 at 7:34 am

      I totally agree with Ms. Pettigrew! Thank you, Tim Boyd, for addressing this issue! The Chamber has no business meddling in politics!!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *