Chattanooga’s Joda Thongnopnua announced he’s seeking the Democratic nomination for the Tennessee House of Representatives in District 30. (Photo: Contributed)

Joda Thongnopnua announced Thursday that he’s seeking the Democratic nomination for the Tennessee House of Representatives in District 30 with an aim to focus on working families.

“Working families in Tennessee deserve someone who’s going to fight for them, not just another empty suit who’s only running to rubber stamp a failed agenda of politicians in Nashville,” he said in a prepared statement. “That’s why I’m running, to make sure voters have a clear choice: someone with substance or more of the same.”

Talking points and partisan politics aren’t in his game plan, he said. Thongnopnua, who grew up in East Ridge, aims to focus his campaign on “bread-and-butter economic issues,” such as raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid and fighting predatory lending practices.


He made his announcement Thursday morning in East Ridge’s Pioneer Frontier Park and highlighted his background, including his family’s story of working their way into the middle class:

I was raised in a working family in East Ridge, so I know firsthand that we can’t afford to elect a politician who will settle for two more years of the same problems. I watched my parents work hard to provide for my sisters and I. Sometimes, that meant making tough choices. But that never shook their core belief that if they worked hard, played by the rules and did the right thing, they could achieve the American dream. But because of the inaction and negligence of our state Legislature, too many Tennesseans are falling further behind and find themselves locked out of the promise of opportunity. 

Thongnopnua is the executive director of Metro Ideas Project, a nonprofit urban policy startup that helps cities like Chattanooga work better, smarter and for the good of all citizens.

Tennessee’s 30th House District includes the East Lake, Missionary Ridge, East Ridge, Brainerd, East Brainerd, Concord, Apison and Collegedale communities.

Rep. Marc Gravitt currently has the seat, but he announced he’s not seeking re-election and instead will run for Hamilton County register of deeds.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

For more about Thongnopnua, click here