published Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Greg Vital qualifies for Tennessee Senate bid


by Chris Carroll
Chattanooga developer Greg Vital in this file photo. Vital plans to run for the Tennessee State Senate.
Chattanooga developer Greg Vital in this file photo. Vital plans to run for the Tennessee State Senate.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

GREG VITAL

Marital status: Married with two children

Occupation: President of Independent Healthcare Properties in Collegedale

Political experience: Served four-year term on the Collegedale City Commission; served as a board member for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority

Chattanooga developer Greg Vital has qualified for the Republican primary in the state Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Andy Berke.

Vital, the president of Independent Healthcare Properties in Collegedale, was OK'd to run after enough registered voters signed his nominating petition. The petition allows him to run in the 10th Senate District GOP primary in August.

Redistricting this year made the 10th District more Republican with the addition of several GOP-heavy Hamilton County municipalities, including East Ridge, along with a large portion of Bradley County. All of Vital's nominating signatures came from Hamilton County.

Vital, a 56-year-old Missionary Ridge resident, said the district's new look fits with his business background.

"The newly drawn district provides a unique opportunity to form new partnerships and to continue the economic growth in Bradley and Hamilton counties we've seen over the past few years," he said in a news release. "I've spent my business career creating jobs and working on efforts that preserve some of Tennessee's special places. I want to take these two passions and put them to work in the state Senate."

Vital's campaign treasurer is Chattanooga accountant Tom Decosimo, the finance man behind U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann's record 3rd Congressional District haul of $320,000 in the final quarter of 2011. Vital is on the host committee for a $2,500-per-couple Fleischmann fundraiser scheduled for Thursday.

"As a business guy, I'm humbled by his success," Decosimo said. "He's entrepreneurial and very generous."

Vital is the first 10th District candidate successfully to submit his qualifying petition. A former executive at Life Care Centers of America in Cleveland, he was elected to the Collegedale City Commission in 1979 and served as a board member for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority in the 1980s.

State Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, and Chattanooga businessman Todd Gardenhire also have obtained qualifying petitions to run in the 10th District Republican primary. Hamilton County Board of Education member David Testerman has done the same on the Democratic side.

To qualify as candidates, the men must return signed petitions to election commissions in Hamilton and Bradley counties by April 5 at noon.

Berke, who has served in the Legislature since 2007, announced he wouldn't run for re-election after redistricting. He has hinted at a Chattanooga mayoral run, but hasn't announced anything final.

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