Civics 101:
federal, State & Local Classes

Join us for a three-part series all about the government. All classes are in partnership with the Chattanooga Chapter of League of Women Voters and The Chattery. These classes are non-partisan and for informational purposes only.

All classes are free and take place at The Edney, Floor Five, located at 1100 Market Street in downtown Chattanooga.

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Local government:
Chattanooga & Hamilton County

July 12, 6pm - 7:30pm

Do you understand how your local government works? In this class we’re going to look into the Hamilton County and City of Chattanooga government. We’ll talk through the roles of the County and City Governments, the way that ordinances are passed, and also how to make your own perspectives and preferences known to our local representatives.

In this class we will discuss the basics of:

  • How the City and County governments are structured
  • How the City and County governments work together
  • How to make your voice heard

This class provides an opportunity to look at Chattanooga and Hamilton County government through the "glasses" of a former city and county planning and community development professional who has spent the past six years being a volunteer watchdog who champions government transparency and advocates for the public interest.

About the teacher:

Helen Burns Sharp is from Chattanooga. She has a BA in Political Science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and an MA in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. Her employment history includes 16 years as Principal Planner at the Tennessee State Planning Office, 3 years as County Planner for Cobb County, Georgia, and 18 years as Community Development Director for the City of Albany, Oregon. She started Community Development Consulting in 2008 and Accountability for Taxpayer Money (ATM) in 2014. She is currently President of the Downtown Owners' Collective and a board member of the Riverfront Business and Residential Partnership, the Unity Group of Chattanooga and the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government.

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State of tennessee

July 12, 6pm - 7:30pm

How well do you know the workings of Tennessee’s legislature? Do you know how the legislature’s decisions affect you personally?

Join us for a basic lesson about the Tennessee legislature. We’ll take a non-partisan look at this aspect of our state government and enjoy an interactive conversation about:

  • The structure of the legislature
  • Bills becoming law
  • How to make your voice heard

About the teacher:

April Goebeler is a native of East Tennessee. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia and New York Law School. She practiced civil litigation in Atlanta for five years prior to moving to Chattanooga, TN in 2013. April is actively involved in the League of Women Voters and the Mayor’s Council for Women. She is a founding member of Empower Women PAC, which recruits and trains women to run for political office.

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federal government

July 30, 6pm - 7:30pm

Do you understand how your local government works? In this class we’re going to look into the Hamilton County and City of Chattanooga government. We’ll talk through the roles of the County and City Governments, the way that ordinances are passed, and also how to make your own perspectives and preferences known to our local representatives.

In this class we will discuss the basics of:

  • How the City and County governments are structured
  • How the City and County governments work together
  • How to make your voice heard

About the teacher:

Lisa Bilbrey Hyder was born and raised in Cookeville, Tennessee. She received a B.A. in government from Smith College and spent time as a congressional intern. For over 25 years, Lisa worked as a technical writer, mostly in software development companies. Along the way, she spent a year studying at Emory University School of Law--alas, she did not complete her law degree, but she did meet her husband there. They lived for 10 years in Massachusetts, where Lisa served on her local school committee, and moved here with their two sons in 2004. Lisa is co-president of the League of Women Voters of Chattanooga and works in the English and History & Political Studies departments at Southern Adventist University.