Meet Your Candidates Why are you running for mayor? CLEMMONS: Because the city needs leadership, and we need direction and a vision for the future of our city. I feel very passionately about the issues facing the city. I’ve been working on transportation, infrastructure, education, affordable housing and other issues at the state level throughout my tenure in the State House, and we’ve had some success in what can fairly be described as a tough environment in the state legislature these days, not only for Nashville but as a Democrat. I just feel very passionate about those issues. As my wife and I, like other families sitting around town saying Nashville is experiencing all this prosperity and we’re having this great boom, but we don’t know what the plan is for the city moving forward. Nobody knows what the plan is. What’s the city doing to address the issues that everybody cares about—education, affordable housing, transportation and other infrastructure issues, public safety? There is no plan. There is no leadership. I’m running to bring that to the mayor’s office. It’s time for a fresh start in this city. We need change, and we need a vision for the future. BRILEY: Nashville is a place I love, and I’ve had a great year leading the city forward, addressing the issues of growth while still trying to make sure we’re prosperous. I’m focused on the issues of equity that are so important to our city to make sure that everybody gets a chance to move along together with the rest of us. I think I’m uniquely qualified, both based on my experience as mayor and as a resident of Nashville, to move the city forward.
SWAIN: Well, I was approached by a number of people who asked me to run. I’ve lived here long enough to care about the future of the city, and I was concerned about some of the same things they were concerned about. I did not see anyone last year, when I first ran, who was articulating the issues that I thought were important. I was persuaded to get into the race last time and again this time. This year, I did not anticipate running for office, but the problems have only worsened since last year. I’m running, not for myself or because I’ve had this lifelong desire to be in politics. I’ve loved studying politics and I like educating people about how government is supposed to operate, but I saw my role as a citizen as a role of informing other people and trying to hold politicians accountable. My whole brand has been “be the people,” you know, trying to get the American people to realize that the power lies in their hands. It’s up to them to hold elected officials accountable. So that’s what I’ve been talking about for the last 10 or 15 years. So, I did not see myself as a person who would run for office. I don’t like the sound of politician because it has a negative connotation. I really don’t want to ever be a politician. I’m consoling myself with the belief that I don’t have to be a politician—that I can be a stateswoman and that there is a need for people who are statesmen and stateswomen who go into public service not for themselves, but to serve other people. And so that’s my honest answer. I did not see this coming. COOPER: Well, it’s the most exciting city in the country, and we have the chance to make the next chapter our greatest chapter.
What do you consider to be Nashville’s greatest strengths? Greatest vulnerabilities? CLEMMONS: The greatest strengths of Nashville is its people, the people of Nashville. We come together when disasters strike, and we stand together when people seek to divide us. If there’s some sort of legislation, you know, for instance in the state legislature, Nashvillians come together and stand against these types of things. This is a city that got hit with a flood, and Nashvillians rallied around each other and got each other through that disaster. Nashvillians came together and opposed English-only, which is a blatantly discriminatory piece of legislation or a referendum and we defeated that. Nashvillians are what makes this city great. They are what makes Nashville, Nashville. It’s a welcoming city, it’s an incredibly diverse city. People come here from all over the world every week. A lot decided to stay here, and so that’s what’s great. You can drive across I-40 from the East Coast all the way to the West Coast and you can pass a hundred different cities and they all look the same. But Nashville is different. Nashville stands out. We’re a unique city with great people, and that’s our biggest strength. Our biggest weaknesses are lack of leadership and a lack of vision right now in our government. We have serious issues facing the city, and there is no plan for how to address them. There’s no action on addressing those issues. So we’ve gotten into a situation where we have to ask ourselves: are we ready for continued growth in this city or are we going to fail to do anything and allow our prosperity to plateau? There’s a serious
June–July 2019 | 372WN.com