Shane Burkett, a 32-year-old Hermitage resident, has become the first openly gay candidate for a seat on Nashville’s Metro Council.
Burkett will be running for Metro’s District 12. He will face incumbent Jim Gotto in the August 2, 2007 election. Early voting will be July 13 to 28.
Burkett is senior vice president of SBResults, LLC, a web design and marketing firm. He has lived in Hermitage for two and one-half years. He made his announcement on Friday night during the 8:30 p.m. show, Out & About Today TV, a GLBT news and information program on WTVF NewsChannel 5+. The show airs again on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10 p.m.
“I am proud to be running for Metro Council District 12,” Burkett said on the show.
David Taylor, who is a Nashville board member on Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, said the Fund has had discussions with Burkett and was excited to see him announce his candidacy.
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund is the nation’s largest GLBT political action committee and the only national organization dedicated to increasing the number of openly LGBT elected officials at all levels of government. Since 1991, the Victory Fund and its national donor network have helped hundreds of openly GLBT candidates win election to local, state and federal offices.
“I serve on the board of the Old Hickory Area Chamber of Commerce, and I am involved with the Donelson Hermitage Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce,” Burkett said. “I take a great interest in helping businesses and people better themselves and succeed in their endeavors. If there is any way to strike up conversation with me just ask about my ideas on business; be it technology, customer service, hiring and termination. Simply said, I love working with people and I love working in the community.”
Burkett is also executive vice president of Nashville’s GLBT Chamber of Commerce.
He and his partner, Lane Scoggin, started SBResults, LLC, in the fall of 2004.
“Our mission has been to assist small businesses with quality internet marketing solutions that leverages advanced technology allowing a fair playing ground between their clients and big-box corporations,” Burkett said. “We also handle the development of print collateral for clients.”
“I want the citizens of Nashville, Hermitage, the business and the GLBT community to know that they will have a representative positioned within city government that can fight for them,” Burkett said.
Burkett said he’s filed with the Davidson County Election Commission, and that he is in the process of collecting the required 25 signatures before the ballot qualification deadline of May 17.
Christopher Nadeau will be the campaign’s treasurer.
Burkett said he will be meeting with community leaders throughout Hermitage, along with school principals in the district, to get a feel on their needs in the community.
"The Victory Fund is thrilled to learn of Shane’s candidacy," Taylor said. "We have already had discussions between Shane and the Victory Fund’s Political Director, Jaime Fontaine, and our Southern Caucus Victory Cabinet Officer, Branden Lane. They are working with Shane to learn more about his campaign and his district. Shane is currently working on the application necessary for a Victory Fund endorsement, which, if approved, could lead to financial and technical support from the organization. Certainly the extensive training and strategy support resources that the Victory Fund provides all GLBT candidates are available to him immediately. "
Taylor said that with Burkett’s announcement, there would be at least two gay candadiates on the ballot for Metro Council.
"There is at least one other GLBT person running for public office of whom we are aware," he said. "He’s been very active in gaining the support of the community and business leaders in his district. He’s an effective, well-liked leader in his district, and we fully expect him to be elected in August. You’ll be hearing much more from this candidate after he makes his official announcement, and we are thrilled that at least two GLBT candidates will be running for office in Nashville this summer. Until he makes his announcement, I will not vocalize who this individual is. Like Shane, he will be going through the endorsement process."
Taylor thinks Burkett’s chances for getting elected are strong – pointing out his stong connections to the business community in Hermitage.
"I believe that his chances of winning are very strong," he said. "Shane is heavily involved in his local community, serving on three local chambers of commerce. He’s a small business owner who understands the challenges of running a business, meeting a payroll, etc. He understands the important link between education and good jobs and the need to support the businesses that provide good jobs in a community. He is an ordained minister who relates well to people of all faiths and who understands the value of a diverse, inclusive community. He has progressive ideas for the use of technology to improve our educational system without increasing taxes. And he’s committed to focus on the priorities of his district that he believes will make his district, and Nashville, better places in which to live. In short, he has the ideas, depth of experience, and commitment that make an outstanding member of the council."