Nancy VanReece is Tennessee’s first out lesbian elected to legislative body

nancy vanreece in the field for web.jpg

Nashville has elected two LGBT persons to its 40-member council.

In a runoff election for district 8 held September 10, Nancy VanReece's total vote count (from early, absentee, and election day voting) was 1,347. Her opponent in that race was Chris Swann who earned 918 votes.

With this win, VanReece has become the first out lesbian elected to legislative body in Tennessee.

Earlier, during the initial election on August 6, residents of East Nashville's district 6 handily lent their support to Brett Withers with 2,144 votes in his race against incumbent Peter Westerholm, who earned 1,315 votes.

In an email to supporters, VanReece said, in part:

As a council member, my top priorities will be to protect and enhance the amazing diversity of our neighborhoods, and to ensure that the incredible potential of the Gallatin and Dickerson Rd corridors will be realized.

Special thanks to my wife, Joan VanReece. You have had my heart for over 27 years. Without your thoughtful wisdom and encouragement, I would not be where I am today.

Indeed, Nashville’s best years are yet to come and it is my honor to help ensure that they do.

The biggest news of the evening across all of Metro Nashville was that of Megan Barry, who became the first female mayor of Nashville. The writing was on the wall the moment early voting numbers were posted: a 5,000 vote lead eventually expanded, once all precincts had reported, to just under 11,000. The final vote totals were:

Megan Barry   60,519
David Fox       49,694

Chris Sanders, on behalf of the Tennessee Equality Project, offered these words, also in an email to supporters:

Nashville voters completed the process of electing another pro-equality majority in Metro Government, the 3rd time that has happened now, vindicating the progress that has been made in the city over the last 8 years.

Now the task before us over the next four years in Nashville and other cities and counties is to pursue the local government advocacy agenda–transitional housing for LGBT youth, affordable, inclusive housing for LGBT seniors, transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees, LGBT competency training for health-related divisions in city government, and much more.

Watch Nashville's newest mayor, Megan Barry, speak to supporters on election night (via The Tennessean).




photo via Twitter