No one told me exactly how hard it would be to run for office. They told me about all the things I needed to do, all the people I needed to meet and all of the places I’d have to go. I stop every now and then and wonder, “What was I thinking?” Every time I ask the question, I remember that I’m running because no matter how hard it may be, I know I have what it takes and can make a positive impact on my neighborhood, my district and my city.
In my 29 years as a social worker I’ve been a community advocate, organizer, and activist for as long as I can remember. I marched with ACT-UP in New York City to demand better treatments for people living with HIV/AIDS. I marched in Washington, D.C. to demand equal rights for those of us who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. I’ve combed the streets of Nashville to count the number of homeless individuals in our city so we could secure the funding needed to create and sustain services to help find homes for our neighbors.
My experience as a professional social worker will bring a unique perspective to the council. I have spent my career working every day with people who are directly impacted by public policy decisions that are made by our council, our state and our country. The skills of community activism, needs assessment and problem-solving that I bring will be essential in meeting the needs of my district and our city. I have a wealth of experience in management, mediation, policy development, strategic planning, budget management and consensus building. I have created public policy and brought people to the table to focus on solutions to complicated issues. I want to work to ensure that my neighborhood and my district have the kind of solution-focused representation they need to address all of the concerns facing a rapidly growing city.
During the last several months I have spent countless hours meeting the great people who live in District 17. I have knocked on doors, gone to coffee gatherings, bar-b-ques, picnics, sat on front porches and in living rooms listening to what people need and want out of their next city council person.
As I have spent time listening, two primary concerns have been present in almost every conversation I have had; the need for improved transportation, including sidewalks and mass transit and concerns about the rapid development seen all over the city and throughout the neighborhoods of District 17. These two issues are inextricably linked and are interconnected with all of the complex issues facing our city.
Our growth has created a complicated web of needs that demand attention in our neighborhoods as that growth pushes out longtime residents, depletes our stock of affordable housing, crowds our streets and strains our infrastructure systems, from roads to sewers. We need a city council that can tackle all of these issues simultaneously in a thoughtful and deliberate way. We need to reevaluate our priorities and ensure our spending matches. Our people are our greatest asset and we need to focus our attention on our neighborhoods, addressing the need for improved infrastructure, attainable housing, and balanced growth while improving our education system; cultivating a strong sense of community and cooperation.
I believe one of the most important things a councilperson can do is to listen to her constituents. My skills and expertise in the art of listening will allow me to be responsive to the people that I will represent. The issues we face are not insurmountable. We can improve our infrastructure. We can improve our transit system. We can find ways to ensure there are affordable and low cost housing options for all the citizens of our city. We can seek answers to providing adequate funding to ensure quality education for each one of our city’s children. Together we can find the answers to tough questions about how we grow and define Nashville today, tomorrow, and for years to come. I have the experience, the motivation, the passion and the commitment to continue to move our city toward a bright future as the next council person for District 17.
Promoting the intimate understanding between the making of public policy and the impact on people’s lives is what I do best. I’m looking forward to bringing this perspective to the city council.
As much as we can celebrate, there is still much work to do (July 13, 2015)
What does it take to make a good council member (July 28, 2015)