After careful consideration of the candidates and their positions, Out & About Newspaper is making the following endorsements for the August 4 election (early voting begins July 15 and ends July 30). We encourage our readers to vote in this important election.

The current Metro Government has set the bar high for cities and counties across Tennessee in terms of advances for equality.  Metro adopted an inclusive non-discrimination policy for government employees in 2009 and applied that same policy to employees of government contractors in 2011.  With reports of socially conservative groups getting active in the August 4 election, it is important that the GLBT community turn out to vote so that we can continue to make gains.

Mayor—Karl Dean

Mayor Dean has supported and signed two non-discrimination ordinances and directed his administration to lobby actively against HB600, a state law that eventually nullified Metro’s 2011 contractor non-discrimination ordinance.  At this year’s Pride, he told the crowd, “We’re with you,” and he has consistently demonstrated his support.

Vice Mayor—Diane Neighbors

Vice Mayor Neighbors has not had to cast any controversial tie-breaking votes on equal rights ordinances, but her inclusive outreach to our community is always appreciated.  Last year, she was the keynote speaker at the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition’s dinner.

Council Members At-Large

Every voter in Nashville-Davidson County has the opportunity to vote for five candidates in the at-large race.  Based on their support of the Contract Accountability Non-Discrimination Ordinance, we recommend the following: Megan Barry, Jerry Maynard, Ronnie Steine, Vivian Wilhoite, Sam Coleman.

Barry, Steine, and Maynard were all sponsors of the 2009 non-discrimination ordinance.  In addition, Barry and Steine were cosponsors of the 2011 CAN DO law.

District 1—Lonnell Matthews

Councilman Matthews was a sponsor of the 2009 NDO and voted for CAN DO.

District 2—Frank Harrison

Councilman Harrison voted for the NDO and CAN DO.

District 3—No endorsement

Incumbent Councilman Hunt is unopposed and abstained on third reading of CAN DO

District 4—Brady Banks

Banks, who received our endorsement when he ran at-large in 2007, receives our endorsement for his district race.

District 5—Scott Davis

Davis has reached out positively to our community and we believe he would continue to as a councilman.

District 6—Peter Westerholm

The district boasts many progressive candidates, but Westerholm gets the edge because he has been the public policy chair for the Tennessee Equality Project and continued to support equality initiatives after he left the organization’s board. He is the embodiment of an ally.

District 7—Anthony Davis

Current District 7 Councilman Eric Cole will be hard to replace, but Davis’s business endorsed CAN DO and his guest editorial in the Tennessean in support of the ordinance showed equality is one of his core commitments.

District 8—Nancy VanReece

VanReece has run an effective campaign emphasizing the neighbors in her district.  She has been active in support of our community organizations for years.  Her opponent, incumbent Karen Bennett, voted against the CAN DO law on third reading.

District 9—No endorsement

Candidate Bill Pridemore is unopposed.

District 10—No endorsement

We haven’t seen any positive or negative indication from either candidate.

District 11—Darren Jernigan

Councilman Jernigan voted for the NDO and CAN DO.  He is opposed by a socially conservative candidate.

District 12—Steve Glover

Said to be conservative, Glover nevertheless voted for inclusive non-discrimination policies for Metro teachers and students as a school board member.  He is unopposed.

District 13—Marilyn Robinson

Robinson has reached out to our community and would welcome the support of her campaign. 

District 14—No endorsement, but a recommendation

Councilman Bruce Stanley did not vote in favor of the NDO or CAN DO, but his opponent is reported to be more socially conservative.  Stanley did support Councilwoman Barry’s resolution opposing HB600, though.  For that reason, we recommend a vote for Stanley. 

District 15—No endorsement

Councilman Phil Claiborne is unfortunately unopposed.  He spoke and voted against the NDO and CAN DO.  If you live in this district, consider writing in your own name.

District 16—Anna Page

Councilwoman Page supported both the NDO and CAN DO.

District 17—Sandra Moore

Councilwoman Moore supported both the NDO and CAN DO

District 18—David Glasgow

Glasgow has actively campaigned for the office for months while his opponent got into the race a bit later. Glasgow has been an active supporter of our community for a number of years and has a wealth of neighborhood and government experience. We believe he would be an effective advocate of policy that advances equality.

District 19—Erica Gilmore

Councilwoman Gilmore is nothing less than a champion of equality.  She has a perfect voting record on equality ordinances and was a sponsor of CAN DO.  She defended CAN DO against the Legislature’s attacks and is a plaintiff in the suit to overturn HB600.  We call on members of our community, regardless of your district, to support and volunteer for her campaign.

District 20—Buddy Baker

Councilman Baker was a sponsor of the NDO and voted for CAN DO. He has the distinction of being, as far as we know, the only Council Member who is a parent of a gay child, a son who was tragically lost to HIV/AIDS. As well as his long history with his West Nashville district, he has a perspective that we need on Council.

District 21—Edith Taylor Langster

Councilwoman Langster voted for the NDO and CAN DO. She is unopposed.

District 22—Seanna Brandmeier

A former executive director of the Davidson Co Democratic Party, Brandmeier has received a warm reception from members of our community who have already volunteered in her campaign.  Her openness will be a welcome change from Councilman Eric Crafton who currently holds the seat.

District 23—Emily Evans

Councilwoman Evans voted for the NDO and CAN DO despite the fact that socially conservative organizations targeted her vote during the discussion of both ordinances.

District 24—Jason Holleman

Councilman Holleman voted for the NDO and CAN DO.  In addition, voters should know that he rushed to a Council meeting that he might have otherwise missed due to conflicts so that he could cast a vote for CAN DO.  We are grateful for his effort because every single vote mattered that night.

District 25—Sean McGuire

Councilman McGuire was a sponsor of the NDO and voted for CAN DO.

District 26—Chris Harmon

Harmon has reached out to our community and would welcome our support.

District 27—Davette Blalock

Blalock has reached out to our community and would welcome our support.

District 28—Tanaka Vercher

A veteran, Vercher has reached out to our community and publicized her endorsement by TEP PAC.

District 29—Karen Johnson

As a school board member, Johnson voted for inclusive non-discrimination policies for Metro teachers and students.

District 30—No endorsement

Incumbent Jim Hodge fiercely opposed the NDO and CAN DO.  His opponent Jason Potts is reportedly as socially conservative.

District 31—Fabian Bedne

When he was president of  the Middle TN Hispanic Democrats, Bedne led the organization to endorse the NDO.

District 32—Markeith Braden

Both Braden and opponent Jacobia Dowell were praised by TEP PAC.  Braden gets the edge for being supportive of CAN DO and reaching out to the community when the bill passed Metro Council.

District 33—Page Turner

Turner has the best chance of defeating incumbent Robert Duvall who aggressively opposed the NDO and CAN DO.

District 34—No endorsement

Councilman Todd voted for the NDO and against CAN DO.  He is unopposed.

District 35—Bo Mitchell

Councilman Mitchell voted for the NDO and for CAN DO.

 

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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