Six Nashville mayoral candidates met on Wednesday, March 14, at the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church for one of their first public forums to talk to residents about their goals for the future. 

Each mayoral hopeful had five minutes to tell Nashvillians why they should vote for him.

The six candidates come from diverse backgrounds.  They are politicians, attorneys, and businessmen.  They each spoke about how their experiences could help them guide the city of Nashville.

"Every mayor's race is about an opportunity for the city to look at the past and the future of the community," mayoral candidate David Briley said.

Education and how to improve Metro's low graduation rate was a big topic on everyone's agenda.

"We need a back to basics approach. We need more reading and math specialists and we need to make sure our schools have the latest technologies," mayoral candidate Bob Clemet said.

"Whether it's programs that deal with vocations, trades, encouraging kids to go to college, we need to be doing something. We need to be creative," mayoral hopeful Karl Dean said.

Each candidate agreed that keeping kids in school can also help fix another problem -- the rise of juvenile crime that plagues some Nashville neighborhoods. 

"We still have communities that are not safe. We have people who do not feel comfortable bringing their children outside the door, or even themselves," mayoral candidate Howard Gentry said.

The candidates talked about recruiting more police officer and other ways to improve public safety.

"We also need to start helping our local businesses prepare for all sorts of emergencies that threaten the safety of our employees," mayoral candidate Buck Dozier said.

Nashville has seen significant growth over the past decade, but some said more still needs to be done to help small businesses.

"First step - let's get red tape out of the government. Let's get it to where people can do business in Nashville," mayoral candidate Kenneth Eaton said.

In the next few months, expect to see and hear more from the candidates as they try to get Nashville's vote in August.

The forum was held at the Interdenominational Ministers' Fellowship Meeting. This is the first forum this IMF has held this year. Organizers said they do expect to hold another similar meeting before the election.


This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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