Last year, as a community, we wrote and called our Nashville Metro Council members and let them know that we wanted them to support the proposal that would enable the MLS stadium to be built at the Fairgrounds. Many of us attended hours of Metro Council meetings (and got a civics lesson on just how the boring they are) to show our support for the stadium.
Our Council delivered.
Now, it’s our turn to do our part to support those who supported the stadium.
We have a Metro Council election coming up, and everyone who is going to run has already filed, so it makes sense to reflect on who supported the stadium and who might need our support in the election. While I realize that each of us votes on more than one issue, many of us have contacted our council members on precisely one issue. We asked one thing from them. If that’s the case, I hope you will take seriously the charge to give back now.
Before I move into the individual races, I want to stress a few things: first, let me be clear that giving back can mean a lot of things: you can donate funding to the campaign, you can contact each campaign to see if you can volunteer to knock on doors or make phone calls; you can use your own social media outlets to let friends know who you are voting for. Whatever you do, I hope you’ll let the candidates know that because they supported us, you are supporting them. Information (including emails) for reaching Council members can be found here.
Second, I will only be discussing those districts which have candidates who voted for or against the stadium, and I will put strongest emphasis when those candidates have opposition. While I hope you reach out to thank your council member if they are running with no opposition and supported the stadium, I would encourage resources be placed on those races that are up for grabs.
Third, you will note that Colby Sledge, who took the lead on the stadium deal given that it is in his district, is running unopposed. If ever there was a sign that the neighbors and citizens of District 17 supported the stadium, this is it.
The Mayoral Race: While there are technically 8 candidates for Mayor, there are only four with any real chance of winning: David Briley, John Ray Clemmons, John Cooper, and Carol Swain.
David Briley: As you know, he was the Mayor when the deal passed, and he supported it strongly. While Megan Barry started the process, Briley took it across the finish line. He could use our support in every way possible.
John Ray Clemmons: While John Ray Clemmons was not on Metro Council and therefore has no record of voting for or against the deal, he is a representative in the Tennessee General Assembly and voted yes on HB6, which allowed local sports authorities to retain state share of sales teases derived from soccer stadium sales. This bill was clearly proposed to allow Metro Nashville to have the authority to fund the stadium.
John Cooper: Voted against the stadium deal and was vocal about it during the Metro Council discussions.
Carol Swain: Was not a member of Council at the time of the vote. That said, she is supported by stadium opponent Rick Williams and has questioned both the funding for the stadium and its location at the Fairgrounds.
The Vice Mayor Race:
Robert Sawyers, Sr.: Voted against the stadium deal.
Jim Shulman: Voted in favor. Clearly, this is the candidate to support, however possible.
Metro Council At Large race: There are 15 candidates running for an at large seat. Six of these candidates were on council at the time of the vote. The remainder were not, so I will only mention the record of those who did vote (which gives you five to support, if this is your one big issue).
Burkley Allen: Voted in favor for District 18.
Fabian Bedne: Voted in favor for District 31.
Steve Glover: Was one of the leaders voting against the stadium for district 12.
Sharon W. Hurt: Voted in favor of the stadium.
Bob Mendes: Voted in favor of the stadium.
Sheri Weiner: Voted in favor of the stadium.
District 1: There are three candidates. Jonathan Hall voted against the stadium.
District 2: Four candidates: DeCosta Hastings voted for the stadium (although he also voted in favor of an unsuccessful measure to rescind the deal).
District 4: Of the two candidates, Robert Swope voted for the stadium.
District 6: Brett Withers is running unopposed but voted in favor of the stadium.
District 8: Nancy VanReece voted in favor of the stadium. She does have opposition.
District 11: Larry Hagar is running unopposed but voted against the stadium.
District 14: Kevin Rhoten is unopposed but voted for the stadium.
District 15: Jeff Syracuse is unopposed but voted for the stadium.
District 17: Colby Sledge voted in favor and is running unopposed.
District 19: Freddie O’Connell is running unopposed but voted in favor of the stadium.
District 20: Mary Carolyn Roberts has opposition and voted in favor of the stadium.
District 21: There are five candidates. Edward Kindall voted in favor of the stadium (although he also voted in favor of an unsuccessful measure to rescind the deal).
District 23: There are three candidates. Mina Johnson voted in favor of the stadium.
District 24: Kathleen Murphy is running opposed and voted in favor of the stadium.
District 25: Russ Pulley is running unopposed and voted in favor of the stadium.
District 28: Tanaka Vercher has opposition; she voted in favor of the stadium.
District 33: Antoinette Lee has opposition and voted in favor of the stadium.
District 34: Angie Henderson has opposition and voted against the stadium. Her opponent is Terry Jo Bichell.
District 35: Dave Rosenberg has opposition; Rosenberg voted in favor of the stadium.
So, that’s the record. I do hope you’ll do what you can to thank and support those who voted in support of MLS in Nashville. As I’ve said, there are a wide array of ways to say thanks to these candidates. Do so.
Please feel free to comment or write me directly if I’ve made any mistakes with my information or if you have additional thoughts about any of the candidates.
**This article was written with major contributions from David Bone.
This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of Speedway Soccer as a whole.