Friday, May 15, 2015

Maybe you should run for Council. It is not too late.

There is still time to run for Metro Council. If you have ever thought your councilman was an idiot and you could do a better job, consider running. If you have ever thought your councilman was an unresponsive jerk, consider running.

The qualifications for the office of council are pretty simple: Be at least 25 years of age; a resident of Davidson County Tennessee for at least one year; and a district resident for at least 6 months. That is it. I think it helps if you have some other qualifications, but they are not legally required.

Some people will get elected to Council simply because they had no opposition.  Others will get elected, not because they would make a good councilman, but because their opponent had even less qualifications or because the opponent did not work very hard.

It does help if you have had some community involvement and know where the Courthouse is, or if you keep up with local government issues but those type things are left up to the judgment of the electorate. If you have ever wanted to get into politics or serve your community, this is the time.

If you look at who is running, we are going to have the most "progressive" council ever unless some new people get in the race. If you are a conservative or a Republican and the only choice on the ballot is some politically correct liberal; throw your hat in the ring.  If the only choice is someone who advocates, spend, spend, spend; throw your hat in the ring. If you are an old school Democrat who does not want Nashville to become the "San Francisco of the South;" throw your hat in the ring. Even if you don't win, make the other person work for his or her victory. Even if you don't win, you may be the front runner with name recognition four years from now. But, you may win.

Do you know who is running in your district? You may already have a good candidate running in your district and choose instead of running yourself to help that person get elected.  On the other hand, there may be no one running who you would want to see elected. To see who is running and to see what I know about them follow this link: Who is runnng for Mayor, Vice Mayor, Councilman-at-large, and District Councilmen. (update #8)

Please note that the above is now about five weeks old, so for an update you may want to contact the election commission and see who has picked up qualifying petitions in your district since I compiled this list and do a little research yourself. Also, please be aware that a lot of people pick up qualifying petitions but never turn them in, so don't be dissuaded simply by who or number of people who have picked up qualifying petitions. Who has picked up qualifying petitins is not on-line but the people at the election commission are very helpful and will give you the information. Here is the link to the Election Commission website where you can find the contact information:

So, if you are thinking about running, what do you do? You must submit a qualifying petition but it only takes the names of 25 registered voters in your district to get your name on the ballot.

There is still time to pick up a qualifying petition, get your 25 names and submit it, but don't wait. The qualifying deadline is a week from tomorrow. The qualifying deadline is Thursday May 21st at noon.

What if you submit a qualifying petition and then change your mind? No problem. You can withdraw.  The withdrawal deadline is noon, Thursday May 28th.

How much money does it take to run? That depends. It depends on how much your opponent is going to spend, how densely populated is your district and, most importantly, how hard and how smart you are going to work. More money is being spend on this Council race than ever before, but I am still convinced that a candidate with $5,000 who will work his tail off can beat a candidate who spends $30,000 who does not want to knock doors. As you begin campaigning, if you are willing to put in a thousand dollars of your own money, you can raise most of the rest of what you need.

To see how much money candidates have already raised and where it came from, follow the links below.  This is as of the last campaign financial report for the period that ended March 31st.

How much work does the Council require and how much time does it take?  That depends. If you represent a lower income or lower middle income area there will be lots of demands for constituent service. You will deal with everything from the neighbors cats getting in a constituents flower bed to overgrown lots to traffic problems to pot holes. If you represent an area with a lot of request for rezoning, you will have numerous neighborhood meetings to attend and meetings with the planning commission staff and phone calls and emails to which to respond. Also, there is always some consultants report or studies that you should be reading. Serving in the Council is  more than just a part-time job; it can be a way of life. If you don't want someone stopping you while shopping at Kroger's to tell you what they think about some issue  or some problem that needs addressed, then you should not run. It can be demanding but I liked it and found it very rewarding.

I'll be glad to discuss it with you. If I have not already endorsed someone in your district, I will be glad to meet with you for a cup of coffee.  If I think you are better qualified than your opponents I will share what I know about winning an election and probably make a modest campaign contribution. To reach me, email me at

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