DA candidates discuss The New Jim Crow

District Attorney General candidates Rob McGuire (standing) , Diane Lance and Glenn Funk at The Temple forum discussion of the book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.

District Attorney General candidates Rob McGuire (standing) , Diane Lance and Glenn Funk at The Temple forum discussion of the book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.

Davidson County District Attorney General candidate Rob McGuire joined Diane Lance and Glenn Funk, the other two candidates in the race, for a question-and-answer forum March 6. The event was the first time all three candidates have appeared together to give members of the public a chance to learn about their goals for the office and to ask questions.

The forum took place in the sanctuary of The Temple, at 5015 Harding Road. Each candidate addressed the audience, introducing themselves in brief (for attorneys) opening statements. Questions from the audience were asked of each of the candidates, after a few statements and questions from the moderator, General Sessions Judge Dan Eisenstein.

The forum was focused on an ongoing study of the book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. For three weeks leading up to the forum, the book had been digested and discussed by a study group at the synagogue. The questions and the tone of the evening were all about finding out where the candidates stood on the issues raised in Professor Alexander’s book.

“I’ve spent my entire career seeking justice, advocating for victims and serving my community. I’m the only candidate in this race who can say that,” said McGuire, 37, who welcomed the chance to get to meet voters and let them know why he’s chosen to be a public servant for his entire professional career. McGuire has been an Assistant District Attorney for more than 12 years.

Diane Lance also addressed the issues of mistreatment in the system. She also spoke about her years of experience as leader of a Domestic Violence Unit and Child Physical Abuse Teams while working in the District Attorney Office.

She also referenced her experiences as special counsel to Metro Mayor Karl Dean.

Glenn Funk spoke about his 29 years work experience dealing with Davidson County Courts. He addressed his career beginnings as a public defender in Memphis and how he came to understand the plight of people up against the system.

Here in Nashville, this is the first time in decades that the D.A. position has been open. Current Davidson County District Attorney General Torry Johnson announced in January he was not seeking re-election in 2014. In making his announcement to leave that office, Johnson endorsed McGuire.

“I’m honored to have the endorsement of General Johnson who has the respect of countless Nashvillians because of his dedication to victims of crime,” said McGuire.

“That said, I am looking forward to this forum so that I can show that my experience, commitment to public service and long history of advocacy for victims make me the right choice to be the next D.A.”

Each of the candidates spoke eloquently about the issues raised by Alexander’s book, and gave reasons why he or she would be best suited to the job of being Nashville’s next Attorney General.