Metro Election candidates gear up for forums and early voting

The May 6 Primary includes elections for judges, court clerks, sheriff and district attorney.

The May 6 Primary includes elections for judges, court clerks, sheriff and district attorney.

As the vitally important Metro Nashville primary elections approach this spring, candidates are debating issues, raising funds and raising awareness of important issues that they address in forums across the county. These elections are of critical importance to the citizens of Nashville, and indeed all of Tennessee. In a ‘Democratic county,’ most candidates who win these elections will also win the general election. The candidates, mostly attorneys, who will become the next Attorney General, or be elected or reaffirmed as judges, and court clerks and government officials set policy, interpret policy and laws, and generally make decisions on a daily basis that fundamentally impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens annually.

On Monday, April 14 and Tuesday, April 15, The North Nashville Leadership Council, a coalition of neighborhood groups, will host the North Nashville Political Forum, one of the last major forum series before Early Voting begins Wednesday, April 16. The forum runs from 6-8 pm each evening at the Manna From Heaven Dinner Theatre at 3510 West Hamilton, Nashville, Tenn. 37218.

“This spring forum is focused on getting non-traditional voters engaged and ready to vote,” said Thomas F. O’Connell, one of the organizers. “I can’t think of a more profound way to become engaged as an enfranchised citizen than by learning about issues of justice. A number of us as organizers agreed that we were all learning about justice and the candidates and offices we’ll be considering through the process of organizing the event.

“We invited all candidates who face a competitive vote in the May primary, and we are excited and proud of the commitment from the candidates, as almost all are attending. We expect some other candidates for races that are not competitive will also attend to meet voters. I hope you’ll be able to join us for one or both nights.”

On Monday, Quentin White, former U.S. Attorney and TDOC Commissioner, will moderate these committed candidates, including: District Attorney — Diane Lance, Glenn R. Funk, and Rob McGuire; Circuit Court Judge Division VIII — Carol Solomon, Jon Peeler, and Kelvin Jones; Criminal Court Judge, Division I — Joy Smith Kimbrough and Steve Dozier; and Juvenile Court Judge — Sheila D.J. Calloway and Sophia Brown Crawford.

On Tuesday, Judge Muriel Robinson, retired, will moderate the following committed candidates: General Sessions Judge Division II — Andrei Ellen Lee, Jim McNamara, Mark Podis, Max D. Fagan, and Melissa Kurtz Blackburn; General Sessions Judge Division IV — Allegra Walker and Vince Wyatt; General Sessions Judge Division V — Dianne Turner and Robb Bigelow; General Sessions Judge Division VIII — Rachel Bell; and General Sessions Judge Division IX — Adam Dread, Ed Ryan, Jay Norman, Jefre S. Goldtrap, Lynda Jones, Paul Walwyn, and Tee Gorham.

The North Nashville Leadership Council is a loose affiliation of neighborhood leaders from throughout north Nashville.

“From my seat at the table, I’ve observed us reminding ourselves that we can and do have power when we remind our elected officials that we vote and that we intend to hold them accountable,” said O’Connell.

Early Voting begins on Wednesday, April 16 and runs through Thursday, May 1. Election Day is Tuesday, May 6.