Megan Barry becomes Nashville’s new mayor

Mayor-elect Megan Barry with transition team member Hon. Howard Gentry.

Mayor-elect Megan Barry with transition team member Hon. Howard Gentry.

Megan Barry, the newly elected mayor of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, is the first woman elected to lead the combined city and county government. The inauguration ceremony, scheduled for Friday at Public Square, launches a new chapter in the Nashville story, and Mayor-elect Barry has given it a name: We Make Nashville.

“This is about celebrating all of Nashville,” Barry said in the unveiling of the theme. “What makes Nashville great is the diversity of our economy, our culture, our ideas, our music and our spirit.”

The visual for the swearing-in ceremony includes the words “We Make Nashville” in 10 languages, and the theme’s concept is even broader than language. It celebrates our variety in business enterprises and musical forms, our consolidated approach to government, and the spirit of cooperation and humanity that leads us through good times and bad.

“With our growing and vibrant economy and neighborhoods, Nashville is a place for everyone,” Barry says. “On Sept. 25, we embark on Nashville’s next chapter.” Among the issues that have been prioritized by the new mayor as she takes office are investment, public education, transportation, neighborhoods, inclusion and transparency.

The Swearing-in ceremony is set for 2 – 3 p.m. at Music City Center, Grand Ballroom, Fourth Level with a Public reception for the mayor, vice mayor and Metro Council members from 3 – 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Mayor Barry is joined by the most diverse Metro council in memory. Among the 40 members, 35 are representing specific geographic districts and five are at-large members. Among the Metro councilpersons, roughly two-thirds are new to their council seats, 26 newly elected to their first terms, and one — Erica Gilmore — who was formerly the district 19 representative and is now an at-large member. Gilmore is one of 15 women on the council now, up from 11 serving from the 2011 election. Gilmore is also one of 11 African Americans on the new council, up from 10 previously.

The other women on the council are re-elected incumbents Burkley Allen, Davette Blalock, Jacobia Dowell, Karen Johnson, and Sheri Weiner, along with newly elected council members Brenda Haywood, Angie Henderson, Holly Huezo, Sharon Hurt, Mina Johnson, Kathleen Murphy, Mary Carolyn Roberts, Nancy VanReese, and Tanaka Vercher. Among these women, Dowell, Gilmore, Haywood, Johnson, Hurt, and Vercher are African Americans, as are the following male members of the council: Sam Coleman, Scott Davis, Loniel Greene, Decosta Hastings, and Ed Kindall. The council has one Latino member — reelected incumbent Fabian Bedne and one Asian American member, Japanese-born Mina Johnson.

Barry takes over the reigns of city government with the assistance of her outstanding transition team representing the diversity of Nashville and a cross-section of the public, private, and non-profit sectors of the city, chaired by local attorney Charles Robert Bone. They are, alphabetically, Kasar Abdullah, Samar Ali, Cristina O. Allen, Leon Berrios, Brian Brockman, Dave Cooley, Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings, Glenn Farner, Beth Fortune, Ben Freeland, Hon. Howard Gentry, Don Hardin, Ed Hardy, Clay Haynes, Henry Beecher Hicks, Claudia Huskey, Shannon Hunt, Milton Johnson, Tom Jurkovich, Kristine LaLonde, Debby Dale Mason, David McMurry, Stuart McWhorter, Rev. Breonus Mitchell, Hon. Betty Nixon, Bill Phillips, Hon. Phil Ponder, Avi Poster, Rich Riebeling, Carolyn Schott, Walter Searcy, Pat Shea, Stephanie Silverman, Keith Simmons, Renata Soto, Hon. Edith Taylor Langster, Frank Trew, Katy Varney, Hershell Warren, Grant Winrow, and Hon. Brenda Wynn.