New Metro Council offers greater diversity than previous body

Monday, September 19, 2011 at 12:52pm

Davidson County’s new Metro Council is slightly more diverse than the last, with the 40-member legislative body featuring one more African-American, two additional females and the council’s first Hispanic officeholder.

The arrival of the council’s first Latino came in August when District 31 Councilman Fabian Bedne, of Argentinean descent, won outright in his South Nashville-area race. Five races were still pending before last week’s runoffs. Outcomes put the final stamp on the make-up of a new 2011-15 council that has 17 newcomers. 

The council that convened for the final time in August featured nine African-American members and nine women. When the new council meets for the first time in October the 40-member legislative body will have 10 African-American members and 11 women.  

“If you look over the last 20 years, we’ve had an increase in the representation and the diversity on the council,” At-large Councilman Jerry Maynard said. “We’ve had more African-Americans elected over the last two election cycles than we’ve ever had.

“It’s an improvement if you value diversity on the council,” he added.

The pick-up for the council’s Black Caucus comes in East Nashville’s’ District 5, with the election of Scott Davis. Former Councilwoman Pam Murray, who is black, had occupied the seat before outgoing Councilman Jamie Hollin in 2009 defeated her in a special recall election. On Thursday, Davis defeated Murray, who sought to reclaim her seat.

African-Americans make up 27 percent of Davidson County’s population, according to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau figures.

Accounting for the increase in female representation are three newly elected women in districts previously held by men. In Bellevue, Sheri Weiner was elected to the District 22 seat that Eric Crafton had occupied. Newly elected Councilwoman Davette Blalock now holds the District 27 seat, which Randy Foster most recently held. Jacobia Dowell now holds the District 32 seat last held by Councilman Sam Coleman.

“It’s certainly progress,” Councilwoman Emily Evans said of the two-seat increase.

In Thursday’s runoffs, women lost three opportunities to increase representation even more. Murray lost to Davis; District 33 incumbent Councilman Robert Duvall defeated challenger Page Turner; and District 13 councilman-elect Josh Stites knocked off Marilyn Robinson.

African-American members on the new council

Jerry Maynard — At-large

Lonnell Matthews Jr. — District 1

Frank Harrison –– District 2

Walter Hunt –– District 3

Scott Davis –– District 5 (newly elected)

Sandra Moore –– District 17

Erica Gilmore –– District 19

Edith Langster –– District 21

Karen Johnson –– District 29 (newly elected)

Jacobia Dowell –– District 32 (newly elected)


Women members on the new council

Megan Barry –– At-large

Karen Bennett –– District 8

Sandra Moore –– District 17

Burkley Allen –– District 18 (newly elected)

Erica Gilmore –– District 19

Edith Langster –– District 21

Sheri Weiner –– District 22 (newly elected)

Emily Evans –– District 23

Davette Blalock –– District 27 (newly elected)

Karen Johnson –– District 29 (newly elected)

Jacobia Dowell –– District 32 (newly elected)



5 Comments on this post:

By: Redbarron06 on 9/20/11 at 7:08

Why does race have to be an issue?

By: Nitzche on 9/20/11 at 7:58 racist!

By: govskeptic on 9/20/11 at 8:49

No matter the diversity, it's still a system that has all the power in the
Administration side of the equation as those putting the original
Charter together wanted it to be. With Councilman Maynard heading
up the "give away" committee, I'm sure the Administration and Vice
Mayor are happy with the current numbers represented!

By: bfra on 9/20/11 at 3:18

By diversity, does this mean Karl has more or less kiss-up puppets on the council?

By: macjedi on 9/20/11 at 3:55

It means the mayor has the usual compliment of cooperation expected for a progressive county in an otherwise-stagnant state, so I guess if you wanna call it that, buffrah, then yes.

Nice to see the council continuing to move forward despite the minority of voters who feel otherwise. Gotta love majority rule...