An intriguing election contest is budding inside one of the Metro Council’s most progressive districts now that David Glasgow, who had been running unopposed for the District 18 seat, has a challenger.
Burkley Allen, former president of the Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood Association, has qualified to run for the seat currently held by Councilwoman Kristine LaLonde, who months ago announced she didn’t intend to run for re-election.
Election Day is Aug. 4. Candidates have until May 19 to qualify.
Not long ago, Allen’s home was zoned in Councilman Sean McGuire’s district, which is composed largely of Green Hills. But following the council’s expedited restricting process, approved last month, her Elmington Park-area residency became part of District 18. Allen, who said her more than 25 years of experience in neighborhood activism qualifies her for the job, had long pondered a council run but didn’t want to challenge an incumbent.
“Lo and behold, with the redistricting, I went from being in a district that had an incumbent to one that didn’t,” Allen said.
The Glasgow-Allen matchup will play out inside a politically active district that includes the Hillsboro-West End area, home to both Belmont and Vanderbilt universities and some of Nashville’s most notable progressives. It’s the same district that’s produced pro-neighborhood representatives Betty Nixon and Stewart Clifton in the past.
“One of the best things about our district is how engaged everybody is, so I don’t think it’s a surprise that someone else is getting in,” Glasgow said.
Glasgow, who was among a handful of candidates LaLonde defeated in a special election two years ago to replace outgoing Councilman Keith Durbin, had already unveiled an impressive list of supporters on his campaign’s website. Allen’s candidacy presents somewhat of a curveball, perhaps testing some allegiances.
But one person who isn’t changing her endorsement is LaLonde, who told The City Paper she supports Glasgow.
Glasgow works in the rural development division at the state office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Two years ago, Mayor Karl Dean appointed Glasgow to the Metro Tourism and Convention Commission. Glasgow also chairs the Metro Tree Advisory Committee.
“A lot of people in the neighborhood know how passionate I am about neighborhoods, and I have a lot of experience about actually getting things done in government,” Glasgow said.
Allen, who works as a mechanical engineer and is the mother of three children, is confident she can win even though her opponent has already racked up support.
“I know it’s not the ideal place to be starting from, but I think many people figured that if someone’s running unopposed, it’s a fine idea to endorse them,” Allen said. “That’s what it looked like it was going to be.
“But I think there are a number of people who appreciate the fact that now there will be the opportunity for some debate and to hear what each candidate stands for,” she added.
Glasgow, who is openly gay, would become the second gay elected official in Metro history. Durbin, who held the same council seat before becoming Metro’s Information Technology office, became the first gay elected official in 2007.