By VINCE TROIA
Three political newcomers are actively campaigning for the open District 22 Metro Council seat being vacated by term-limited Bellevue councilmember Sheri Weiner. Being active in the community for years is the one thing they have in common.
The Bellevue HomePage reached out to candidates Art Allen, Gloria Hausser, and Todd Sneed, asking them to answer the same four questions concerning their campaign strategies and their plans for Bellevue’s District 22 if elected.
District 22 serves most of the Bellevue population and encompasses most of the commercial properties, including One Bellevue Place. It is home to many Metro entities, such as the Bellevue Branch Library, Red Caboose Park, Bellevue Middle School and soon-to-be opened Ford Ice Center and Community Center.
Many voters missed out on a free candidates’ forum last month (a paid Bellevue Harpeth Chamber event was held July 11), so this is a chance for voters to hear from the hopefuls.
The following are the emailed responses submitted by Hausser, an entrepreneur and community leader, who earned her bachelor’s degree at University of Tennessee- Knoxville, and an MBA from Brenau University in Georgia. She has been endorsed by organizations, including the Coalition of Nashville Neighborhoods, Fraternal Order of Police, Nashville Business Coalition, Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, Service Employees International Union Local 205, and Women for Tennessee’s Future.
As a political newcomer with the election less than a month away, how is your campaign helping District 22 voters learn about you in such a short period of time?
This Friday, July 12, I am inviting voters to come to my home from 5:30-7 p.m. for a meet and greet where they can tell me what is important to them and learn about me and what I will do for them. (Voters who want to come may email me at email@example.com for the address.)
Meeting face to face is the best way to engage voters. We are out in the community meeting voters, having house parties were neighbors invite neighbors over for a discussion of what is important to them, and to get to know me. We’re knocking on doors to engage voters and learn what they see as issues and what they want from the council. And we are calling voters to get to know them and they to learn what I bring to them.
I am a sponsor of the Bellevue clean-up and shredding day (Saturday, July 13), and my volunteers and I will be working it. I am participating in an Exchange Club fundraiser and participated in their candidate forum, as well as Thursday’s Bellevue Harpeth Chamber candidate forum.
What is the biggest blight or community issue facing Bellevue now, and what would you do to remedy it?
The issues I hear from voters are: Concern for preserving what they love about Bellevue in the face of rapid growth, preserving our trees and green spaces. Voters have safety concerns from increased crime, to being able to cross the street or get out of their subdivision without getting into an almost accident on Highway 70 South.
School quality and appropriate funding is big on our Bellevue minds. All these issues point to the need for intentional planning, transparency, and community involvement. I pledge that I will dig in, ask the tough questions, share information as soon as available, ask for the details behind the budget and accountability, and engage voters keeping them informed. I will be the voice for Bellevue.
Would you support a property tax increase to give raises to Metro employees (teachers, police officers, etc.), many of whom live in Bellevue?
First, we need to review how our money is being used. Are we effectively delivering the services or are there better ways? Are we budgeting to our values or just because that is how it has always been done?
The recent Blue Ribbon Commission identified some savings but not nearly enough to cover our shortfall. We need to see what can be done to redistribute the monies that now go to the downtown development to our operating budget. We need to have budget and funding sources that are not dependent on selling off our assets to cover the basics. And we must appropriately pay our providers teachers, police officers and firefighters.
Our income streams are a portion of the sales tax and property tax. Redistributing the sales tax from downtown will help but will not be sufficient. With the lowest property taxes of our surrounding areas it is likely we will need to raise them. But in the process, we need to do a better job on how we allocate the property tax. During the last adjustment, we saw those with higher property values often having a property tax reduction, and those with the least assets paying more.
If a constituent asked, “Why should I vote for you?,” what would be your response?
You should vote for me because I bring the experience of helping communities and businesses thrive my entire career. I have the knowledge and skills to do the job, including MBA finance. I am at a place I can give back. I am not building a career or resume. I can vote and fight for you and not be concerned how it is going to impact my future.
I have been involved in community all my life — that gives me joy and value. I serve on the Bellevue Harpeth Chamber board of directors, HOA Board, the committee to rebuild Red Caboose Park and am a constant volunteer. I have the skills, heart and tenacity to serve Bellevue and ensure that “Bellevue Choses Bellevue’s Future.”
More information on Hausser can be found here.
To read the first part in this series, Q&A with candidate Art Allen, visit https://bit.ly/2LdaTPf .