I have a vision for Nashville that includes solutions for affordable housing, neighborhood infrastructure, transportation, jobs, education, and care for our growing senior population, while balancing costs. With my experience and grit, I will fight for equity and sustainability of our neighborhood as your next councilwoman.
We like to spend a lot of our time as a city discussing affordable housing, but we never really bother to define what affordable means. We never answer the question, “Affordable for who?” Because of that, we have housing that is listed as affordable that could still go for $350,000. That might be affordable for some, but for so many of our citizens that is a far cry from what affordable means.
We need to stop talking about affordability and instead focus our efforts on equitable attainability. When we focus on the question, “Affordable for who,” we are only looking at one piece of the puzzle. We must also be asking, “Achievable for who?” Attainable housing, is not simply about the price of the house, but also about the jobs available in the community. It’s about all of our residents having an equal opportunity to succeed with fair wages.
Everyone in Nashville deserves the opportunity to live in a safe and accessible neighborhood. In too many places, Madison and Inglewood lack sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes which provide safe routes for our community. Seniors, people with disabilities, and our children should never feel unsafe when walking to school or to a bus stop. We also must keep our cyclists safe, such as when we created better visibility to riders by moving the bike lane to the left on Riverside Drive. I want to make sure no one feels unsafe moving around the neighborhood, whether to work or with their dog.
Vibrant, growing cities of the 21st century provide easy access to transportation. Nashville is vibrant and growing, yet our access continues to worsen. I support making investments in transit to improve our moveability. Our bus system needs crosstown routes to improve transit time and we need more frequent and reliable routes. Neighborhood transit centers would create additional safety, offering better access to everyone. These crucial first steps must be funded right away so we can make these goals a reality in the next few years.
Having worked with Fortune 100 companies for more than 19 years, I will call on our city’s largest employers to deliver jobs to the existing residents of Nashville. Specifically, with over 6,000 jobs coming to Nashville in the next three years, many of which are in the technology field, I want to hold these companies accountable to investing in Nashville’s workforce. District 7 offers a unique value that no other neighborhood can provide: Stratford STEM Magnet High School, which is training our scholars in the areas these companies are looking for most. I believe we can work directly with them, through the Chamber of Commerce CEO Champions partnership with our school academies programs. I would like to see Amazon and AllianceBernstein create a partnership with Stratford for students, including internships. This should result in more, and higher paid, technology jobs coming directly from Madison and Inglewood, in addition to making Stratford even more desirable. I will be a connector to make this happen.
In 2018 Nashville was one of the top cities in the country relative to the rate of wage growth. That is being driven by jobs in our urban core. District 7 is home to many teachers, police, firemen, and service industry professionals who have not had cost of living adjustments, or have employers who are choking their ability to have full-time work and benefits. At a time that our country is as prosperous as it’s ever been we need leaders locally, statewide, and nationally that reduce the wealth gap. I will ask our local companies to lead on this issue and reduce the wage gap in Nashville. Raising wages is the right thing for them and for us.
Seniors over the age of 65 represent more than 15% of the population in Madison and Inglewood. As baby boomers continue to reach retirement age, that number will grow. Every senior deserves access to care, whether that means transportation to a doctor’s appointment, or adequate housing and home health. I will make sure our seniors are tuned in to our Tax Freeze Program, and MTA Access Ride. I will work specifically with the senior housing facilities in Madison so the residents are engaged with all that Nashville can do to help them thrive in their later years. Without the leadership they have given us, we would not be where we are. They deserve our support and I will work to make sure they get it.
Copyright © 2018 Emily Benedict for District 7 - All Rights Reserved.
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