john cooper

Cooper trounces Briley in Nashville mayor’s race

Metro Council member John Cooper trounced incumbent David Briley to be elected Nashville’s next mayor. The result wasn’t unexpected, but the 39-percentage point margin came as a bit of a surprise.

Cooper is the brother of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville).

Here’s a release from the Cooper campaign.

NASHVILLE, TN – At-large-Councilmember John Cooper has defeated Mayor David Briley to become the ninth Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. According to the Davidson County Election Commission, unofficial election results show that Cooper defeated Briley by a vote of 70 percent to 30 percent.

In a speech at The Nashville Palace, Mayor-elect Cooper thanked the voters and laid out plans on how to build a Nashville that works for everyone. 

Excerpts from the speech are included below:

As Mayor, I will work every day to continue to listen and learn. To put neighborhoods first and make sure that this Administration reflects the values of our city and her people in all of our actions. To restore trust that our people and their needs come first.

In the speech, Mayor-elect Cooper also spoke to the issue of fiscal responsibility:

I’ve been told that I care too much about the numbers. But if we don’t get the money right, we can’t get anything else right. Because in government, to care about finances is to care about people. That is how you make their dreams real.

Paying attention to the bottom line allows us to support people on the front line — our teachers, our police, our firefighters, our bus drivers, our paraprofessionals. And yes: teachers are the real developers we need to support. 

He also expressed gratitude to Metro employees and invited the entire city to come together and move Nashville forward:

And to the great people who work hard for Metro every day, I need your ideas and your help in the work to come. It is my job to support you in our work ahead. 

For everybody who voted for me, thank you. For everyone else, know that I will work every day to earn your trust and respect. This is a city for everybody. 

We’re going to have more growth in the next five years than in the last five years. Those new cranes are lifting up our skyline. We need to lift up our people with it. That is our challenge — using this prosperity to build a better, more livable city. This is the moment to make Nashville work for everybody. 

We started at two percent in the polls. Hundreds of volunteers and more than a thousand donors — from every district — got us here.

But this isn’t the end. I need all of your help. We must not waste this moment. Together, we will make a Nashville for everybody. Thank you!

Nashville mayor blasts comptroller’s letter as ‘political document’

Nashville Mayor David Briley is blasting a letter from state Comptroller Justin Wilson‘s office questioning the city’s finances as “essentially a political document.” The letter, Briley said, was instigated by Councilman John Cooper, his opponent in Nashville’s mayoral runoff next month.

“It’s my understanding that Councilman Cooper and his conservative, Republican friends on the council solicited it,” Briley said in a candidate debate Monday evening. “So he certainly should know a fair amount about it.”

The comptroller is elected by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, which has a long track record of nullifying ordinances enacted in the heavily Democratic city.

Cooper, the brother of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville), called the letter a “big wake-up call” as Nashville’s debt has doubled over the last four years.

“The facts speak for themselves,” Cooper said. “It’s not Republican and Democratic — I’m, of course, a long-time Democrat myself — it’s dollars and cents. Are we being well-managed? Are we on it?”

Briley cited the city’s strong credit rating from Moody’s as an objective seal of approval for the Nashville’s finances.

“Our finances are, in fact, under control,” he said. “And when the final budget is assessed at the end of this year, you’ll see that our fund balances are actually up over last year.”

The runoff is on Sept. 12. Early voting is underway and runs through Sept. 7.