Rep. Brenda Gilmore seeking seat now held by Sen. Thelma Harper

State Rep. Brenda Gilmore, chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators, has announced she will run next year for the Democratic nomination in Senate District 19, now held by veteran Sen. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville.

Harper, 76, who has served 27 years in the Senate, has not announced her plans on seeking another term. In a statement released after Gilmore’s announcement, Harper said she’s considering retirement but will wait until after the legislative session to decide.

Howard E. Jones Jr., pastor of Fairfield Missionary Baptist Church in Goodlettsville, announced in February that he would seek the seat if Harper decides to retire. (Note: Video of his statement, posted by the Tennessee Tribune, is HERE.)

Here’s Gilmore’s news release:

State Representative Brenda Gilmore today announces her candidacy for the 19th State Senatorial District.

“Now more than ever we need leaders with a longstanding record of giving back, listening and responding to constituents’ concerns,” Gilmore said.  “I go to work every day and listen to the concerns and frustrations of our citizens. I have been blessed with the opportunity to actually respond and make a real difference. It would be my honor to continue giving back to this community.”

While serving in the State House, she has advocated for Ban the Box, which provides those convicted of a crime with equal opportunity to work once they have fully served their time and paid their debt back to society.  Rep. Gilmore has worked to secure fair share of land grant funding for TSU and worked on approving the noise wall on Highway 65 North.  She continues to work to reduce and remove the sales tax on food, insure that all children receive the best education possible and provide economic and job opportunities for everyone.

Highlight of Rep Gilmore’s legislative leadership include career and technical education in Metro Schools; increasing parent participation in education; prescription medicine transparency, elderly abuse prevention, foreclosure prevention and education, solid waste reduction, asthma prevention and education and criminal justice reform.

In addition to her legislative service, Gilmore serves on numerous boards and organizations, presently acting as Vice President of NAACP Nashville, President of the National Hook Up of Black Women, and President of the Minerva Foundation. She is an active and engaged member of Mount Zion Baptist Church.  Formerly she has served as Church Clerk and taught Sunday School at Fairfield Baptist Church.

She also currently works with the Tennessee State University Alumni Association and has served as the Chairperson for the United Negro College Fund Volunteer Committee, as well as Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign for the Northwest YMCA, Board of Trust at Belmont University and Chair of Fifty Forward, formerly the Senior Citizen Board.

“I will continue the fight to raise up everyone in our community, from women and children to the disadvantaged and those struggling to make ends meet,”   said Gilmore.


Notable Sponsorships and Co-Sponsorships:

Career and Technical Education in Metro Schools.  This bill continues the career and technical class size extension pilot project in the Metro Nashville public schools, provides that the pilot shall only be used in schools or programs implementing the career academy or small learning community model.  

Education and Prevention of HIV/AIDs. As enacted, requires the office of research and education accountability and the department of health to do studies on HIV/AIDS prevention curricula; requires department to survey other state health department’s HIV/AIDs public outreach and education programs

Increasing Parent Participation in Education. As enacted, authorizes and encourages LEAs to partner with individuals, community and faith-based groups, and organization for-profit and nonprofit entities to devise parental involvement programs that rewards school and classes and honors parents for participating in parenting classes that increase parental involvement in education and schools

Privacy Protection for Job Seekers. As enacted, prohibits a state employer from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on an initial application form for employment under certain circumstances; excludes certain state employers for this prohibition

HIV/AIDs Impact Study on African-Americans. As enacted, urges the health equity commission to study the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS on the African-American community

Prescription Medicine Transparency. As enacted, expands statue providing for a prescription drug label that indicates the condition for which the drug is prescribed from applying only to elder persons to apply to any patient

Elderly Abuse Prevention. As enacted, requires that a fine be imposed on a person convicted of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult if the victim was over 60 years of age; authorizes appropriation of the fines to fund services and programs for senior citizens 

Foreclosure Prevention and Education. As enacted, establishes requirements for the practice of foreclosure-rescue consulting; a violation of requirements will be considered a violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act

Solid Waste Reduction. As enacted, requires TEC to include in its annual report to the governor and general assembly concerning the solid waste management system, progress implementation updates, including projected implement steps, on each specific component of the state’s comprehensive solid waste management plan

Asthma Prevention and Education.  Requires the commissioner of health to encourage public health organizations, the medical community, the department of education, the department of labor and workforce development, the department of general services, and other relevant stakeholders to examine the asthma prevention protocols posted on the website of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and related information; requires the commissioner to include on the department of health website the Internet links to the protocols to better assist people affected by environmental illnesses and multiple chemical sensitivities.

Here’s Harper’s statement sent to media:

“My focus right now is on my constituents and finishing the job they elected me to do. It’s been my greatest honor to serve Nashville in the state Senate these last 28 years, and it’s no secret that I’m considering retirement. I have heard from several exciting new leaders who are eager for an opportunity to serve, and I will make a decision at the appropriate time, when the 110th General Assembly is finished. It will ultimately be up to the people of Nashville who they believe will best represent them in the state Senate.”

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