NASHVILLE, TN — Multiple meetings, community events, special appearances and tending to the needs of neighbors is all in a day’s work for District 58th’s newest representative, Rev. Harold Moses Love, Jr. Fortunately, it’s a lifestyle that he’s already used to.
Rev. Harold Moses Love, Jr. , community leader and Pastor of St. Luke A.M.E. church in North Nashville, won the House of Representative District 58 seat from longtime Representative Mary Pruitt in the Aug. 2 election. A member of the Tennessee House of Representatives since 1985, Pruitt was originally elected in a special election upon the death of her husband, Charles Pruitt, who had previously held the position. “I hoped to win. I didn’t want to be overly confident and say we’ve got this wrapped up and in the bag. When you do that, you lose the edge,” said Love.
But it wasn’t an easy feat. Love said Pruitt’s longevity in the House were hard to combat, but his biggest battle was with his past defeats. Prior to winning this year, Love ran for District 54 representative in 1998 and 2000 and lost both times to Edith Langster. He then ran against Langster for the District 21 City Council seat where he lost to her again.
Love said, “I had the past three elections in which I wasn’t elected. How do I keep those who supported me on board and yet still bring on new people? Voters don’t have amnesia. Then it becomes the question, what do you think you can do differently now that you didn’t do previously. That was my question. How do we do more? How do we knock on more doors? How do we get more yard sign commitments? That was the formula we used. Get more of everything. I knocked on more doors during this election than the three previous combined.”
Born December 14, 1972 in Nashville to the Late Rep. Harold Moses Love, Sr. and Mary Y. Love and he is the last of five children and the only male.
His father, Harold Moses Love, Sr. is in the history books of Nashville’s government. The Nashville native was the third African-American elected to the first city council known as the Old City Council in 1961, joining the ranks of Alexander Looby and Robert E. Lillard. In 1962, Love became a charter member of the inaugural Metro Nashville City Council. He later became House Representative for District 54, the very district Rev. Harold Moses Love, Jr. lost in.
Rev. Harold Moses Love, Jr. said he grew up in the offices of City Council and on Capitol Hill in Nashville. Going door-to-door getting signatures for his dad when running for office was part of his childhood. Sitting in on meetings with his dad and governors, fellow legislators and other dignitaries was a typical occurrence.
“My sister and I always thought everyone would campaign during the summer. This was normal for us. You talk about grooming people for public service. You get a group of kids and give them campaign flyers. You become indoctrinated. As I got older, I really saw the impact of what my father did,” said Love.
He was the heir apparent of the Love Legacy. He was expected to carry on the Love political torch. He was blessed with the same curse as other children of high-profile parents who follow in their parent’s footsteps. But, a streak of campaign losses would not only devastate Rev. Harold Moses Love, Jr., but made the pastor question God and his future.
“Now you understand the whole reason why my biggest opponent was my past. Here I am with all of this and I can’t pull out a win. How do you get up the next day? How do you get the courage to hear people say I told you weren’t ready? After you lose once it’s hard, but then, to come back the second and third time. How do you have the conversation with yourself to say, maybe this time is it?”
He said he asked God, why raise him in politics and give him the gift of community servant hood, only for him not to use it. His future as a politician seemed bleak. He almost lost his confidence. His spirits were down. He explored other jobs like being a lobbyist but discovered that his first love was with the very thing he spent his entire life training to be, an elected official committed to changing and transforming communities.
He says in the future, he’ll have to pass the torch that he will begin carrying in January once he is sworn in. “I need to start doing what I believe is important and that is grooming some younger person. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for me to find a 21-year-old college student who wants to engage in community service, and start showing them how to transform a community? Maybe ten years from now I can move on to help in a greater capacity out of the office,” said Love.
Since being elected he’s hit the ground running, hosting meetings with principles of Metro Public Schools in his district along with meeting with Fisk University President Hazel O’Leary and TSU Interim President Portia Shields. This is part of his platform to improve education along with economics in his district.
He was educated in the public schools of Metro Nashville Davidson County and graduated with Honors from Whites Creek High School in 1990. Entered Tennessee State University in 1990 and Graduated in 1994 with a Degree in Economics and Finance with a minor in Political Science. Graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Divinity in 1998 with a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies. Institute Government Tennessee State University. Currently is pursuing a PhD in Public Administration at Tennessee State University and will graduate in 2013.