By Logan Langlois
NASHVILLE, TN — Meet Burkley Allen, Nashville Metro Council Member-at-large running for her second consecutive term at the upcoming August 3, 2023, Metro general election that will be deciding the next mayor, vice mayor, Metro councilmember at-large, and district council members of Music City. Beginning her career representing Nashvillians in 2011, Allen served as the Belmont-Hillsboro area’s District 18 Councilmember for eight years until she was elected to her current council member-at-large position. During that time, she has sponsored legislation improving stormwater regulation in neighborhoods, protecting sidewalk and bikeway access in construction zones, and has been actively working to provide new ideas for solving housing concerns affecting those who are currently sleeping on our city streets.
Since swearing into her first Nashville government office over a decade ago, Allen made it a priority on her agenda to provide better living security for the nearly half of all Nashvillians who rent the space they are currently living in. An example of her longtime commitment was when she was elected chair of the Affordable Housing Committee the first year it was established, as well as her talking with other renter’s rights groups and co-sponsorship of the Barnes Housing Trust Fund during its initial proposal.
“When we started that, it was two million dollars, and we thought that was great putting 2 million dollars towards housing affordability,” said Allen.
“Now, we’re putting $30 million towards that, and that is finally getting traction so that we’re building thousands of units with that tool.”
When talking about building a new residence for affordable housing, Allen was careful to specify that she didn’t believe in the common practice of locating all the affordable housing in one area of the city. This is because she’s wearied of Nashville in advertently building concentrations of poverty in low-income pockets of the city, which can come with their own set of problems which at best could be seen as counter-productive. She also says that it was part of the charm of old Nashville that people of all professions lived right next to each other and interacted daily.
“I think the model from when Nashville was a young city was that people lived everywhere. Doctors lived next door to the trash collectors, and we all got along,” she said
To bring about the most amount of positive public change possible, Allen says that her strategy is to work towards building bridges with the state legislators, whose head-butting with Nashville’s representatives and little attention to issues of civil rights has been a key talking point throughout this election cycle. The way she plans on doing this is by showing both the state legislators and their key supporters living in the far more rural parts of Tennessee, that the problems and needs of all of the Volunteers State’s citizens are much the same.
“We get NACo (National Association of Counties) … newsletter and lookin’ through that there was an article in there about a small rural county worried about affordable housing, and another about being frustrated about having their zoning rights encroached on by the state,” she said passionately. “In their case, it was in regard to slaughterhouses, for us it was short-term rental, but there’s more that we have in common with them than we realize.”
Bukley Allen’s campaign is available to follow at her website https://www.burkley.org/, where she also posts her public email and phone number for citizens to call her and talk to her personally.