Last Saturday, State Representative John Ray Clemmons, candidate for mayor of Nashville,
hosted an Educators VOTE Rally and March to the Polls with members of the MNEA union and fellow MNEA-endorsed candidates. Starting at 3rd and Lindsley, Amanda Kail, president of MNEA, greeted the crowd before introducing Representative Clemmons. “We endorsed John Ray because of his commitment to our schools and our children. He’s the only candidate with kids in public schools, and he’s the only candidate who’s committed to supporting us,” Kail said.

Rep. Clemmons took the stage with thunderous applause from over 200 educators in the room. Once reaching the stage, Clemmons invited all the children in the room to join him on stage. Wearing red, in solidarity with the educators in the room, Clemmons showed his support for Nashville’s educators and shared his plans for increasing the quality of public schools in the city.

“It’s time for Metro government and Mayor’s Office to start taking responsibility,” said Clemmons. “We must have social-emotional learning instructors in our schools. We must have more ELL instructors, and we need counselors in our schools.” It was hard to hear him over the applause in the room until he concluded his speech. “It’s time we have someone in office who has the school system’s back.”

With that, Rep. Clemmons and the MNEA teachers prepared to march down to the Howard
Office Building to vote. The group held Clemmons for Mayor signs, megaphones, and rainbow flags as they marched down the sidewalk, led by Clemmons and his family. Chants of “J-R C” could be heard from blocks away as the marchers made their way to the polling location.

Once the rally arrived at the Howard Office Building, the cheers quickly turned to voice the main concern of the rally. “Fund our schools, teachers vote!” supporters cheered. They gathered outside the 100-feet line, rallying one last time before heading in to vote.

Rep. Clemmons also went inside to vote, unusual for candidates who prefer to vote on Election Day. When asked why he chose the second day of early voting to cast his ballot, he responded, “I want to vote with teachers because they are my number one priority as mayor. It’s an honor to march with them, and I wanted to extend that honor to casting my vote among them.”