NASHVILLE, TN —The 2018 election cycle has produced a number of exciting and hotly-contested matchups, but none might be as nail-biting as the race for State House District 54.
It’s in that race that we see Vincent Dixie, a small business owner and first-time candidate, step into the spotlight.
Once considered an underdog in the race, Dixie has run an impressive campaign, coming on strong in public forums, and charming his way through community events.
When asked about what made his campaign so special, however, Dixie shrugged it off.
“It’s nothing special, we’ve just worked very hard. I think people are attracted to our message. They like that we aren’t up to the usual political tricks,” he said. “We have tried our best to campaign on our own merits, instead of cutting the legs of our opponents.”
What is Dixie’s message, though? The candidate said all of his positions could be summed up in one word: equality.
“Equality in schools, equality in healthcare, and equality in justice,” Dixie said. “That’s what I’m about. When you wake up every day and fight for those three things, you will see our community improve.”
Dixie said he was inspired to run for office by the women in his life. One was his mother, Glenda Dixie, who suffered from stage 4 lung cancer until she passed in February of this year.
“My mother raised me by herself, and she did everything right. Worked hard, raised her kids, and retired with a small pension. But when she got sick, she found herself having to make tough choices – do I pay for food, shelter, or medicine?” Dixie said. “Luckily, she had me by her side. I helped her through the process and supported her to the best of my abilities. But not every ailing senior has someone in their life who can help them.”
“I love my mom, and I was devastated during her illness,” Dixie said. “I don’t want any son or daughter to have to feel the pain of watching their parents’ health fail, and then also not be able to see them get the healthcare they need.”
Another important woman who pushed Vincent into leadership was his wife, Ericka Myles Dixie, a Metro Public Schools educator.
“Through Ericka, I see what kids go through in our public schools, and I know we must do better to give them a chance at success,” Dixie said. “Our lawmakers are so focused on kids passing tests, that we aren’t even providing our teachers and students with the basics they need to teach and learn.”
Perhaps most vital of all, Dixie said he is running for office with his daughters’ futures in mind.
“One thing that worries me is that we aren’t properly caring for our young men,” Dixie said. “When my two daughters are grown and ready for marriage, I want them to be able to choose from men who have been raised to have healthy relationships. That starts at home, then extends to our schools, and later to our criminal justice system.”
He said that our system often cripples the futures of young men in poverty who make a single mistake.
“I was able to stay out of the system, but I knew many guys growing up who couldn’t avoid it. And even though they didn’t commit a violent crime, they have to live with the ‘scarlet letter F’ – for felony – their whole lives,” Dixie said. “They struggle getting good jobs, and therefore struggle to be productive citizens.”
Dixie said one way that we can all work to improve our community is to improve our civic engagement.
“One thing’s for sure – we show up and vote,” Dixie said. “But once we’ve elected new people, do we hold them accountable? Do we interact with the rest of the city and make sure we’re getting our fair share? I want to lead our district to take hold of our own futures and demand better representation at every level.
“We have to take this seriously, and that means we have to pay attention. It’s hard work, but my goal will be to help improve communication with the community, so that nobody gets left behind,” Dixie said.
Early voting in this election continues until July 28, and Election Day is on August 2.