By Cillea Houghton
NASHVILLE, TN — Delishia Porterfield began training for a seat in Metro Council before she was running for one. Porterfield, a special education coach in Metro Nashville Public Schools, is campaigning to take over the seat in District 29 in Antioch left vacant by Karen Johnson, who accepted a position at the Davidson County Register of Deeds.
Porterfield was introduced to the power of city government when she worked with the Antioch community and Metro Council in 2015 to stop the downtown jail from being relocated to Harding Place. Since then, she’s consistently attended council meetings, learning about topics ranging from city budgets to zoning issues. “I’ve always been very involved in my community, but I didn’t really consider politics until that happened. That made me understand the importance of having people on the city council that listens to community,” she said. “As time moved on, it just became evident that it was more of a natural progression if I wanted to continue to support our community, if I wanted to be a voice for the residents in our neighborhood, that running for council was the next logical step.”
The Tennessee State University alumnus spent six years as a teacher in Williamson County and serving as special education department head at Thurgood Marshall Middle School and Antioch Middle School. In her role as special education coach, Porterfield is a liaison between the districts and special education department, advocating for policy change and working to find best practices and solutions for the students. She’s long harbored a passion for helping others, currently serving on the board of directors of youth-oriented organizations Ignite Her Pursuit and eMpowerment Inc. She’s also raised money for hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and Florida. “I live a life of service,” she described. “I believe that we’re put here to help other people and I have always found ways to give back.”
If elected, Porterfield plans to conduct traffic studies in areas where congestion and speeding are an issue and partner with agencies to fulfill infrastructure needs, including widening Smith Springs Road. She’ll also advocate for a living wages for labor workers and the police and fire departments, as well as host monthly community meetings.
“As a councilperson, we may have a vision for the community, but ultimately we’re there to represent the needs of the community,” she said. “I think the biggest thing is just really listening to the community and trying to find a solution that is amicable for everyone.”
The District 29 special election takes place on Feb. 12. Early voting is open through Feb. 7 at the main office of the Davidson County Election Commission at 1417 Murfreesboro Pike.