From Staff Reports
NASHVILLE, TN — State Rep. John Ray Clemmons’ campaign for mayor includes an on-going listening tour and continues a career fighting for Civil Rights.
The third term District 55 lawmaker is a litigator who beat Core Civic (as CCA) in a civil rights case, winning a settlement for an inmate who suffered inhumane treatment.
Clemmons, 41, is visiting churches in the community for table talks on Sundays. He was at Watson Grove Missionary Baptist Church last weekend.
“The North Nashville community and Bordeaux have been overlooked by Metro government for years,” Clemmons said. “I want to do something about that.”
Noting tremendous and rapid growth in Davidson County, Clemmons said, “Every community throughout our entire city needs to be benefitting from the boom.”
He’s among several candidates running for mayor. A wide field of candidates leads to run-off elections.
“I’m running for mayor to bring strong decisive leadership and much-needed stability to the city,” Clemmons said.
He voted for the Citizens Oversight Board when it was on the ballot. Some state lawmakers want to eliminate its subpoena power.
“The bill in the legislature is about voter suppression, state government overreach, and reversing the will of Nashville voters,” Clemons said. “It is before the state legislature now as a direct result of a lack of strong leadership in the mayor’s office.”
A strong leader, he said, would have a consensus on the board before it was placed on the ballot.
“Instead this mayor ignored the issue, then opposed the oversight board, then he opposed language of the referendum because it had been drafted without his input,” Clemmons said.
He pushed state legislation to make the referendum on transit possible in Nashville.
He voted for the transit referendum “because we have to … move forward … on a transportation system… I didn’t agree with every aspect of the plan, but it is unacceptable for us to accept the status quo and not step forward and face this issue that’s facing our families.
“We have to do a better job of listening to the community to know what’s wanted so it’s a comprehensive plan for a transportation,” Clemmons said.
He and his wife, Tamara, have three children; John, Finn and Henry.
Metro must be sure schools are fully funded and get the budget they need, not the budget that they can get, Clemmons said. The mayor’s office should make the school budget a priority to make metro schools the best in America.
Calling for equity in education, he said, “We need to make sure that the children at Alex Green Elementary School are getting the same quality of education that the children get at Julia Green Elementary School.”
As for gentrification, he’s said, “We have half million- and three quarter million dollar houses going up all over this county and grandparents are having to move farther away from grandchildren and farther away from their jobs. We have got to do a better job of protecting our neighborhoods.”
In his free time, Clemmons attends family school and sporting events with Tamara, plays ice hockey, reads, and exercises.