NASHVILLE, TN — It was a history making moment for Nashville as hundreds of people gathered for a highly anticipated announcement in the mayor’s race.
Davidson County Assessor of Property Vivian Wilhoite ended all speculation last Friday when she announced her candidacy to become Nashville’s first African American mayor before a huge crowd of supporters at the Grandale Manor in Antioch. “In 2003, my journey began here in District 29 as your councilmember working for, working with, and listening to the people,” Wilhoite said as she began her speech.
Wilhoite said she is running for mayor to ensure that Nashville neighborhoods are made stronger by giving them the resources they need to thrive and be safe, and businesses, especially small businesses, are made stronger, so they do not feel like they are being pushed out.
“As a lifelong public servant, I have what it takes to build stronger neighborhoods and stronger businesses. We can have both. We deserve both,” said Wilhoite. “We must not be afraid to establish public and private partnerships to create affordable housing, to manage the growth our city has seen in recent years, and to invest in our metro employees, schools, teachers and support staff.”
Nashville and Davidson County voters have twice chosen Wilhoite to serve as the city’s Assessor of Property, making her the city’s first African American Assessor of Property and Tennessee’s third African American Assessor of Property in the state’s history. As the Assessor of Property, Wilhoite and her amazing staff is responsible for the valuation of all taxable residential and commercial properties in Davidson County. Wilhoite also served two terms on the Nashville Metro City Council from 2003-2011, representing Southeast District 29.
Wilhoite, a native of Gulfport, Mississippi, graduated from the two-time Grammy-Award winning Tennessee State University (TSU). She came to TSU at the encouragement of her cousin Homer R. Wheaton, whom she affectionately call “Uncle Homer.” Wilhoite started her career as a Real Estate Appraiser at the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA). She later became Chief of the Consumer Services Division and advanced to become TRA’s statewide representative for Consumer Education & Outreach where she helped consumers make informed decisions about their utility services.
Under Wilhoite’s leadership, the Office of the Assessor of Property, a team of more than 80 professionals, received the prestigious Certificate of Excellence in Assessment Administration from the International Association of Assessing Officers. The Office of the Assessor of Property was also selected as a finalist for the Nashville Business Journal’s 2022 Best of Business Awards. Wilhoite says, “As Assessor of Property, I know this city, and I know the people who call this wonderful city home. People all over the country want to come here. As mayor, I will work to make sure Nashville’s growth is managed in a way that leaves no neighborhood behind.”
She is married to Larry Wilhoite. They have two adults sons, Pherius and Lelan, and dogs Bella and Teddy.
Wilhoite lives by the adage: “Do all of the good you can, in every way you can, for all of the people you can, while you can.”