By Rosetta Miller-Perry
As editor of the longest running African-American news institution in Nashville, I have built a reputation for shining lights on the facts: how business decisions made downtown affect our community; how referendums that appear on the ballot from time to time have impact on how we live, work, and play; and yes, how important it is that we participate in the political process.
This paper has both calmed the storms of politics and, more than often, ruffled some feathers. To our credit, we walk and work in the tradition of African-American newspapers who, for nearly two hundred years in this country, have taken up the charge to practice the art of seeing something—and saying something.
What we do is just as important as what we say, and while we are charged with the task of providing accurate information to our readers; we also embrace the opportunity to interpret information from our informed perspective. It is with this perspective that The Tennessee Tribune formally endorses Jerry Maynard, II for the office of State Senator, District 19, soon to be vacated by Senator Brenda Gilmore, who is retiring.
We cannot overlook the jagged road that brought us to this crossroads. Senator Gilmore, who has recently endorsed Candidate Maynard as well, has a long reputation in this city as a public servant. As respected as she is by this newspaper, even she has not been immune to criticism by my own hand. Her attempt to choose an immediate successor triggered our state’s anti-skulduggery act—an action I squarely and very publicly criticized. Because of this law, the doors were opened so that the field could be filled with qualified candidates to hold the prestigious and important position of State Senator for District 19.
After a thorough examination of the candidates, their experience, and records, we feel as if our best way forward for our community is to trust a voice that has represented the African-American community with strength, vision, and accountability for over twenty years.
That candidate is Jerry Maynard, II.
With all of the noise coming out of our radios, televisions, and digital spaces, it is hard to discern who is the best candidate. What I have come to know over my long career is that any time you have to tell people about all of your accomplishments, it often means that average voting people do not know who you are. We know Maynard, and in a time when Trumpist Republicans are running roughshod over our rights as women, minorities, and the marginalized, we cannot place our bets on unproven ground.
We are in need of a State Senator who will fight for our rights; one who knows the legislative process and has a mastery of how to bridge the divides to pass legislation that works to our community’s benefit; a Senator with deep ties to our community, who can use the bully pulpit of State Office to open doors for all of us.
Personally, I haven’t always agreed with Jerry Maynard on all issues (have any of us with anyone?), but I have observed how he has fought for us constantly over the years. General Hospital, which has been standing in the gap for the poor and underserved generationally in Nashville, has been threatened with closure for as long as I can remember, sometimes yearly. Maynard stopped the closing of the hospital on more than one occasion, through fierce and unrelenting advocacy.
As a highly-respected Metro Councilman in North Nashville, Jerry helped to reform city contracts, ensuring that over 300 million dollars went to women, minority-owned, and small businesses. He is known for stepping up and speaking out on everything from Affordable Housing, to Women’s Rights, Gun Control, and Community Development.
Let me be clear: if there is one area that is sorely lacking in perfection, it is politics. In this day and age of social media and self-promotion, people will say anything to get elected to office. Remember, though, this decision is about who is the best person to get things done.
I and the entire staff of this publication have been observing this race since the deadline to qualify to run closed. As is often the case, the race began with all candidates promoting positivity, a path that has begun to disappear. As time passes in any election, candidates begin to reveal more of who they truly are at the core.
What is remarkable about Jerry Maynard, II is that, while other candidates have begun to turn virulently negative, dispatching surrogates to public meetings and the internet to attack him for being a successful businessman (insinuating that somehow being a Black, male, independent business owner is a terrible thing in 2022), he has remained calm, positive, focused, and attentive. He continually takes the high and inclusive road, whether at a public forum, or on doorsteps when speaking to us in our homes and businesses.
These are the exact qualities we need in our next State Senator for District 19. We need someone who can hand these right wing Republican legislators a cup of Hell in a hand basket with advocacy and accomplishment; Someone who has the temperament to not bite back when being attacked with baseless accusations, but will instead stay focused on protecting our rights and freedoms. This is The Work, and this is why, recently, several of the strongest women voices in the city have also voiced support for Maynard’s candidacy.
The Tennessee Tribune proudly endorses Jerry Maynard, II for State Senator, District 19. Now, more than any other time in our city and state’s history, we need his leadership, vision, and energy to represent the needs of our community.
Show up to the polls, make your voice heard, and let us elect a State Senator with the talent and temperament to represent us well.