By Clint Confehr
NASHVILLE, TN — Having defined herself by community service, Yolanda Hockett is running for Metro Council’s District 2 seat and will talk about it at her fundraiser Sunday.
From 12-4 p.m. June 29, Hockett’s Community Fish Fry Fundraiser is at 3729 Clarksville Highway in a parking lot near a pizza restaurant, a bank and a retail chain store.
“I’ve been dedicated all my life with the same drive that I’ve given to juvenile corrections,” said Hockett, assistant director of programs for Youth Opportunity Investments at the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center. “I want to give that to my district.”
For example, the responsibility school systems have for educating handicapped children now must be provided to youth in detention, she explained. Previously, detained youth were not educated.
Working with the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, Hockett spearheaded a campaign resulting in a study of education and detention services, she said. Educating children in detention is something schools here have done for years, but she wanted it statewide.
“I’m the one who brought the issue to the table and continued to advocate” for children, Hockett said. “Kids in detention have been able to graduate” high school.
During a budget shortfall, Gov. Phil Bredesen mandated spending cuts. Some would’ve transferred girls in detention to Woodland Hills, a facility for boys, Hockett said. She went to her employer, wrote to Bredesen, lobbied Metro Council, and helped keep the young women’s academy on Stewarts Ferry Pike.
“I’m proud of this,” she said. “People are benefitting from it today.”
Hockett advocated for trash cans in Edmondson Homesite Park and, with Councilman Colby Sledge’s help, the cans are there.
With the Haynes Trinity Neighborhood Coalition, she and other residents opposed the sale of land known as Trinity Ridge to fill a budget gap. They signed petitions. Hockett addressed Metro’s school board. She attended other meetings, took other steps, and “The land has not been sold.”
Hockett says she worked to get a bus stop on Buena Vista Pike. “People who ride the bus had to walk a long distance, so I went to MTA asking for a bus stop.” It’s in front of Friendship Baptist Church.
“So, I’m familiar with working with several organizations to get services that people need,” Hockett said.
She says residents want: sidewalks at Moormans Arm Road and Buena Vista Pike; a crosswalk for Ewing Lane; and a stop light at Knight Road and Ewing Lane. Residents complain about speeding motorists, particularly on Rebels Drive. Hockett suggests speed bumps or signs. “And we have some schools that are in danger of being shut down or consolidated.”
Residents “want complimentary development,” and don’t want to be displaced, Hockett said. They want a council member accountable to them, not developers. “They want to be notified about development coming in,” she said. Residents want amenities “like sit-down restaurants instead of fast food restaurants.”
Residents want “somebody who is accessible to them; an advocate, somebody to be on their side, to be their voice,” she said.
Her June 29 fundraiser is an “opportunity to meet me,” Hockett said. “I’ll answer any questions.” The fundraiser costs $7 per person. It will have music by a DJ and corn hole matches.
Hockett’s lived in Haynes Manor for 40 years. She a 1991 graduate of Hunters Lane High School. Her 1995 bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is from Tennessee State University. Her 2003 master’s degree in public service management is from Cumberland University.