Howard Jones, left, candidate for State Senate District 19 and The Honorable State Senator Thelma Harper

By Thelma Harper

NASHVILLE, TN — During the past few weeks, I have heard that I had endorsed multiple candidates to succeed me for State Senator for the 19th District.  Since I did not want anyone to be misled,  I felt it was imperative that I publically announced my endorsement for Howard Jones to be our next State Senator for the 19th District.

After 27 years, I chose not to seek re-election because it was time to pass the baton on to the next generation of leaders.  I endorsed Howard Jones because he has the Leadership skills, Experience and a Caring Compassion to move the 19th District forward in the right direction.  As a Senator, you sponsor and fight to pass laws that benefit your citizens, however in the 19th district you must also roll up your sleeves and help those in need, such as the homeless, elderly, and our young adults who need mentoring or a second chance after incarceration.  I have always believed it was my responsibility to help regardless if it was a Senator’s official responsibility or not.  For me, Howard Jones was a clear choice because he has a track record of caring and investing in the well-being of people and our neighborhoods.

Howard grew up in Nashville and has a clear vision and understanding about the issues affecting the District 19th.  More importantly, he knows how to come up with a plan and get it done.  

His bold vision regarding all of our Neighborhoods throughout the 19th district was definitely a big plus for me.  We all keep hearing about Nashville being the “IT” City, but Howard has a plan that will focus on developing  “IT Neighborhoods” without displacement and gentrification. Every time he sees a “Tall Skinny Home” he immediately says “we have to stop this rapid takeover of our Neighborhoods”.  

Under his leadership, he has already invested in Jefferson Street with plans to expand and build affordable housing. It is also important that we care for our youth & adults who have been incarcerated. I have been honored and continue to mentor teenage girls in detention, while Howard has provided mentorship, affordable housing, job training and employment through various missions. His ministry led him to find a way to offer affordable housing to those in need.   He also understands we must strengthen existing programs to help those released from incarceration in order to increase their chance to successfully transition back with their families & society.   

When it comes to education, Jones has nearly 30 years of experience as an educator.  Jones says, “Students and teachers must have the learning environment, supplies and a curriculum that prepares students to be College Bound or Job Ready.  Teachers deserve a pay increase and should teach more and test less.”  Education is a qualifier for success and speaks boldly for children and youth to excel.”

Last, but not least, Health Care is a major concern for Jones.  He will ensure Nashville General Hospital’s doors remain open while working on solutions to bridge the gap between what is currently being offered in regards to Health Insurance and what should be provided. He will also join the fight for the full expansion of Medicaid, however we all need to go the polls and elect more Democrats throughout Tennessee if this is ever going to pass.  In summary, Howard Jones will fight for the rights of others, speak for the voiceless and lead the hopeless. I support him 100% and this is why I have endorsed him to become our next State Senator of the 19th District