SEIU Makes No Endorsement for Nashville Mayor, Adds Two Runoff Endorsements

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SEIU Local 205 announced two additional endorsements in the Metro Council runoff elections. Members of the union endorsed Kyonzte Toombs in District 2 and Emily Benedict in District 7. “We’re looking for people who will fight to make sure Nashville is a place where everyone can succeed,”said Russ Anthony, a member of the union’s endorsement committee. “We feel both Kyonzte and Emily are candidates who share our values and will work to bring people together to confront the challenges we face.”

SEIU chose not to make an endorsement in the Mayor’s race. This follows a recent decision by the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle TN to do the same. “We agree with CLC President Vonda McDaniel and appreciate her leadership,” said Brad Rayson, President of Local 205. “Candidates seeking our endorsement should understand the expectation of our members is that your words and your actions must line up with our values.”

SEIU’s endorsed candidates won big in the August 1st general election. Of the 28 endorsed candidates, 16 of them won outright. 9 other endorsed candidates are headed into runoff elections on Sept. 12 as the front-runners in their races.

For two years, SEIU has led the fight to pass a ‘Moral Budget’ that invests in our schools, infrastructure and public safety. “The results of the council elections sent a clear message that Nashville voters understand the need for more public investment and that candidates who addressed that need clearly won the day.” Rayson said.

Nowhere was this more clear than in the county-wide At-Large race. Councilman Bob Mendes, who led the fight to fix the budget for two years won the most votes and avoided a runoff. He was the first to do so since 2011. Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher, whose substitute budget would have sustainably funded raises to all Metro employees and given a much needed increase in school funding, was handily re-elected in her district. Delishia Porterfield, who spoke courageously in support of the Vercher budget, was re-elected with 76% of the vote.

“People in Nashville understand investment in our schools, public services and infrastructure have not kept up with the growth,” said Lilldeus Russell, a paraprofessional and SEIU member who was active on the union’s endorsement committee. “Voters are fully aware that these things cost money and they are willing to pay for them. We need all of our elected officials to understand that.”

SEIU members volunteered with other unions and community organizations including the Central Labor Council and the Nashville Justice League in an effort that contacted over 6,000 union households and knocked over 5000 doors in districts all across the county.

More information on the Sept. 12 runoff elections for Mayor and Metro Council, including early voting dates and polling locations, can be found at the Davidson County Election Commission website or by calling 615-862-8800.

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