- Democratic state Sen. Heidi Campbell has served parts of Nashville since 2020.
- She recently ran to represent Tennessee’s newly-redrawn 5th Congressional District but lost to Republican candidate Andy Ogles.
- Her political experience includes six years as mayor of Davidson County suburb Oak Hill.
Democratic state Sen. Heidi Campbell has entered Nashville’s 2023 mayoral race.
She announced her campaign from Public Square Park on Wednesday.
Campbell said she didn’t see the next mayor of Nashville in the current candidate pool, so she’s entering the race. She said Nashville is “in the midst of a hostile takeover” and she has a “deep understanding” of the issues between the state and Nashville governments.
“The next mayor of Nashville will wake up to some big challenges and we need someone with the experience and the temperament to take the reins,” she said. “We need solutions, not rhetoric. We need a city where everyone from Hermitage to Bordeaux to Bellevue knows that every day their leaders are fighting for them.”
Nashville is deciding its future, Campbell said.
“We need to ask ourselves, are we building a city to visit or a city to live in?”
Campbell has represented parts of Nashville in the state legislature since 2020, when she defeated two-term Republican incumbent Steven Dickerson. Her current term ends in November 2024.
Campbell said she had been considering a mayoral run and was leaning toward launching a campaign, and the tragedy Nashville experienced in the Covenant School shooting last week pushed her to step up. The school is located in her state Senate district.
She was joined at her Wednesday campaign launch by a cadre of supporters including state Rep. Bob Freeman, Rep. John Ray Clemmons, Sen. Sara Kyle, Rep. Bo Mitchell and Cheryl Mayes, a current Nashville School Board member and former district director for the office of former U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper.
Main focuses of her campaign will include increasing access to affordable housing and transit, Campbell said. When asked about ongoing deliberations for the proposed Titans stadium deal, Campbell said it is a ”complicated decision” that she encourages Metro Council members to vote on with conscience. She believes she will inherit the deal in some form, and said she will work to secure the best outcome for Nashville.
During her time in the General Assembly, Campbell has been a strong voice on abortion access, marijuana legalization, Medicaid expansion and fixing the state’s problems with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
Campbell was not present on the Senate floor Wednesday morning during a debate and vote over a bill concerning abortion exceptions. Campbell said returned after the news conference announcing her campaign and filed a vote against the bill.
She campaigned to represent Tennessee’s newly redrawn 5th U.S. Congressional District in 2022, demonstrating her strong fundraising ability, but lost to Republican candidate Andy Ogles.
Prior to entering state politics, Campbell served two terms as mayor of Davidson County suburb Oak Hill from 2014 to 2020. While serving as Oak Hill mayor, Campbell at one point eliminated her own salary to help balance the budget.
Born in Nashville, Campbell holds a bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a master’s degree in business administration from Vanderbilt University.
She is a member of several groups for women in politics and has served on the Greater Nashville Regional Council Board and the Metro Solid Waste Board.
In the private sector, Campbell is the owner and president of AAM Music Licensing Company and has experience as a music marketing director.
She joins a growing list of mayoral candidates including fellow Tennessee state Sen. Jeff Yarbro, current council members Sharon Hurt and Freddie O’Connell, economic development veteran Matt Wiltshire, former AllianceBernstein executive Jim Gingrich, former educator Natisha Brooks and former Metro Nashville Public Schools Board member Fran Bush. The candidate pool spiked after sitting Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced he would not run for reelection.
May 18 is the qualifying deadline for the Aug. 3 election.