2019 Mayoral Candidate Briley on questions posed by Venture Nashville
Published Wednesday, August 21, 2019 9:30 am
Below are verbatim responses to questions posed by Venture Nashville via respective campaign staff for the candidates seeking election as Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. The responses for the other candidate for Mayor are linked here.
Metro General Runoff Election is Sept. 12, 2019. The Early Voting period is Aug. 23, 2019 through Sept. 7, 2019 (closed Labor Day). The last day to request an absentee ballot is Sept. 5, 2019. Details.
Q1. HEALTH -- Where in your Administration would there reside responsibility for ensuring that, where possible, Metro spending and initiatives contribute toward improving the Health of Nashville residents, taking into account the health-related impacts of a broad array of Metro government decisions, in line with the concept of "social determinants of health"?
My senior leadership team meets regularly to discuss priorities across all sectors of government, and almost all policy touches on the social determinants of health. In the era of Public Health 3.0, that means access to housing, social emotional learning, equity, work opportunities, access to care, diversion to treatment from the justice system, the built environment and access to social services, all of which greatly impact a person's health. Work in public health and community health can no longer be discussed without the social determinant of health framework. A person cannot, for example, improve their health by increasing their physical activity if they are afraid to walk on their street because of gun violence or fear being bitten by a dangerous dog. Today, we approach all health policy with a focus on not just health care needs but improving all the barriers that can impede good health.
The point person my staff on social determinant issues, with the assistance of my full policy team, is the Senior Advisor for Health and Wellness Policy. This staffer advises on all things health in Metro and is the point person in the community and across government on my health care priorities as well as the services provided by the Metropolitan Department of Health and Nashville General Hospital.
I am committed to continuing to focus on social determinants of health and finding actionable solutions to improve health based on measurable data and community partnerships. Like most cities, our health department protects health (animal control, swimming pools, tattoo parlors and restaurants), provides direct health care services to the public (school nursing, vaccines and sexual health services), and works to sustain and improve the overall health of our community (Project Access, Ryan White navigation services, WIC).
The health department also serves as a convener for creating solutions that address social determinant services that impact health. The department oversees the city's community health assessment plan, known as Healthy Nashville. This collaborative plan sets the following three goals for our city: Advance Health Equity, Support Mental and Emotional Health, Maximize Built Environment to Improve Health.
There are many examples of how this work is carried out within government. It is woven into everything we do. Examples of work from my administration that integrates a social determinant of health approach include: the creation of the city's first Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic plan and its implementation advisory group, the work of the Health in All Policies task force, the work of the Ryan White Advisory Council, the design of the new $5.47 million Strong Babies initiative to improve maternal and child health, and in the body of work of the Behavioral Health and Wellness Advisory Taskforce. These are just some examples of our efforts to find workable solutions to improve systems that improve the overall health of vulnerable populations in our city. I am committed to this approach moving forward.
Q2. ECONDEV -- Thus far, neither Mayoral campaign has provided detailed comment on the adequacy or inadequacy of existing or possible new regional, multicounty partnership(s) in addressing Metro/Nashville problems and opportunities, particularly those associated with transit/transportation, affordable housing and economic development. How, if at all, would you improve leveraging of such new or existing partnerships to address transportation and economic development objectives?
I have been one of small group of key mayors to restructure and reboot the Greater Nashville Regional Council, which serves as both Middle Tennessee's development district and its Metropolitan Planning Organization. By restructuring it, this critical agency can be more responsive to regional concerns about transportation and economic development.
Moving the MPO program to the GNRC has given the region's mayors additional capacity to conduct planning and policy-setting around our transportation infrastructure, as well as provide better services for senior citizens and people with disabilities. GNRC administers Department of Commerce funds for economic and community development, and it is actively programming over $1 billion on transportation projects under the direction of the region's mayors, in cooperation with the State.
Current GNRC initiatives in which my administration has taken an active role include: A new smart-city technology study to support regional mobility; a major planning effort to identify south-corridor transit investments between Nashville and Franklin (including the evaluation of potential transit-oriented development sites); a regional approach to open-space preservation that quantifies the economic impact of parks, forest and farm land; the first-ever regional solid-waste plan which generated solutions to prepare for the closure of the Middlepoint Landfill in Rutherford County (a huge new market opportunity for small-businesses to recycle/repurpose materials locally); and a partnership with TDOT on replicating its innovative I-24 SMART Corridor project along all the other Interstate corridors leading in and out of Nashville.
I am also an engaged member of the Middle Tennessee Mayors Caucus, which works to broker positive, working relationships with Governor Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly on all the aforementioned policy priorities - many of which require a rapport with State and Federal leadership, in addition to regional cohesion and cooperation among the mayors.
Q3. ENTREPRENEURSHIP -- During your first year in office, what steps, if any, would you take to help improve support provided to Seed-stage startups that are domiciled in Metro/Nashville and which are supported by The Nashville Entrepreneur Center, The Nashville Business Incubation Center, the Tennessee State University Incubation Center, University-based innovation and entrepreneurship centers, and other nonprofits domiciled in -- and in some cases recently supported by grants from -- Metro/Nashville?
It is my goal for Nashville to be one of the best places in the country to start and grow a business. My office of Economic and Community Development convenes the entrepreneurship/small business support providers regularly (including all that you have listed and more), and they function as an ecosystem with a collective action plan. Additionally, we fund, (along with private philanthropy via Kauffman Foundation) a Navigation program at the Entrepreneur Center which provides a front door to this ecosystem for ANY business to get connected to the best resources quickly. We will navigate over 1,000 businesses this year.
My office is in full support of the equal business opportunity act and we are committed to doing business with more people of color, women, and LGBT businesses. My budget included funding for the organizations that support these businesses - the minority chambers of commerce and the Nashville Business Incubation Center as it is important to add capacity to support providers.
Q4. CAPITAL FORMATION -- With an eye toward improving capital formation, equity-capital investment and-or specialized financing (lending) facilities available to early-stage companies domiciled in Metro/Nashville -- (e.g., direct matching grants for SBIR-STTR applications, seeking expansion of programs run by such groups as nonprofit Pathway Lending, stepping-up support of federal Opportunity Zone initiatives in Davidson County, targeted alternative asset allocations by the investment committee of Metro Employee Benefit System, etc.) -- what actions would you consider taking during your first term as Mayor?
Incredible ideas for companies are being cooked up in Nashville every day, and Metro Government can play a role in linking our city's startups to capital. My administration has funded the Small Business Incentive Program, which provides money to fast-growing small businesses in Nashville. I have also supported funding for the Entrepreneur Center, which has made strides in attracting capital for startups, and for the Nashville Business Incubation Center. In addition, I put the Equal Business Opportunity program into effect, which ensures that minority- and women- owned business in Nashville have an equal chance to compete for Metro contracts. In my first full term we will continue to build on these efforts and work with other public, private and non-profit partners to increase sources of capital for startups. (###)