RELEASE: Voters Elect Pro-Immigrant Champions to Nashville Metro Council

 September 12, 2019
CONTACT: Hamp Price,

Voters Elect Pro-Immigrant Champions to Nashville Metro Council
After More Than 14,000 Doors Knocked, 21 TIRRC Votes-Endorsed Candidates Win

NASHVILLE - Nashville voters elected 21 pro-immigrant champions to the Metro Council tonight, according to TIRRC Votes, an organization dedicated to building political power in Tennessee’s immigrant and refugee communities. TIRRC Votes directed its power and resources to electing a historically diverse and progressive council that can drive a pro-immigrant agenda in the city.

For Nashville’s municipal election cycle, TIRRC Votes ran one of the largest voter mobilization campaigns in Davidson County. In the months leading up to the August 1 general election and tonight’s runoff, the TIRRC Votes team — comprised of more than 60 young people from more than 25 countries — contacted more than 42,000 voters, knocked on more than 14,000 doors and made nearly 2,000 phone calls to immigrant voters.

“In this historic moment, city governments have a critical role to play in protecting immigrant families and defending our values. Pro-immigrant voters knew how much was at stake and shaped the outcome of this election,” said Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of TIRRC Votes. “Voters sent a clear message tonight that Nashville should be a place where all of us feel safe and welcome, no matter where we’re from or the color of our skin.”

Leading up to Nashville’s runoff election, immigration was a major issue on the minds of voters, as recent national and local events have demonstrated the urgent need for Metro government to enact clear policies to separate the work of city agencies and protect residents from deportation. This newly elected council puts Nashville in its strongest position ever to advance meaningful policy change and cast a new vision of belonging in our communities.

TIRRC Votes is also celebrating the historic victories of Sandra Sepulveda and Zulfat Suara. Sepulveda, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, won her race in District 30, making her the first Latina elected to the Metro Council. Suara was elected to serve as one of the county’s at-large council members. She is the first immigrant in Nashville to win a countywide council race, the first African immigrant, and the first Muslim to be elected to the council.

“Nashville’s immigrant community and allies worked hard to elect a Metro Council that better reflects the diversity of our community and our shared values,” Teatro said.  “The council has a clear mandate to take bold and meaningful action to protect immigrant communities from deportation and invest in our shared prosperity. We look forward to partnering with all of the newly elected officials to make Nashville a truly welcoming city.”

Launched in 2018, TIRRC Votes, emerged as a major force in city government this cycle. In May, the TIRRC Votes campaign launch party drew 500 people and the Immigrant & Refugee Candidate Forum on June 10 drew more than 700 people. These two events were among the most-attended of any political event in the city during this election season.


TIRRC Votes Endorsed Candidates Elected on September 12

At Large Council Members:
Burkley Allen
Sharon Hurt
Zulfat Suara

Council District 2:
Kyonztè Toombs 

Council District 7:
Emily Benedict 

Council District 13:
Russ Bradford

Council District 16:
Ginny Welsch

Council District 21:
Brandon Taylor

Council District 30:
Sandra Sepulveda


TIRRC Votes Endorsed Candidates Elected on August 1

Vice Mayor:
Jim Shulman

At Large Council Members:
Bob Mendes 

Council District 5:
Councilmember-Elect Sean Parker

District 8:
Councilmember Nancy VanReece

District 17:
Councilmember Colby Sledge

District 19:
Councilmember Freddie O’Connell

District 20:
Councilmember Mary Carolyn Roberts

District 22:
Councilmember-Elect Gloria Hausser

District 29:
Councilmember Delishia Porterfield

District 31:
Councilmember-Elect John Rutherford

District 32:
Councilmember-Elect Joy Styles

District 33:
Councilmember Antionette Lee

Chloe Tamula