TIRRC Votes Endorses Council Candidates in 15 Districts


CONTACT: Hamp Price | hamp@tirrcvotes.org | (256) 749-6420

TIRRC Votes Endorses Council Candidates in 15 Districts
Pro-immigrant voters will ‘make the difference’ in district races

NASHVILLE — TIRRC Votes, an organization dedicated to building political power in Tennessee’s immigrant and refugee communities, announced today 15 endorsements in Nashville Metro Council district races. The TIRRC Votes endorsements include:


District 5: Sean Parker
District 8: Councilmember Nancy VanReece
District 13: Russ Bradford 
District 16: Ginny Welsch
District 17: Councilmember Colby Sledge
District 19: Councilmember Freddie O’Connell
District 20: Councilmember Mary Carolyn Roberts
District 22: Gloria Hausser

District 23: Councilmember Mina Johnson
District 26: Councilmember Jeremy Elrod
District 29: Councilmember Delishia Porterfield
District 30: Sandra Sepulveda
District 31: John Rutherford
District 32: Joy Styles
District 33: Councilmember Antionette Lee


“TIRRC Votes chose these Metro Council candidates because of their past or pledged support for policies that strengthen and protect Nashville’s immigrant community — and because immigrant voters and their allies can make the difference in these races,” said Stephanie Teatro, Co-Director of TIRRC Votes. “The immigrant community understands fully that this election represents an opportunity to put the Metro Council in its strongest position ever to implement pro-immigrant policies. Immigrant voters know what’s at stake in this election and are ready to go to the polls in support of candidates who will stand up for immigrant families in this historic moment.”  

Several of the candidates, including Sepulveda, Welsch, Bradford, Elrod, Porterfield, Styles and Lee are competing to win districts that include a significant amount of immigrant voters, according to TIRRC Votes. 

Councilmembers Elrod, Johnson, O’Connell, Sledge, Roberts, and VanReese, all previously supported a measure to disentangle local government agencies from efforts by federal immigration enforcement agents to deport and detain Nashvillians.

Teatro said this municipal election cycle is also historic because of the number of candidates who are immigrants. District candidate Mina Johnson and Sandra Sepulveda are first-generation and second-generation immigrants respectively. Earlier this month TIRRC Votes endorsed two immigrant candidates for Metro Council At-Large, Fabian Bedne and Zulfat Suara. 

“We’re excited to throw our support behind such talented candidates from the immigrant community who will be a powerful voice for immigrant families on the council and who will inspire so many communities to become more engaged with their local government,” Teatro said. “Immigrant voters and their allies are a powerful and growing force here in Nashville. We’re going to the polls to elect a council that better reflects our community and our values.” 

TIRRC Votes is running a robust Get Out the Vote effort to talk to tens of thousands of pro-immigrant voters about the stakes of this election. The organization plans to knock on at least 15,000 doors. 

The 15 candidates endorsed today join six candidates running for Metro Council At-Large and Vice Mayor that the organization endorsed in June. Teatro said TIRRC Votes is considering additional endorsements. 

TIRRC Votes launched last year in 2018 in response to the unrelenting assault on immigrant families. For its first election, the group developed statewide electoral mobilization program that engaged nearly 170,000 voters, made 36,000 phone calls and knocked on 19,500 doors. 

Statewide, nearly 8,000 immigrants cast ballots for the first time and immigrant turnout increased 35 percent over the previous midterm election. In Davidson County, immigrant voters turned out at higher rates for the 2018 midterms than in 2016 presidential election.

In Nashville, foreign-born residents account for nearly 13 percent of the population and more than a third of students in Metro Nashville Public Schools come from a household that speaks a language other than English.


TIRRC Votes was launched in 2018 to strengthen and expand our democracy by building power in immigrant and refugee communities and advocating for equitable and inclusive public policy. TIRRC Votes is affiliated with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC).

Rebecca Hall