Thursday, May 03, 2007

Coffee With Council Candidate Freda Player

A few days ago, I had an engaging chat over coffee with one of the Metro Council candidates for District 19, Freda Player (hat tip to Sean Braisted and Sam Davidson for referring her). We spent about an hour and a half at Starbucks conversing about her background, her vision for District 19, and some future priorities for Salemtown. Freda is originally from Pennsylvania, came to Nashville to attend Fisk University, worked a stint on the 2000 Gore campaign and has decided to remain in Nashville to live.

She has a great deal of community service experience to go along with her political credentials. More importantly, she seemed to be on the same page with me with regard to changes that could have a positive impact on Salemtown. She spoke of both I-65 noise pollution and needed upgrades to the Water Treatment Plant as priorities for anyone running to follow Ludye Wallace. I told her that many of us here in S-town have such low expectations of our Council Member that the progress bar is set pretty low for whomever is elected in August. She made it clear that she would be a very different leader than her predecessor.

I threw her some straight fastballs, a curve or two, and even one spitter, and she did well with all of them: she hit the fastballs hard and far, got good wood on the curves, and made contact with the spitter. I left our conversation impressed by her thoughtful insights into everything from dealing with inter-district conflicts, facing strong-arming by Metro's Executive, and explaining her vision for our neighborhoods. Without coming out and endorsing her as yet, I can say that she looks like a strong candidate to me, and the presence of strong candidates is what our rapidly changing district needs.

Freda struck me as a leader who has lofty goals, but who also has her feet on the ground with respect to political realities. She sounded like someone who would be willing to wade into a fight for her constituents and to form alliances to get some action. She told me that she intends to be unfailingly available to the voters, which is obviously a good thing and something that average residents of District 19 would not quite be used to. Freda seemed like a person with strong boundaries: she said that at the end of leadership terms she knows how to let go and allow the next generation take over. That is also a strength as far as I'm concerned, because strong boundaries often reflect a centered person.

I'm sure Freda would not have a problem with me passing on her e-mail address for those of you who might like to follow up with your own questions: Avail yourself of the opportunity to become a more educated voter in August.

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