|State Rep. Powell|
According to Mike, elected officials in attendance included state representative Jason Powell, CM Fabian Bedne and CM Jason Potts. Also attending representing the Mayor's Office was Daniel Wainwright. Mike has an office on Nolensville Pike and he says that he is particularly concerned about the impact of the growth of high-interest payday lenders along the corridor. Given that the town hall meeting encouraged questions about "revitalization of Nolensville Pike", Mike had some questions for Rep. Powell in particular:
I asked him how much money he has taken from the payday loan industry and he refused to answer. He has, of course, taken several contributions from them.
I spoke to him on the phone a couple of months ago and he told me that he has no problem with payday loan stores, and that he knows the people at Advance Financial, and they are "good people".
Not everyone who attended the meeting was happy with Mike for raising questions about the influence of the donations of predatory lending companies on conditions along Nolensville Pike. He forwarded me emails that accused him of having a "political agenda." How is it a political agenda to ask a politician to identify the sources of his financial support which might lead him to support certain developments that neighbors have issues with? It seems common sense to me.
I remember that right after CM Erica Gilmore was elected the first time to represent the district where I live, a Germantown leader told me straight up that several people in that neighborhood donated an impressive amount of money to her campaign to leverage their historic overlay, which she eventually took to passage. People understand that this is how the system currently operates. There is no other agenda in learning about who is beholden to whom. It is a natural question we should be asking.
Jason Powell's second quarter campaign finance report shows a $1,000 donation from the Advance Financial PAC. What is the harm in asking Rep. Powell to be publicly accountable to South Nashville constituents for the wealthy special interests that could influence how he supports revitalization along Nolensville Pike?