Jul 25, 2023 - Election

Mayoral candidate Vivian Wilhoite makes her case

Photo: courtesy of Wilhoite's campaign

Property Assessor Vivian Wilhoite wants to break through the "boxes" that she says have come to define Nashville politics.

She tells Axios she rejects the idea that a candidate must either be pro-neighborhood or pro-business.

  • "We need stronger neighborhoods and stronger businesses, which have always been thought to be two competing entities, and they're not," she says.
  • "The city deserves both."

Wilhoite says she wants to pursue a "balanced approach" to several of the city's most pressing challenges.

  • "We need to get out of some of these petty politics boxes and get things done."

State of play: Her campaign lags far behind others in fundraising. But Wilhoite says her experience as a two-term district council member and in the citywide office of property assessor has uniquely qualified her for the city's top job.

What she's saying: "I cannot tell you that I'm going to be having a whole lot of money," she says. "But I have people power."

  • "I'm just going to keep working as hard as I can up until the very last second."

Why she's running: Wilhoite says her familiarity with Davidson County has helped her to understand its challenges and opportunities.

  • "I know this county, parcel by parcel," she says.

What she'd do on Day One: Wilhoite says she'd work on dual tracks as soon as she is elected.

  • Her top priority, she says, would be establishing connections with community members at the neighborhood level. She referenced former Mayor Bill Purcell, who was known for focusing on improving basic functions for residents.

At the same time, she says, she'd engage with regional and state leaders to collaborate on some of the area's most stubborn challenges, like mass transit.

  • "It's not going to happen with just Metro government alone," she says.
  • Improving Nashville's fraught relationship with the state will be one of the main challenges facing the next mayor, she says.
  • "We'll fight when we need to fight," she says, but "we need to try to find a way of getting that common ground known and work towards that common ground for the betterment of the people."

Neighborhood: Wilhoite has been in Nashville for more than 40 years and lives in southeast Davidson County.

Favorite weekend activity: Traveling through the city to look at parcels where new construction is set to begin, so she can monitor the city's change.

Best live music experience: Jazz on the Cumberland.

Best meal in Nashville: "My favorite meal is the one that is cooked by my husband."


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