Candidate: Joy Styles
Metro Council District 32
Occupation: “Bridge building, community engagement, revitalizing the district through zoning and development.
Previous candidacy/offices held: “First term Council Member”
Community experience: “Prior to serving on council, I was the chair of the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship MLK Day Committee. I currently sit on the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, am the Vice Chair of the Cheatham County Rail Authority, serve as the chair of the National Trends Facet for The Links, Incorporated and am a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.”
What will be your top three priorities on the Council?
“My focus has been and will continue to be quality of life issues. 1. Fully funding departments that have been overlooked and underfunded are a priority. 2. Public Safety 3. Bringing trash back under Metro control. No more contractors./ Bringing janitors back into our schools/No more contractors”
What is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you approach it?
“Smart development and infrastructure are issues that we must continually address, as the southeast is the fastest growing part of town. We have frequent power outages, and I have been working on solutions with Nashville Electric Service about the grid and what repairs are needed to handle our growth. NES now comes quarterly to my community meetings to provide updates on their specific investment in the southeast. We also have to manage density. While we need some density for development, but we cannot overdo it and completely change the character of the area. Economic Development is also an ongoing need and is in process. We still need mid level restaurants, not just fast food, so I will continue to push for and recruit those businesses. Finally, we have the street racers. These individuals shut down intersections, trespass on private property and wreck havoc. Over the next two months, with MNPD, we are working on a possible solution in addition to the MNPD Street Racing Team.”
Much of the city’s developmental focus, like plans for a new East Bank, have focused on downtown. What’s your vision for downtown?
“To be frank, my priority focus is on the revitalization of the Global Mall in my district, which will be the hub of our community. However, when thinking of downtown and its future, my priority is making sure that whatever we build, it will be a benefit for both tourists AND residents. We still have a great deal of work to do on making our urban core an enjoyable place for everyone that lives here.”
Did you or would you have voted to approve the new Titans stadium financing legislation?
“I did vote to approve the stadium and believe that the benefits outweigh staying in the original stadium deal.”
Does Metro need more police officers beyond the unfilled positions?
“Public safety should always be the priority. Currently, we are spread too thin. When we host major events downtown, every precinct has to send the majority of their officers to cover them and districts are left with only a handful of officers. And while I am excited for the new south precinct, I would much rather have more officers available than remain in the position that we are in now.”
What do you think of the current framework passed by the council around LPR (license plate readers) usage? Do you think Metro should allow facial recognition technology to be used downtown?
“As the first person to introduce any LPR legislation back in 2020, and having contributed to the current legislation, I am very proud of the framework. We have provided significant parameters, far more than other cities, to prevent inappropriate use and protect constituents’ privacy. We also included exactly what crimes we would be pursuing: Violent Crimes, Amber and Silver Alerts. No expired tags, expired insurance or surveillance. The current pilot is going very well and as contributed to the apprehension of criminals, as expected. As far as facial recognition, it would require significant community conversation and then legislation to be sure that it was used appropriately. But facial recognition could be beneficial in solving crimes.”
Do you think a property tax rate adjustment will be needed in the next 4 years? Why or why not?
“It is quite possible. When we raised taxes, we did it because we were long overdue to do it, and we were suffering as a city financially. It had to be done. Now that we have righted our finances, we need to make these tax decisions one year at a time. We may have to raise taxes in four years, but we may not have to. What is most important is that we are willing to do what needs to done and not focus on being liked, or worried about decisions based on re-election. Leadership means making hard and sometimes unpopular decisions.”
Do you view your role in the Council as leading your district on issues or simply reflecting the views of the district’s residents?
“The correct answer is both. We are all elected to represent our constituents and their concerns, as well as lead on issues that affect the city. We cannot afford to operate in silos. It is rare that one district has an issue that is not occurring in many others. The district needs, however, are the priority.”
How do you view the relationship of the city and Council to the General Assembly in the face of adverse legislation from the state?
“It is certainly contentious. However, we have to figure out a way to build a bridge between the two bodies. Part of what went wrong was that there was no communication between us when the legislation about the RNC was filed. Though we are a blue dot in a red state, I believe there are always opportunities for growth. We cannot fix everything, but we have to have hope.
The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?”
The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?
“While there is clearly a need for affordable housing, the difficulty comes in with developers able to build affordable housing in the current market. There is no financial win. However, many do want to build affordable housing. Because of state pre-emption, we are unable to require a portion of all projects to contain a percentage of units dedicated to affordability. Our best option is the funding that we provide to housing organizations such as the Barnes Fund. These funds enable the construction of this housing and we have contributed more in this past term than the council has in the past.”
What improvements do you think WeGo should make during the next four years? Would you back creation of a dedicated funding source?
We need to fully fund WeGo in order to create sustainable solutions to our transit crisis. We desperately need more routes that have transfer points across the city, and get rid of these ‘wheel spoke’ travel routes. It is extremely difficult to convince people that they use public transportation when what we offer takes them longer than driving their car. Public transportation is the solution to our traffic issues. I absolutely support a dedicated funding source for WeGo and I hope that we can achieve this next term.
Second-quarter campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $19,299
Link to full disclosure here
Pre-General campaign finance disclosure
Did not file