Candidate: Russ Pulley

Metro Council at Large


Occupation: “I am a Metro Council Member who serves District 25 and as a Federal Law Enforcement retiree, I treat my role as District Council Member as a full time job.”

Previous candidacy/offices held: “If you are asking about elected offices, I have served for two terms as a District Council Member in District 25. Professionally, I have served as a police officer, firefighter, state trooper, FBI agent, and Labor Investigator.”

Community experience: “Boy Scouts of America; Scoutmaster (15 years), Cubmaster (6 years)

Hillsboro High School; PTSA President (2 years), Vice President (1 year), Athletic Booster President (3 years), Hall of Fame Chair (5 years), Committee for new school construction

Battlemont Neighborhood Association Vice President (3 years)

McCabe Little League President (2 years), Baseball Coach 6 years

YMCA Soccer, baseball, basketball coach (8 years)

West End Middle School 5th and 6th grade basketball coach

The Green Hills Action Partners, member

Blakemore United Methodist Church, youth counselor

Grace Community United Methodist Church, youth counselor, teacher

Forest Hills United Methodist Church, Missions Committee, United Methodist Men President, Youth Counselor, Administrative Board

North Central Football Official’s Association President

Sun Belt Football Official’s Association President

Southeastern Conference Football Official’s Association”

What will be your top three priorities on the Council?

“1. Being responsive and accessible to constituents, which includes understanding what is important to them.

2. Establishing and maintaining the kind of relationships with new and old colleagues that will foster my ability to work with colleagues on the Council, Mayor’s Office, and other departments and legislative bodies. As one of 40 members, it is imperative that good working relationships are fostered.

3. Important issue topics are crime/safety/ gun violence; education; traffic/transit; responsible growth/affordability”

Much of the city’s developmental focus, like plans for a new East Bank, have focused on downtown. What’s your vision for downtown?

“It is important to recognize that downtown is a strong economic engine for our city generating a significant amount of the revenue we use to inject back into the many things important to our neighborhoods. It is important that we develop our downtown responsibly as we look at ways to accommodate growth. Sensible regulation is important and also requires input from everyone impacted. The East Bank is a long term project in which much community input has been provided. I believe more will be needed and solicited. It will be really important to understand what the new mayor’s vision will be for that as the leadership of that office will be crucial.”

Did you or would you have voted to approve the new Titans stadium financing legislation?

“Absolutely! I hear all kinds of talking points attached to that financing with some really key points missing. For me, it came down to what was best for our taxpayers. The contractual obligation which bound us to Nissan Stadium was terrible. Had we not passed this stadium financing plan, we would have been responsible for maintenance, capital improvements, and renovation costs that likely would have been well over $1b. Those funds would have been paid by general obligation bonds funded out of our general fund. And that would have been a far greater subsidy than what we approved. The new deal is capped for us at $790m and will be paid for by revenue streams. So, when you hear people talk about this being the largest public subsidy ever for a stadium, what they don’t tell you is an even larger public subsidy from the pockets of Davidson County taxpayers to subsidize an old stadium was what was about to happen without this deal. Again, which will be paid with revenue streams and free up money to be injected back into the things important to our citizens.”

Does Metro need more police officers beyond the unfilled positions?

“Yes. Look at the data on our response times. I constantly hear calls for increased enforcement in our neighborhoods. We are seeing increasing numbers of drag racing incidents and other areas of town where groups are taking over streets. Although come crime statistics are improving, aggravated assaults and other violent crimes are on the rise.  I do believe in the cooperative programs we have within the police department where we use  mental health professionals and I also believe in trying to get at the roots of what drives people to crime. Investing in deconcentrating of poverty, affordability, mental health services, and many others are very important, but not at the expense of the police.”

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?

“I strongly support LPR technology. The framework built into this bill is quite restrictive and is frankly one of if not the most restrictive in the country; and I understand that the results are really good while safeguarding the concerns brought to us by many in the community. 

As for facial recognition technology, I’d be interested to hear from all perspectives on the benefits and concerns before I stake out a position.”

Do you think a property tax rate adjustment will be needed in the next 4 years? Why or why not?

“I certainly am not in a position to offer a firm answer on that. I believe it is something we will consider and it may make sense. I would expect that given how healthy our budget is currently, we won’t be having that discussion this year and likely will be taking a look at that in conjunction with the reassessment which will reset the certified tax rate.”

Do you view your role in the Council as leading your district on issues or simply reflecting the views of the district’s residents?

“I strongly believe that as an elected representative, I must be led by guiding principles which I believe are to do the right thing for the right reason. It is important to hear from constituents about what is important to them. It is also extremely important to make sure in your role as a city leader to make sure I do what I can to ensure constituents are fully educated on the issues they expect me to study and understand.” 

How do you view the relationship of the city and Council to the General Assembly in the face of adverse legislation from the state?

“I don’t think our relationship is the greatest right now.  I believe strongly that we can represent what is important to Nashville while fostering working relationships with the legislature.”

The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?

“The Council has passed quite a bit of legislation over the past 8 years I’ve served which helps this. We have significantly increased funding to the Barnes Fund, recently added $50m  from Federal ARP funding for several areas to address different components of homelessness. We currently are looking at numbers which I believe have us in need of tens of thousands of units by 2030 and we are putting currently about 4,000 units per year online. We won’t quite get there at that rate, but we are making progress. Continuing to support development focused on affordability, continuing our dedicated funding of sources like the Barnes Fund, and putting to use our surplus properties are ways we can help address this need.”

What improvements do you think WeGo should make during the next four years? Would you back creation of a dedicated funding source?

“I think it is really important that we go back to the taxpayers with a new bold transit plan that offers solutions and allows us to access Improve Act dedicated funding sources which doesn’t force the Davidson County taxpayer to shoulder the burden. We need significant improvement to our public transit system, regional transit system, and infrastructure and we are going to get there and make real change without a bold plan.”

Second quarter campaign finance disclosure

Raised: $130,397

Spent: $29,585

Cash on hand: $123,857 

Link to full disclosure here

Pre-General campaign finance disclosure

Raised: $4,999

Spent: $11,601

Cash on hand: $116,486

Link to full disclosure here