Candidate: Teaka Jackson
Metro Council District 17
Occupation: “I am a legal professional; a Senior Litigation Paralegal. With over ten years of experience in this role, I assist with conducting legal research, drafting and reviewing legal documents, document management, attending court proceedings, and providing legal support in all aspects. As a Senior Litigation Paralegal, the expectation is to work at a higher level of expertise and frequently be involved in the client’s work at a more strategic level. I serve as an indispensable part of the legal system, where I have provided support to independent attorneys, law firms, Fortune 500 companies and government agencies in all phases of the litigation lifecycle, from court hearings, trial preparation, and appeals.
In addition, I am a Tennessee Supreme Court Civil and Victim-Offender Mediator. I am Suicide Prevention Certified by the Department of Mental Health for both Adults and Youth.”
Previous candidacy/offices held: “n/a”
Community experience: “Since early childhood I have consistently been involved in philanthropy, non-profit, community outreach and an active advocate District 17, Nashville and the State of Tennessee. I am an advocate who aides in bringing awareness and justice to protect and promote individual and collective rights. I champion for the most vulnerable people and communities. I seek to ensure that all people have their voices heard.
I am a 2023 graduate of Emerge Tennessee. I am an advocacy partner with Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities – Partners in Policymaking® Leadership Institute.
Among my board affiliations, I currently serve on the board of directors for Tennessee Justice Center. I am a Leadership Council Member with the Music City Young Professionals. I currently hold membership with Les Gemmes Inc. I am a mentor with TNAchieves – Tennessee Promise.
I serve and volunteer with various nonprofit organizations such as; Autism Speaks, American Cancer Society, Hands On Nashville, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle TN, and Susan G. Komen, and Nashville CARES. I am the sole founder of Love Thy Neighbors.
I have been humbly recognized for my professional and community contributions; I was awarded, honored and the recipient of the following honors: (2022) Most Powerful Women Honoree by NFocus injunction with Nashville Post; (2022) ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Nominee; (2022) Black History Makers Spotlight Honoree by Autism Tennessee; (2021) Young Professionals Honors Award by National Urban League; (2021) Mary Catherine Strobel Award by Hands On Nashville; (2021) Woman of Influence Award by Nashville Business Journal; (2020-2021) 40 under Forty Honoree by Tennessee State University’s National Alumni Association; (2020) Nashville’s Black 40 under 40 Award; (2018) Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities Award by the Office of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County Office of the Mayor in conjunction with Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.”
What will be your top three priorities on the Council?
My top priorities on the council will be;
• expand and increase funding and investments in affordable housing.
• support livable communities and economic development.
• invest in local businesses.
2.) PUBLIC SAFETY
• explore investing and collaborating with community based organizations that will assist in combating violence.
• support funding for crisis response, and mental health counseling for officers and the communities they serve.
• creating a safe environment for neighborhoods by strengthening police and community partnerships.
3.) HIGH QUALITY PLACE TO WORK AND LIVE
• safer infrastructure that supports strong and healthy communities; such as sidewalk and bike connectivity, traffic calming measures, pedestrian enhancements including crosswalk enhancements and lighting.
• Establish strategies for improving and funding our transit system.
• Preserving and protecting the unique culture, history, and character of our neighborhoods while supporting healthy, sustainable, and equitable growth and development.
• Focus on community based planning that involves community participation.”
What is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you approach it?
“The biggest issue facing District 17 is affordability. District 17 is a diverse population and an ever growing community. There are a number of issues that could be addressed within District 17. Prior to announcing my candidacy for Metro Council I took time to have one-on-one conversation with neighbors, business owners, community leaders and stakeholders of Distinct 17. I felt the need to gain a better understanding of what the people who make up the district need. Although, I did not converse with every individual connected to District 17; the consensus from the people I spoke with was affordability.
Metro Council is responsible for the allocation of the city’s budget. I would approach addressing affordability; by supporting and increasing the funding for local businesses and affordable housing. Regarding housing, I would like to explore the options leveraging and investing more into the Barnes Fund. Created in 2013, the Barnes Fund makes competitive grants to nonprofit housing developers to increase affordable housing options for Nashvillians. Grants include funding for preservation and creation of affordable rental and homeowner units and other supportive efforts to encourage long-term 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?
“My vision for downtown is an economically developed area that implements the creation of safer infrastructure, transit, and an affordable place to live and work that is inclusive for all.”
Did you or would you have voted to approve the new Titans stadium financing legislation?
“Initially, I needed more information surrounding the development of the new Titans Stadium. I am one that needs all of the details before making a final decision. With that said, I take the approach of doing what is best for the community and the people who will be directly impacted. As a member of Metro Council I would stand with the people. I will add; development should be equitable and sustainable. Community development can be successful; it takes collaboration among stakeholders who are dedicated to working together to define and solve problems within the community and pursue opportunities. This also involves effective and transparent Council members educating their constituents about various projects in the beginning stages.”
Does Metro need more police officers beyond the unfilled positions?
“In some neighborhoods of Metro Nashville and Davidson County there have been concerns with lack of response times when calling 911, due to a shortage of police. Public safety is a key concern for many residents. If increasing police staff will alleviate concerns from constituents then I am in favor of doing so. On the contrary, I believe the method of policing should be on a case by case basis – as the approach varies. I support investing funds into grassroot organizations, as they typically offer community based interventions, needed prevention services and support to combat violence and focus on community safety.
I would also like to explore funding for suicide or mental health-related crisis support; for individuals who experience mental health crisis during contact with law enforcement.”
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 am not favorable to the current framework passed by the council around LPR. The license plate reader poses a huge question regarding privacy. License plate readers are rapidly reshaping private security in American neighborhoods, No, I do not think the usage of facial recognition technology should be used downtown.”
Do you think a property tax rate adjustment will be needed in the next 4 years? Why or why not?
“No. I am not favorable with an increase in property tax. Metro Nashville and Davidson County currently have an affordability and homelessness crisis. There is a growing population of people with limited and/or fixed income, who are navigating through inflation and rising costs of living. They simply can not afford to live in Nashville. This is disturbing! As Council members our role should be to ensure that we help neighborhoods maintain affordability.”
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 believe my role on the Council is a balance of leading my district on issues and reflecting the views of the residents. The Council represents the people who elect them – in this case that would be the constituents of District 17. My top priority is to always listen, advocate, and address the needs and views of the residents of my district. With that said, I have a responsibility to be transparent and provide support through education and/or resources to my district to help them better understand any amending city laws, policies, and ordinances or projects concerning our community.”
How do you view the relationship of the city and Council to the General Assembly in the face of adverse legislation from the state?
“How I view the relationship of the city and Council to the General Assembly in the face of adverse legislation; It is important that Metro Council members stand in support of our constituents. My being on the Council is to champion and support inclusivity.”
The city is experiencing an affordability crisis. What is the council’s role in creating more housing for buyers and renters in Nashville?
“Metro Council is responsible for crafting the budget that frames the allocation of resources. The council should support an increase in funding affordable housing through the city’s budget which would help buyers and renters in Nashville.”
What improvements do you think WeGo should make during the next four years? Would you back creation of a dedicated funding source?
“The budget for our public transit system needs to be increased. The price for a ticket is around $65 dollars for 31 days – that could be expensive for individuals on a fixed income. I would also support more bus schedules and connectivity.”
Second-quarter campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $10,157
Link to full disclosure here
Pre-General campaign finance disclosure
Cash on hand: $3,157
Link to full disclosure here