Candidate: Kyonzte Toombs

Metro Council District 2


Occupation: “I am Deputy Director of the Division of Health Licensure & Regulation of the TN Department of Health.”

Previous candidacy/offices held: “Nashville Metro Council – Councilwoman, District 2”

Community experience: “In addition to serving on the Nashville Metro Council for the past 4 years, I have been involved in numerous organizations and have held multiple leadership positions.  Organizations: Napier-Looby Bar Association, President(2016); Napier-Looby Bar Foundation, Board Member (2016), Fellow (2018); Nashville Bar Foundation: Fellow (2015), Leadership Forum – Mentor; Nashville Bar Association, Secretary, Co-chair – Health Law Committee (2015, 2016); Lawyers Association for Women, Board Member (2016-present), Nominee – Athena Award (2019); Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women, Board Member (2016 to 2019), Board of Directors – Nashville North Collaborative, Co-Founder and Vice-President (2019-present); The Equity Alliance (2017-2019); The Equity Alliance Fund (President, 2018); Centennial Pediatrics Foundation (2013); Dad’s Garage (2008-2009), Street Theatre Company (2007-2008), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (2000-2002)”

What will be your top three priorities on the Council?

“I will continue to work on my platform: Equity, Affordability, and Safety.” 

What is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you approach it?

“Development and the infrastructure to support it.  I will continue to concentrate the bulk of development along the major corridors in the district while protecting, as much as possible, historic and established neighborhoods.  Further, I will continue to advocate not only for the infrastructure to support new development but for improved infrastructure to support existing neighborhoods.” 

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 focus is on bringing needed resources to my district.  Tourism is an important revenue source for Nashville and an increasing number of people are making downtown their home, so Downtown definitely needs resources to support that growth.  However, we have to make sure that neighborhoods outside of downtown also have the resources that they need.” 

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

“Yes, I supported the new Titans stadium financing deal to remove the legally-binding financial obligation off of the general fund by taking advantage of revenue sources that wouldn’t otherwise be available but for a new stadium. Amendments to the deal also created (or redirected) revenue that will go into the general fund, and the new stadium will be a more versatile and beneficial publicly-owned asset than the current stadium.” 

Does Metro need more police officers beyond the unfilled positions?

“From a liability perspective, I believe that Nashville should have the amount of officers needed for a city of Nashville’s size.  There’s data that supports that number. I don’t recall if Nashville is at that number (including unfilled positions). One of the most frequent requests that I get from my constituents is for more police patrols.  There are not enough officers to meet the requests that are received.  Hopefully, over time, as the city invests in more community resources to strengthen communities, the need for police decreases.  That’s not a slam on police.  The need for less police means that communities are safer.” 

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?

“A pilot program is the best approach, so that the data can be reviewed by the Council to determine whether the LPR usage should be permanent.  Many, if not most, of my constituents support the use of cameras for a variety of uses – speeding, illegal dumping, to stop illegal drug deals, theft, etc. There are neighborhoods that have purchased their own cameras while other neighborhoods are considering purchasing their own cameras. Because my constituents can come together and privately purchase their own cameras, if they choose to do so, I have supported the community groups who are adamantly opposed to LPRs due to privacy concerns as well as concerns about disproportionate impacts to minority communities (I represent a majority African-American district).” 

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

“The property tax rate will need to be periodically adjusted.  Just as the cost of living goes up for individuals due to inflation, the cost of governing also goes up. 74% of our revenue is property and sales tax. Increasing the sales tax would disproportionately impact low income households. Property tax is Metro’s largest revenue source (over 50%) as well as its most stable revenue source.  It makes sense to periodically adjust the tax rate in order to be able to maintain current services as well as provide increased services as Nashville grows. Per state law, Nashville is not allowed to collect more property tax revenue from existing properties than it did the prior year unless the Council raises the tax rate.  New property tax revenue from new development is not sufficient to keep up with the growing needs of the city.  Nashville’s financial position prior to the 2020 property tax increase showed us this.” 

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

“It’s both.  Residents elect people who they think align with their values and who will speak up for them on issues.  District 2 elected me to not only address District 2 specific issues but to bring the District 2 perspective to citywide conversations.  Residents also rely on me to be informed on the issues because they oftentimes do not have the time to do so.  In that respect, they rely on my professional expertise and knowledge of the issues to make informed decisions on behalf of the district.” 

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

“Right now, it’s very adversarial, and it doesn’t have to be. Nashville residents should be free to do what is best for Nashville.  Nashville generates about 1/3 of the State’s revenue.  So, Nashville is not bringing harm to Tennessee and is in fact, its greatest benefactor.” 

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

“The State legislature has preempted a lot of Nashville’s efforts to create affordable housing.  The role of the Council is to continue to try to create ways to incentivize and financially support more affordable housing units.” 

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

“I support a dedicated funding source.  WeGo is already working on a number of improvements under its Better Bus plan.  As a councilmember, I will continue to support WeGo getting the funding that it needs.” 

Second-quarter campaign finance disclosure

Raised: $22,800

Spent: $15,514

Cash on hand: $88,755

Link to full disclosure here

Pre-General campaign finance disclosure

Raised: $26,376

Spent: $24,576

Cash on hand: $2,510

Link to full disclosure here