Candidate: Mike Cortese

Metro Council District 4


Occupation: “Adjunct Professor + Sales/BusinessDevelopment”

Previous candidacy/offices held: “None”

Community experience: 

“I have volunteered with : 

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle TN 

Nashville Rescue Mission

The Word Wagon

St. Jude

Room in the Inn

Belmont University Auxiliary Partners


Running for Charity”

What will be your top three priorities on the Council?

“1. Keeping Nashville Affordable

2. Creating a better quality of life for residents: Reinvesting revenue from downtown back into our communities – Road upgrades, sidewalks, green spaces, community services, public safety. 

3. Making sure there is a strong dialogue and line of communication between the city government & District 4 Residents.   I have a plan to make sure our community is engaged and informed.  Please see the resident engagement section on my website.”

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

“1. Residents feel the city government does not care about our neighborhoods.  

2. Residents in District 4 feel there is not any communication between our current council rep and the community.”

“To solve the district’s problems there needs to be a strong and consistent dialogue between our communities and the local government.  You cannot create solutions that benefit the District as a whole if you do not know how each problem is affecting residents directly. I have a plan to make sure our community is engaged and informed.  Please see the resident engagement section on my website.”

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

“Downtown Nashville is a haven for adult tourists.  That tourism is a great asset, but I have a vision that creates a downtown that can continue to generate a great experience for adult tourists but also a safe and enjoyable experience for families.”

“Talking with residents in my district, they are afraid to even take their kids to a sporting event downtown because of how intense the partying is on broadway.  We have to have an approach that creates an environment for families and businesses outside of tourism to also thrive.”

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

“This is an instance where I think the current administration failed to properly inform residents.  I hate misinformation and there was a lot of misinformation circulating through the city on this topic. That is simply not fair to voters.”  

“Regarding the initiative itself, I do think it will benefit the city.  Here are a few reasons why I think this deal will help us in our effort to reinvest in our neighborhoods and build a better quality of life for our residents: 

– It will free up money from the city’s general fund that would have been used on the current stadium.  Under the current contract the city is financially responsible for maintenance and upgrades of the current stadium. 

– Under the new deal the Titans will be financially responsible for maintenance/upgrades.   

–  A portion of revenues created from the stadium will directly benefit local non-profits.  

– The funds that the city committed to the project will come from revenue bonds.  This means the money to pay those bonds will come from revenue directly created by the new stadium.  The city will not have to pull money from the general fund to pay those bonds.  In short, that means your property taxes will not be paying for this stadium.” 

“PLEASE NOTE: Even though this deal will create additional revenue streams and free up funds for the city, we need a council and mayor who are willing to direct those funds to the proper needs.”  

“To those of you who were against the deal, I fully agree with you that many needs in our city have been neglected over the past decade.  I promise you I will fight to make sure every penny generated from this deal is spent on our neighborhoods, our schools, our infrastructure, our affordable housing initiatives, our public safety, and our community services.”  

“Last but not least, I want to commend all the residents who showed up to speak at the final vote.  I was extremely excited and inspired to see so many people engaging in the civic process.  Please keep engaging so our city leaders know what your priorities are for our city.”

Does Metro need more police officers beyond the unfilled positions?

“I would defer to Chief Drake and his leadership team on the number officers they feel they need to protect the city.  As a member of the council I will work directly with law enforcement to ensure they have the tools and funding they need to meet the challenge of crime surges, while also working to expand other services to respond to emergencies like mental health crises, drug abuse, and homelessness.”  

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 a big proponent of personal privacy rights.  While I have serious hesitations on a personal level about this program, I also understand the value of it for law enforcement.  If my child was kidnapped that is a program I would want in place.” 

“I believe that any time a policy is enacted that encroaches on a citizen’s privacy it needs to be reviewed regularly.  Those reviews should test for the effectiveness of the program and throughly check for any abuses and overreach.” 

“I would like to speak with the mayor and Chief Drake about what safeguards we could legislate to make sure regular reviews are conducted and abuse is not taking place.”  

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

“I do not believe we will need to raise taxes.  The city should be seeing more revenue from tourism in the coming years.  We will also have access to more money in the general fun which was designated for maintenance and improvement at the current stadium.” 

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 see it as a combination of both.  We elect our representatives because we believe they have a certain skill set to solve specific problems.  The solutions those representatives come up with though should be guided by resident feedback.”  

“To find the best solutions, I believe there needs to be a strong and consistent dialogue between our communities and the local government.  I have a plan to make sure our community is engaged and informed.  Please see the resident engagement section on my website.”

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 think the overreach by the state legislature is an attack on every Tennessean’s rights. The legislature holds more power than the city government so we have to be strategic and very consistent in our efforts to protect our rights.  Here are our 3 main assets:

1.  Build a Case: We have to make a more convincing case to voters across Tennessee. We need to show them how the legislature’s overreach is an attack on their rights and civil liberties.  It cannot only be a Nashville issue.  Voters in every county of Tennessee have to understand that any Government overreach is an assault on their freedoms as well. They have to feel it and be able to relate it to their personal situation.  Once Tennesseans feel that attack viscerally the legislature will have no choice but to pull back or be voted out of office. 

2. Beat Them in Court: We have to challenge them in the courts whenever possible. Every loss we add to the legislature’s scorecard will fuel the case we are making on the communication front.

3. Consistently Show Up: We have to engage every time the legislature steps over the line.   The more voices we have the easier it will be to show other Tennesseans the dangers in letting the legislature run over resident’s rights and civil liberties.”

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

“In the 70s a blue collar worker could feed a family, buy a house, go on vacation each year, and send his/her kids to college working 40 hours a week.  That is not the reality anymore and it is a result of policy choices made over the past 4 decades.  

We have to find a solution.  Nashville’s future depends on it.  

I will work to bring all stakeholders together to find a path forward that gives young Nashvillans the same opportunities to build wealth that previous generations had.  There are many creative programs and policy solutions available to us, but to find the best solutions for Nashville specifically, we will need representatives for all stakeholders at the table talking.

NOTE: Nashville is very attractive to tourists and major corporations.  I believe we can leverage those two assets to reduce the overall tax burden on residents when it comes to implementing solutions for these two problems.  You can also find more information at my website regarding policy ideas to help keep Nashville more affordable for current residents.”

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

“I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and the city had a robust public transportation system. My Aunt, who lived 1 borough away from us,  suffered from schizophrenia and did not have a driver’s license.  It was because of public transportation that she was able to be a productive member of society.  For her entire career she took 1 trolley and 2 buses to work everyday.” 

“The public transportation system in Pittsburgh also created huge economic opportunities for businesses and communities of all sizes.  Residents who did not have access to a vehicle were able to gain employment downtown, in the suburbs, and in the surrounding urban areas, all because of the robust system that was in place.” 

“I have been in Nashville for 22 years and I have seen the gridlock get worse by the day.  I am committed to helping city leadership create a robust but fiscally responsible transit system.  We have to get a plan moving soon as the growth in Nashville is projected to continue for the next decade and beyond.  I shudder when I think of a Nashville that is significantly more populated, without a suitable public transit system to ease the gridlock.” 

Second-quarter campaign finance disclosure

Raised: $23,205

Spent: $8,772

Cash on hand: $14,433

Link to full disclosure here

Pre-General campaign finance disclosure

Did not file