Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed independent mayoral candidate for Nashville, Fran Bush in studio to talk about affordable housing and campaign financing.
Leahy: It’s so much fun interviewing our good friend Fran Bush. Fran, you’re running for mayor.
Leahy: Your priorities, we’ll get to your priorities and your funding. So, number one, more police officers, more money for police. What are a couple of your other priorities as mayor?
Bush: The thing that keeps popping up all the time is what the big affordable housing here in the city.
Leahy: The big A, affordable housing.
Bush: We have to address this issue, and there are so many different ideas that I have if I’m elected for mayor. And I’m one of those that I am a listener and then I execute. So I’m going to be able to identify more resources for affordable housing. I’m going to be really involved because I have worked with developers, and they want to work with you, and they want to work with a community.
And so I want to come up with ways that we can really work together and really tackle this affordable housing in different ways. I think some of the things that are happening now are working, but there’s so much more we can do, and I have so many ideas to get the work done for affordable housing.
Leahy: What would one of those ideas be on affordable housing?
Bush: With affordable housing, it comes with, again, you have to have built relationships and building those relationships, because I have been an HOA president for so many years.
Leahy: Hold it. You’ve been a homeowner’s association president? Oh, my goodness.
Leahy: Oh, my goodness. So you live in a development, and there’s a homeowners association, and you’re the president of it?
Bush: Yes, president. I’ve been president of not only one newly developed community but two. So I had an opportunity to really build relationships with those contractors, those developers. And when you build relationships with developers, they want to work with the community.
And a lot of times we don’t really know that. We think, oh, they’re going to buy the land and they’re going to build. No, it’s much more relationship development in that process. So when these communities were being built, I made sure sidewalks were put in. I made sure we had a greenway, and we had space in places for our kids. I was very instrumental in working with developers to make sure that happened and held them accountable.
Leahy: Those are your top priorities?
Bush: Some of them, yes.
Leahy: Some of them. Let’s talk about money. Some of your opponents have already announced they’ve got a million bucks in the bank. How much money do you think it will take to win the August 3rd election or to get into the runoff?
Bush: I personally will say this. When I first ran for school board, I didn’t have a lot of money. What I did was I had a heart and passion for people, and that actually filled that gap, should I say, because it was about the votes.
So I touched people and I was able to identify that. I’m just like you. The only difference is I want to be your leader. If I have to fill that financial gap, that’s okay, because the most important thing for me is to be very intentional about working in the community and touching people. I’m just like you. I work every day.
I put food on the table for my kids. I support my kids and my husband. Just be a part of society and be able to be a leader that has experience. And that’s what you want in your next mayor. You want someone in Nashville that can regain the trust of their mayor.
And because of my history on the school board and being able to execute, be able to make a difference, and be able to change laws. I changed the law. Students can’t go back virtual unless it’s absolutely if there’s some type of emergency. And even then, it’s very limited time to be out of the classroom. So because of my fighting stance down on the local level, the legislature made a law.
Leahy: Other candidates have said to win or to get into the runoff, there’ll be an election on August 3rd. If no one gets 50 percent of the vote on August 3rd, then the top two finishers go to a September 13th or 14th runoff election. Most people that I’ve talked to and most candidates say you’ll need $2 million to be able to do that. Do you have an expectation that you can raise $2 million for Fran Bush?
Bush: You know what? I’ll be honest when it comes to the financial gains of running a campaign, sometimes it’s a turn-off and not just people, but I think Nashvillians want to send a clear message that they want the right person as their next mayor. The financial piece is not as important.
They’re wanting someone that can really be a leader and be able to move the needle in the city. As far as all the issues that we are having that we need to address, and not even just issues, but things to continue to move our city in the right direction.
Remember, probably 70 percent of Nashvillians are not millionaires, right? They’re people just like you and me. And they don’t care about the money. They care about substance and who can lead the city.
Leahy: I think the issue with the $2 million is it’s sort of the nuts and bolts to be able to get your message out. There’s going to be at least 10, maybe more people running, and there are just so many people you can talk one on one to.
So to get your message out, you’ll have to do radio, direct mail, digital marketing, and maybe television. Maybe. And if the other folks are spending $2 million, $3 million, $4 million, and you’re spending, how much do you think you’ll spend?
Bush: I’m going to have several fundraisers throughout the city. My goal is to do a lot of digital marketing. Social media is where my platform is. Social media, social media, social media. My website is franbushformayor.com.
People can go there. They can donate to my campaign. If you believe what I’ve done for the past four years, and I have made a huge difference, and you believe that I can do the same thing for my city, for our city, then please go and support me.
Leahy: So, a lot of our listeners are saying, you know, I’d really like to have somebody who isn’t a left-wing lunatic for mayor. And you’ve demonstrated that you have common sense. You’ve demonstrated that in your four years on the Metro Nashville School Board.
But they also say we need somebody who can win. And to win you need $2 million. You are not quite getting to how much money you have in your budget or that you think you’ll be able to raise. Can you give us an idea of what you think your budget will be?
Bush: And again, it’s so up in the air with what budget I will need. Again, the donations are definitely greatly appreciated and needed. But I’m very strategic in how I reach people. So I’ve done it and I know how to get it done. Again, my platform if I don’t raise a million dollars or 2 million, my goal is to reach people. And my message will resonate throughout the city because of social media.
Social media is pretty much the prime time right now. That’s where everybody is at. They are on their phones all day and scrolling and being able to do their own research. So I don’t really have a complete budget. What I do have is that I will have a budget and a plan to get there.
Leahy: What do you think that minimum number is that you’ll be able to raise between now and the election?
Bush: $1 million and $2 million, that is a stretch for me, I don’t have that. In my head, I would say half a million.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Fran Bush” by Fran Bush.