For this week's dead-tree Scene, I spoke with Betty Nixon, a former Metro Councilwoman and the last woman to run for mayor in Nashville.
In a recent column for The Tennessean, Bruce Dobie cited Nixon's failed mayoral bid more than 20 years ago while suggesting that At-Large Councilwoman Megan Barry — whose own bid for the city's top gig is currently underway — may not have what it takes to win in 2015. Responding by way of a letter sent to local media, Nixon said the idea that "because I lost the Mayor’s race more than 20 years ago, a woman candidate cannot win in Nashville today is ludicrous."
Here's a bit of our conversation and, speaking of 20 years ago, click through the jump:
You mentioned in your letter how much Nashville has changed in the 20 years since you ran for mayor. How do you think the city has changed politically since then, particularly as it relates to women in politics?
Well, it is very different. Obviously, there are more women doing everything in Nashville, because they've been doing it longer and doing it better, and the pipelines have filled up, so they're running banks and businesses. We have a speaker of the House [Beth Harwell], who is from Nashville.
But I think particularly the two women who are most mentioned [Megan Barry, Diane Neighbors] have extremely interesting credentials. They have won countywide races. Nobody else who's been mentioned has won a countywide race. These women have run and won more than once. And they have strong policy credentials. They've been a part of leading the city toward those things I mentioned in my column. They both have corporate experience. I just think this is a really interesting time, with unusually outstanding women candidates.