Decision Time: Hear Nashville’s Mayoral Candidates In An Hourlong WPLN Special | Nashville Public Radio

Decision Time: Hear Nashville’s Mayoral Candidates In An Hourlong WPLN Special

Sep 3, 2019

Read the transcript for the special show. 

Nashville’s next mayor will be chosen on Sept. 12, and the two in the runoff — incumbent David Briley and Metro Councilman John Cooper — have been making their case to voters in what has become an intense runoff campaign.

In this one-hour program, WPLN goes deep with the candidates on key subjects, like housing, transportation, the Metro budget and the role of the mayor. 

The candidates answer questions about policies they haven’t fully explained, or decisions that have drawn criticism.

For this hourlong special, each candidate sat down for 30 minutes to take detailed questions from WPLN reporter Tony Gonzalez. You’ll hear extended portions, along with analysis from Gonzalez and reporter Meribah Knight, in a program that delves into how Briley and Cooper differ and what they’ve promised.

Program highlights:

  • Hear Briley and Cooper “set the record straight” on claims they feel have misled voters during the campaign. (3:00 - 5:30)
  • A deep dive into Cooper’s numerous promises to increase Metro spending. (6:00 - 8:50)
  • Reflections from Briley on why he's been criticized on his handling of policing issues. (15:00 - 18:20)
  • Details on the candidates’ contrasting plans for affordable housing (23:10 - 32:00) and transportation (35:00 - 42:00).

WPLN also finds the candidates have different philosophies about the role of the mayor in Nashville.

Briley, especially in recent days, has said the mayor should be the local voice for progressive causes.

“Primarily, the job of the mayor is to make sure that people are taken care of, that we’re doing everything we can in our city to provide an opportunity to be successful, reach your fullest potential, be prosperous in the city of Nashville,” says Briley. “The mayor has to focus both on those brass-tacks issues like teacher funding, but also focus on the national dialogue, [such as] the national discourse on immigration.”

Cooper, meanwhile, emphasizes the managerial role of the mayor.

“The symbolic stances are super-great and important. But only the mayor can make capital allocation decisions like the CEO of a company,” Cooper says. “It’s a very administrative job. … It’s not about Republicans and Democrats; it’s about dollars and cents.”

For more information on Nashville’s runoff elections, visit, and find all of WPLN’s ongoing coverage at

This program first aired on 90.3 at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Credits: This program was made by reporters Tony Gonzalez, Meribah Knight, Blake Farmer and Samantha Max. The show was edited by Chas Sisk, Emily Siner and Anita Bugg. Special thanks to Scott Smith, Cameron Adkins, Elle Turner and Nashville Public Radio CEO Steve Swenson.