1. What is an Alderman?
The governing body of the City of Franklin consists of the Mayor and eight Alderman. Four alderman represent the ward in which they reside (Ward 1, 2, 3 or 4) and then there are four at-large alderman who represent the entire city. The responsibility of an alderman is deciding on the city’s policies and procedures by passing Resolutions, Municipal Ordinances and the Municipal Code, all of which are implemented by the various City Departments. All meetings are public and will generally be held in the City Hall Boardroom.
2. What party is Brandy representing in this election for Alderman?
The race for Alderman in the City of Franklin is a non-party election. In fact, all City elected positions are non-partisan.
3. What should be Franklin’s priorities over the next several years? How would you address and/or fund these priorities?
Balancing preservation and growth is one major objective. I have been in Franklin since 1976 and have seen a lot of changes. We just need to be careful about how we grow and where we grow in the future. Traffic is an obvious concern that we have now and it WILL continue into the future. We also have to be sensitive about where we spend our dollars and how we expand City services.
4. What separates Brandy Blanton as a candidate for this office?
I have lived in Franklin since 1976 when I was in the fifth grade. I believe my knowledge of the people and places in this area are extensive: from working at the now non-existent Quincy’s restaurant during high school and 12 years at O’Charley’s on Hwy 96, to raising five children who were educated in the City and County schools, to running a local business which has enabled me to serve a number of non-profits in the area. All of these experiences has allowed me to cultivate a tremendous amount of relationships from many demographics. I pride myself on treating everyone the same. I am approachable, reliable and honest. And while I tend to be outspoken, I am quick to admit when I am wrong. To borrow some of the words I’ve heard from others describing why they thought I would be a good candidate: “You are not big money or big business” and “You have a lot of equity in this community”.
5. What is Brandy’s “platform”?
This question while expected always makes me chuckle. If I am following the parameters of democracy, my job is to be a voice for the people. If I am elected, I come with no agenda, only to decide to the best of my ability on the decisions put in front of me after gaining a feel for the mindset of the people. If challenged to define a platform, I would have to say it hinges on balance and diversity. I know there are always going to be ongoing decisions in regards to traffic, growth, preservation, economic development and raising taxes.
6. My feelings on those issues:
- Traffic: It is always going to be a problem until infrastructure catches up with growth. Unfortunately some of those issues are not only ours to fix. There are many areas (Mack Hatcher Bypass) that hinge on the aid and involvement of the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). We must make sure that we don’t continue to build without the infrastructure being in place.
- Economic Development: I do believe our pursuit of corporations moving to Franklin is important, but we also need to be mindful of keeping the businesses we already have here happy. We have created a coveted environment but don’t need to forget all the people and places who “brought us to the dance”. It is also important that once new business comes here that it can stay here.
- Preservation: I firmly believe that part of what makes us unique as a city is our past preservation efforts. We need to continue to be mindful moving forward that we do not remove all of our green space for the future. When my (then) 10-year-old daughter makes the comment, “Are they going to build on every piece of land?” as we are exiting I-65/McEwen, you know what they say “Out of the mouth of babes”. Pretty profound.
- Growth: Being in favor of preservation – where it makes sense – does not make me against growth. My time in Franklin over the last 35+ years has seen an immense change, but a lot of it was for the better. All of our needs can be met within our community. However, new growth must be planned. We have to consider the infrastructure and plan carefully. I love that our town has so much diversity of living spaces – from walk-able communities to downtown residences to existing subdivision neighborhoods. The one area we MUST advance in is offering more affordable options for our children who want to continue to call Franklin home.
- Taxes:I am not for raising taxes, however, when all other avenues have been exhausted and it is for the betterment of the City, I would have to support an increase with caution.
7. A helpful article
In culling information for the website I remembered an article that I penned several years ago for Southern Exposure Magazine when I first became engaged in the hierarchy of city politics. So I dug into my archives and found it.
In addition, I will have to say that two things I am very passionate about are keeping City Hall on the square and reviving the Hillsboro Road corridor that has been neglected since the 2010 Flood.