Q&As: Meet the candidates running for the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen

Registered voters in the city of Franklin will have a chance to cast their votes for four at-large aldermen and the mayor in this year's board of mayor and aldermen election.

While five races are listed on the ballot, only three races in this year's election are contested. Alderperson Ann Petersen and Mayor Ken Moore are running unopposed and will be appointed for another term following the canvassing of the election results.

Community Impact Newspaper has interviewed candidates running for contested positions about issues in the city as well as their qualifications to run.


Brandy Blanton*
Day job: director of Development, High Hopes Development Center
Experience: almost eight years on BOMA; native Tennessean, resident of Franklin since 1977
www.franklintn.gov/government/board-of-mayor-aldermen/brandy-blanton-alderman-at-large
Why did you decide to run for BOMA?
I am running—again—because I love serving my community in this capacity. Having been in office for almost eight years, I have so much more insight and feel I am a valuable asset to the board, but most of all, to the citizens of Franklin.

In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing Franklin, and how do you plan to address it on the board?
There is not just one issue facing us but several. At the top of the list is moving our citizens around the city—traffic—and I will continue to support opportunities that strengthen our infrastructure. Attainable housing is another issue, and I will adamantly advocate for the proposed plan for “The Hill” in hopes that it can be duplicated.

What is your vision for Franklin in regards to growth and development?
I am a proponent for property owners’ rights; however, we need to make sure that infrastructure is in place before we approve developments that will adversely affect the quality of life of our existing citizens.

Is there anything else that you would want the community to know?
I am engaged in and serve in a leadership capacity for several Franklin-centric organizations and nonprofits. I am approachable, willing to help citizens maneuver through the minutiae of government and committed to keeping Franklin one of the best places to live in America.





Michelle Sutton
Day job: businesswoman
Experience: business career in director role, advocacy board of homeowners association
www.facebook.com/MichelleSuttonAlderman
Why did you decide to run for BOMA?
I have served my immediate neighborhood community for more than five years and now want to be a new voice with fresh ideas for the residents of Franklin on BOMA. I am concerned with the rate of growth in our town and how it is affecting our residents and infrastructure.

In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing Franklin, and how do you plan to address it on the board?
We need to ensure our land use plan, Envision Franklin, new zoning ordinances, Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) and studies—such as the South Corridor Study—set up Franklin for success now and down the road. In order to make this happen, we need more open and consistent communication.

What is your vision for Franklin in regards to growth and development?
I will focus on addressing the overcrowding of our schools, traffic congestion throughout the city, safety needs and economic development opportunities. I will serve as a leader who makes fully informed decisions rooted in facts and that has residents’ best interests at heart.

Is there anything else that you would want the community to know?
I want to work with residents and businesses across the city, and I am just a click away—whether through my website or social media platforms, I would be excited to hear from people across the community. My goal is to listen and work with your feedback, thoughts and concerns in mind.





Cylde Barnhill*
Day job: retired production superintendent
Experience: 27 years on BOMA, veteran, five years on planning commission, lived in Williamson County entire life besides military service
barnhill4franklin.com
Why did you decide to run for BOMA?
I want to use my experience and knowledge to continue to address the issues that face the continuous growth in Franklin.

In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing Franklin, and how do you plan to address it on the board?
I realize that growth brings areas of concern, such as traffic and quality of life. I will continue to support infrastructure, such as the wastewater treatment upgrades, Franklin Road widening and the southwest portion of Mack Hatcher Parkway. I will also continue to support BOMA finding solutions for workforce housing concerns.

What is your vision for Franklin in regards to growth and development?
My vision is that Franklin continue[s] to be a desirable place to live and work and that concerns are addressed in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

Is there anything else that you would want the community to know?
I am currently the vice mayor and chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, the Beer Board and the Pension and Trust Committee.





Howard Garrett
Day job: property manager, associate minister
Experience: study of criminal justice and theology; career in property management; associate minister
www.garrett4franklin.com
Why did you decide to run for BOMA?
After moving to Franklin and being involved throughout the city, I saw all residents weren’t being represented. Even though our current aldermen have generally done a good job over their tenures in leadership, some of the residents are being left out. I believe our leadership should reflect the residents they are serving.

In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing Franklin, and how do you plan to address it on the board?
The pace of our growth. Property prices have skyrocketed, gentrification is taking over the city and we are losing our history. I plan to address these issues by working to build a housing market that can benefit everyone—a diverse housing market where any person that wants to live in Franklin will have the opportunity to live in the city.

What is your vision for Franklin in regards to growth and development?
My vision for Franklin is to grow with efficiency and compassion. We don’t have to say yes to every developer that walks in the door. We need to ensure that as we are growing, our residents are being thought about, our kids are being thought about and our infrastructure is being planned for.

Is there anything else that you would want the community to know?
I want to share the love that my family sowed into me throughout the community. I want to help the homeless and provide a shelter and resources. I want to provide resources for the underprivileged so they can better themselves and [provide] for their family. I want Franklin to continue to grow, but grow thoughtfully.





Pearl Bransford*
Day job: retired operating room nurse educator
Experience: 35-year resident of Franklin, actively involved in local events and activities
www.facebook.com/pearlchhc
Why did you decide to run for BOMA?
To help direct policies and procedures that will make a positive difference for citizens of Franklin.

In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing Franklin, and how do you plan to address it on the board?
According to the 2019 Citizen Survey, two items rose to the top: concerns about growth and development and affordable housing. Short answer: smarter growth with infrastructure. Encourage some public-private housing partnerships.

What is your vision for Franklin in regards to growth and development?
As [has] been mentioned before, growth should come with the infrastructure to support it: road and sewage improvements, school considerations, green spaces and play areas for children. I also envision growth that will support active seniors and connectivity.

Is there anything else that you would want the community to know?
I came to Franklin 35 years ago: a small town with a few red lights and great schools. Thirty-five years later: it is a city on the rise, tripled in size, with great quality of life and high home values. Even with all that, we have local men, women and children that are in need. Find a nonprofit that helps our most vulnerable neighbors and give back.





Bhavani Muvvala
Day job: entrepreneur
Experience: CEO of Right at Home, president of Nashville Kannada Koota
www.facebook.com/mbhavanikumar
Why did you decide to run for BOMA?
I am originally from Bangalore, India. I remember when my hometown, now a megacity of 8.4 million, was smaller, as Franklin used to be. Having lived in Colorado and California before moving my family to Franklin nine years ago, I’ve seen lots of growth and immigration. Franklin is developing so much and I want to add my vast experience to that.

In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing Franklin, and how do you plan to address it on the board?
The biggest issue facing Franklin is planning—foreseeing infrastructure, schools, traffic, employment and low housing. I will work collaboratively with the mayor and other board members to raise funds and plan infrastructure to be in place before any new building permits are issued.

What is your vision for Franklin in regards to growth and development?
My vision is to have Franklin grow tremendously, vibrantly and hugely in upcoming decades, but slowly. We need to have basic infrastructure in place before we get more population moving into the city and more construction happens. [I will] also build more parks and preserve local mom-and-pop shops.

Is there anything else that you would want the community to know?
I want to support underprivileged populations in the city who have low incomes. I have seen the need from the homeless shelters. Also, many city employees, including firefighters, school staff and utility departments, aren’t being paid up to industry standard. I would like to address this issue without raising taxes.


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