Terrence “T.A.” Smith is one of nine candidates running for four available seats on the Brentwood City Commission. Community Impact Newspaper sent each candidate a list of questions. Answers below are edited for publication style.
This article is part of May 7 Brentwood municipal election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate.
• I am married to Michele, my bride of 30 years.
• I have lived in Brentwood for 15 years.
• I am a practicing physician and faculty member at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
• I am a current member of the Army National Guard having served over 30 years in the regular Army, the Army reserves and the Army National Guard. I have deployed several times in support of our war on terrorism with service in Iraq, Afghanistan and in 2018 along the Syrian border.
• I served as a State Highway Patrol trooper for 16 years working as a road trooper and plain-clothes investigator specializing in major crimes and homicide investigations.
• I am active in my local church community and in other national and local organizations that are professional, service-oriented or fraternal in nature.
• I am a self-made man with a full and unique background.
1) Why did you decide to run for the commission?
My campaign for City Commission is quite simply a campaign to protect and preserve our great Brentwood community. It is not a campaign to fundamentally change our beautiful city. It is a campaign to preserve lot minimums, a professional police and fire service, and a local government responsive to the needs of our citizens. I will provide judicious oversight and budgetary constraint to help manage our city in a lean, efficient manner. Increasing our city’s green space, trails and parks through a thoughtful, well-planned design is also a priority. In addition, it will be critical for our city to balance controlled growth with a supportive infrastructure.
2) In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing Brentwood, and how do you plan to address it on the commission?
As outlined on my website, I am a green space liberal and a fiscal conservative. I believe the biggest issues facing Brentwood are the preservation of our green space, maintaining strict control over growth and development (to include keeping our low-density residential zoning), and an increasing crime rate. The first two issues largely involve maintaining the residential zoning limits we already have—this would include resisting any temptation to approve high-density housing. Having proactive, not reactive, infrastructure plans is also critical to our future. Many components of our growth as a community (traffic congestion, criminal activity, etc.) involve partnering with regional governments, organizations, and commercial enterprises to develop equitable plans that protect and preserve our community character.
3) How will you balance density concerns with Brentwood’s rapid growth?
When it comes to high-density housing, the answer is simple, just say ‘no!’ In canvassing Brentwood voters, I am told over and over again that controlling growth and maintaining residential zoning restrictions is our biggest challenge both in the near and distant future. Open acreage in Brentwood is dwindling, and once that acreage is developed, its potential for green space, parks and trails will be lost. Brentwood residents have made it abundantly clear that they are not interested in wholesale urbanization and the creation of yet another concrete jungle. This is why my campaign commitment is, above all else, to protect and preserve the beautiful home we call Brentwood.
4) Anything else you would like the community to know?
The Brentwood City Commission is just that—it’s Brentwood’s commission—it represents the people of Brentwood. On May 7, Brentwood residents will have an opportunity to place four members on the seven-member commission. Brentwood residents can select either a uniform, business-oriented commission or a multifaceted panel having members with backgrounds and experiences that reflect our eclectic populace. With a single selection, voters can place a physician, a veteran and career soldier, a former state trooper and first responder, and a devout family man on the commission. If voters truly want issues addressed from different perspectives and different frames of reference, they should consider a dark horse candidate, a candidate with a unique background, they should consider me as one of their four choices.
Election day in Brentwood is May 7.