Belle Meade residents will see a host of new names on the ballot this November, as five candidates are running to fill three open commissioner positions.
Of the five current commissioners—James V. Hunt, Sr. (Mayor), Bob Weigel (Vice Mayor), Gray O. Thornburg, Cathy Altenbern and Blair Wilson—Weigel is the only commissioner running for re-election. Thornburg is retiring following 12 years, and Wilson is currently filling the seat left vacant by Boyd Bogle, who died in January.
On Wednesday, Oct. 10, the City of Belle Meade is hosting a forum to give residents the opportunity to ask questions and learn about each candidate's background. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. inside City Hall, located at 4705 Harding Road.
All five candidates were present at the Sept. 19 Board of Commissioners meeting and were given the opportunity to explain why they are running:
Meet the candidates
"My first jaunt in Nashville was in the 1980s when my parents dropped me off at Vanderbilt University. Since then, I’ve had the chance to work in finance and banking in Charlotte, Chicago, London, Paris and New Orleans.
I’m running for commissioner because I want the safe, beautiful and fiscally sound neighborhood of Belle Meade that these commissioners have given us and for it to be the same neighborhood five years from now as it is today."
"I’m a 25, maybe 27, year Belle Meade resident. I came to Nashville after law school and have a real estate law firm here. I remodeled three houses and built one home in Belle Meade, so I’ve been around the community from one end to the other. I think it’s a really special place and would love to be a part of seeing Belle Meade grow. We need to keep the community safe and attractive and keep our property values strong as we’ve always been able to do."
"I’m a transplant from California, but I’ve been here since 1989. The reason I’m running is because past and present commissioners have done a good job at managing our growth, safety and finances. I think it’s important to continue that work."
Bob Weigel (Incumbent)
"Four years ago, Boyd Bogle and I were elected commissioners. What you have with me is common sense voting. I’m a very conservative guy. Judiciary responsibilities are important to me, but the most important thing is safety. I’ve enjoyed my last four years—so much so that I’m running again."
"I’ve lived in Nashville for four years. I’m an attorney by trade and served as a councilman in my hometown in New Jersey. When I saw there was a call for candidates, I figured I’m comfortable with that job because I’ve done it before and wanted to throw my hat in the ring.
I have a law firm that’s primarily entertainment and the president of a trade association, so I’m familiar with the process of legislating. I want to be more engaged with the community and thought this would be the best way I could participate."
What is the role of a commissioner?
Belle Meade residents elect five commissioners for staggered four-year terms, and the commissioners elect two of their members to serve as Mayor and Vice Mayor for two-year terms.
- The Board of Commissioners performs legislative duties and takes action by passing or adopting ordinances and resolutions that affect the overall operation of the city.
- The board adopts the city’s annual budget, as well as approves bids, contracts and other agreements that financially binds the city.
- Commissioners work on long-term planning projects, capital improvements, financing and other duties.
When to vote
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Early voting begins Wednesday, Oct. 17. See the full schedule here.