Brett is one of the only openly LGBTQ elected officials in Tennessee
Brett has been a leader in the East Nashville community for many years and has earned the trust of citizens and government officials for his willingness to listen to various viewpoints and build bridges that lead to solutions. Brett had served as the president of his neighborhood association for five years and was recognized by the Historic East Nashville Merchants Association (HENMA) with their 2014 East Nashvillian of the Year award before he decided to run for Metro Council in 2015. Brett ran as a challenger to the incumbent and was supported by a strong network of community volunteers and local small business owners. Brett’s campaign slogan of “preserving neighborhoods, restoring community voices” resonated with District 6 voters who awarded Brett 61% of the vote in an upset victory in the 2015 general election.
Once elected to Metro Council in August 2015, Brett quickly got to work using his voice to speak up for Nashville communities that too often and for too long have been silenced.
In in the summer of 2016 Brett introduced and passed an ordinance that amended Nashville’s commercial building codes to allow businesses to expand access to unisex bathrooms. Brett’s ordinance passed just in time to be celebrated at Nashville’s 2016 Pride Festival, and despite the Tennessee General Assembly’s penchant for preempting Nashville’s Metro Council actions, Brett’s ordinance still remains on the books today benefitting Nashville’s residents, visitors and business owners.
In the Fall of 2017 Brett introduced and was able to pass Metro Council legislation that made Nashville one of the first cities in the Southeast to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day.
By far Brett’s major focus during his four years on the Metro Council has been lifting up the lives of and giving voice to the city’s public housing residents. District 6, which Brett represents, includes lovingly restored East Nashville historic residential and commercial districts including the famous Five Points business and entertainment district as well as the city’s largest and second-oldest public housing development, the James Cayce Homes. Brett has worked closely with Cayce Homes residents and other East Nashville community members to embark on implementing Nashville’s public housing authority’s Envision Cayce Master Plan, which aspires to deconcentrate poverty and bring opportunity to Cayce Homes residents. The strategy is to construct one-for-one replacements for the more than 900 mostly pre-WWII existing subsidized affordable housing units currently on the Cayce campus in new buildings that will nearly triple the number of total housing units on site and where a mixed-income community of residents paying affordable (subsidized), workforce and market rate rents will live side-by-side in the same buildings. During Brett’s current term 70 new housing units have been completed and nearly 400 more mixed-income housing units are presently under construction on the Cayce Homes campus.
Brett works hard with the local housing authority to ensure that Cayce residents are given a front seat at the table with the architects designing their new home and that there is no unavoidable resident displacement during demolition and construction work on this $600 Million construction project. In addition to new housing for current and future Cayce residents, the Envision Cayce Master Plan implementation will bring to the campus a new 11-acre central park, a new library branch and community center, a new K-8 school, and also small-business job training, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. HUD Secretary Carson has recognized the Envision Cayce Master Plan implementation that Brett is helping to guide as the most ambitious of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD Conversion) projects currently taking place in the country.
Brett is seeking a second four-year term in the August 2019 elections to continue representing Nashville’s sixth Metro Council District. In that role he hopes to continue his work toward addressing Nashville’s affordable housing challenge and advocating for equity in housing, employment, procurement and education in Metro Government and in Nashville’s business community. Together we can keep getting great things done in District 6.