Mayor Megan Barry, Biography
In 2015, Mayor Megan Barry was elected to her first term as the seventh Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County after serving two terms as an at-large member of the Metro Council.
Mayor Barry entered office with a determination to keep Nashville’s successful economy moving forward while ensuring sustainable growth, equal opportunity for all, high-quality public education, and the safety and well-being of all Nashvillians.
One of the most significant challenges facing the city is the growth of traffic in the region following years of record growth. Mayor Barry immediately got to work tackling the issue by upgrading and synchronizing traffic signals in a way that has reduced congestion on the major pikes and corridors – reducing average travel delays by 24% and cutting gas consumption by an estimated 830,000 gallons in the first year.
Mayor Barry has embraced the concept of Vision Zero to reduce traffic-related fatalities in Davidson County by investing in paving, sidewalks, and bike paths. She also has worked to improve dangerous intersections in high-traffic areas and embraced quick-build projects to promote safety.
In 2017, she worked with Governor Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly to promote and pass the IMPROVE Act, which will increase funding for roadway projects across Tennessee and give voters the opportunity to create sustainable funding mechanisms for mass transit. Barry announced she will seek to place a referendum on the ballot in 2018 that will create a comprehensive mass transit system throughout all corners of Davidson County.
Another area Mayor Barry has focused on is affordable housing. With the growing cost of living in Nashville, it has become more difficult for low-income residents to find quality housing they can afford. To address this need, Barry has created a number of tools to fund, build, maintain and preserve affordable housing throughout Nashville.
She has committed to putting $10 million in her recommended operating budget each year for the Barnes Trust Fund for Affordable Housing – which she helped create as a Metro Council member. She has created the Housing Incentive Pilot Program to encourage mixed-income residential development, established private-public partnerships for affordable and workforce housing on Metro-owned property, and announced her intention to utilize $25 million in general obligation bonds to preserve existing affordable housing or construct new Metro-owned developments.
In her push to promote equity and opportunity throughout Nashville, Barry has been committed to supporting our public schools through investments that will help the city recruit and retain great teachers, expand English language learner and literacy programs, and create greater access to high-quality pre-K in Nashville.
In order to address rising rates of youth violence, Mayor Barry launched an initiative to create 10,000 paid job and internship opportunities throughout the private, public and non-profit sectors. Supported by investments from Metro Nashville and local businesses, Opportunity NOW seeks to give every child a chance to succeed by connecting youth to hope through opportunity and jobs.
Barry believes public safety is the critical foundation on which our success in other areas of government is built. She has recommended hiring new police officers and firefighters to meet Nashville’s growth and created tools and programs for better community interaction with police and more accountability and openness throughout government.
In building her administration, Barry has put a sharp focus on ensuring that the Mayor’s Office is reflective of the city it serves. To that end, she has put together the most diverse team in the history of Nashville and has been committed to diversifying Metro boards and commissions. She appointed Metro’s first Chief Diversity Officer to review and oversee policies as it relates to diversity in hiring and promotions within Metro Government. She has also focused on engaging the community in governing with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement, which includes the Office of New Americans focused on outreach to immigrant and refugee communities.
Barry first moved to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, where she received her MBA. Prior to becoming Mayor, Barry had a successful career as an ethics and compliance officer in the telecommunications and health care sectors. Her husband, Bruce, is a professor of organizational studies at Vanderbilt University. Their son, Max, passed away in 2017 at the age of 22. They are also proud parents of two rescue dogs, Hank and Boris.
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