Issues 2021 Williamson Herald

Brentwood candidates participate in virtual conversation with voters

Austin Thompson • Staff Writer   Apr 8, 2021

The newly formed League of Women Voters of Williamson County on Tuesday hosted a conversation with Brentwood City Commission candidates.

The conversation took place via Zoom, with all three incumbents — Mayor Rhea Little, Mark Gorman and Regina Smithson — participating, along with challenger Gina Gunn.

League of Women Voters of Williamson County is a nonpartisan volunteer organization that encourages residents to become informed voters. It does not support or oppose any party or candidates.

Through Zoom’s chat feature, moderator Susan Leathers as well as residents asked questions on topics that ranged from improving the city’s infrastructure to better connectivity options within the city.

All candidates agreed that the city’s zoning ordinance of 1-acre lot density needs to stay in place.

“The biggest thing we really have to keep in mind is not overrunning our infrastructure,”Gorman said. “We must continue to follow that one-home-per-acre density while keeping the commercial district in the north and in the south.”

Gorman was present for a portion of the conversation, but he appeared to have left midway through due to technical difficulties.

Little and Smithson pointed to road projects that are in works or in the planning stages, such as the widening of Franklin Road and Sunset Road and the McEwen Drive extension, as ways to help alleviate some of the city’s traffic congestion. Working with state authorities on roadways they manage was also a priority for both.

“It’s traffic and growth,” Smithson said. “Addressing our traffic and the growth, keeping our 1-acre density, is really important, and that’s what I will continue to do.”

Gunn offered a few different transportation ideas she would like to explore further to alleviate traffic if elected, such as a trolley system similar to Franklin’s and working with Metro Nashville on a ridership program in and out of the city.

“Our continued well-being depends on how we manage our growth,” Gunn said. “Keeping our parks, library in tip-top shape and well-connected, our schools well-funded and not over-crowded, our roads up to date and capable of handling the traffic challenges that many of us face daily should be at the top of the city’s list, which I hear it is.”

Little cited the growth happening in surrounding cities as part of the traffic challenges that Brentwood faces today.

“Probably the biggest challenge that faces us, and has for a number of years, is the rapid growth of communities around us,” he said. “It’s vital we continue here in Brentwood through experienced leadership who understands Brentwood’s past, present and with a seasoned vision to see Brentwood’s future, we’ll be even better.”

Mobility and connectivity options, such as bike and walking paths, were also part of the conversation.

Discussion about connecting the east and west parts of Brentwood have been ongoing.Gunn is supportive of a link connecting the two sides of the city.

“I think it would be important to get a link either underground or across the interstate,” shesaid. “It will give us some continuity in our community.”

However, Little and Smithson cited a study by a city-hired consultant that found the link not to be feasible at this time because of the high cost.

“We’ve worked very diligently to be sure people have recreation and have a lot of bike paths,”Smithson said. “That’s been a big priority in Brentwood.”

The Brentwood municipal election is set for May 4. Early voting will start on Wednesday andrun through April 29. For more information about voting hours and locations, visit