Friday, May 15, 2009

2 Metro Council members pursue new horizons

By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • May 15, 2009 Michael Craddock and Vivian Wilhoite, second-term members whose tenures as district representatives will run up against term limits in 2011, say they plan to run for countywide elected offices — full-time jobs that pay six-figure salaries — in a year. Wilhoite, who represents parts of Antioch and southeast Nashville, plans to take on Juvenile Court Clerk Vic Lineweaver. Craddock, who represents part of Madison, won't say what position he's running for in elections that also will decide Davidson County's sheriff, trustee, clerk, register of deeds and other posts, though many politicos expect him to challenge Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence. "I am going to run," said Craddock, whose campaign signs say only: "Michael Craddock — May 4, 2010." "But I'm not going to announce for a good while. It's way too early. A year is an eternity in politics. But I am going to run for a countywide office." Each politician is looking ahead to the May 4, 2010, primary elections as the council welcomes Kristine LaLonde, who recently won a special election in the Hillsboro Village-12th Avenue South district. Her swearing-in brought the legislative body back to a full 40 members. LaLonde succeeded Keith Durbin, who resigned in January to become a Metro department head. Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, the council's president, said she's not concerned about the possible departures. The vice mayor typically assigns one of the five at-large council members to fill in temporarily for a district member who leaves, which isn't uncommon. "We lost one a year last term," Neighbors said, referring to one member's death and four resignations — including two to run for office — between 2003 and 2007. "Folks are going to make their choices." Seeking public approval Wilhoite, a Mississippi native who has lived in Nashville since enrolling at Tennessee State University in 1981, said she wants to remain in public service. She's been a councilwoman for almost six years and an employee of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority for 22. She said she's drawn to the Juvenile Court clerk's race because, as the mother of two African-American boys, she has a vested interest in a population the court deals with frequently. "Those files have a name," she said. "Those files have faces. They have experiences." Wilhoite, who says she is "about 45" and married, said she isn't running to prevent Metro school board member Karen Johnson, her Antioch-area political rival, from winning Lineweaver's job. Wilhoite defeated Johnson in a runoff council election in 2003 after finishing second to Johnson in the general election. "It's not about Karen," Wilhoite said. "It's about Vivian asking for the respect and support of Davidson Countians." Running against waste Craddock, 53, a real estate agent, frequently rails against what he sees as wasteful spending of taxpayer money. He said that's what's driving his new plans. "I see so many problems and so much waste in government," he said. "And I've got 30 years in the real estate business, and I think I have something to bring to the table. I bring a different perspective, and I'm interested in offering it up in a different way than I have on the council. … I think I can do better than some of these career politicians." Craddock, a lifelong Nashville resident, is married and has an adult son. Contact Michael Cass at 615-259-8838 or

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