NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mayoral candidate Megan Barry today released the following open letter to the supporters of Howard Gentry:
"I have long admired Howard Gentry's commitment to building consensus and his ability to bring people together. Howard has brought to the Office of the Criminal Court Clerk the same thoughtful style that has been a hallmark of his distinguished career. As mayor, I want Howard and his supporters to know that I will rely on his advice as we work together to continue to improve Metro government and our city.
“Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with LaShelle Bigsby, the mother of Ronquez Bigsby who was murdered 5 years ago. I could see in her eyes and hear in her voice the pain she still feels to this day. As a mother, I couldn’t imagine the pain of losing my son at any age, let alone at the age of 17 as the victim of senseless gun violence. Her pain has been felt by mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and loved ones all across this city far too many times.
"According to statistics from the Metro Nashville Police Department, incidents of firearm assaults increased 26 percent over one year's time. Incidents of rape increased 13 percent. Each year, domestic violence victims report more than 12,000 incidents to police. Many more violent crimes go unreported.
"As mayor, I won’t turn a blind eye to the victims of gun violence in our city. I will work with Howard and his office, Police Chief Steve Anderson and MNPD, the Metro Council and others to develop new strategies for reducing violent crimes — starting with directing more resources to the police department's Domestic Violence Division, as Howard and others have recommended.
“I will also continue Howard’s call for a youth violence summit that will bring together our criminal justice officials, our principals and teachers, community advocates, and those who have been left behind to pick up the pieces in the wake of violence in our city. Effectively addressing these issues will require a community-wide commitment from all of us in Metro government as well as business groups, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood associations, the faith community, and more.
"As Howard eloquently noted earlier this summer: 'If we're a safer city, we're a better city.' That's his vision for Nashville, and it's mine too. I look forward to working with Howard and his supporters to make our collective vision a reality.
Candidate for Mayor”