My name is Freddie O'Connell, and I'm running for Metro Council in District 19.
By way of my background, I am a native Nashvillian. I attended Eakin Elementary, Montgomery Bell Academy, and Brown University and now work as a software developer for Rustici Software. I moved to the Salemtown neighborhood in 2007 to join my partner, Whitney Boon, as she matriculated at Meharry Medical College. She is now completing her residency in child neurology at Vanderbilt, where I am the President of the Vanderbilt Housestaff Alliance. We have a three-year-old daughter, Halley.
I have spent five of my more than seven years in Salemtown as president of the Salemtown Neighbors Neighborhood Association, where we have established important partnerships with the Metro Action Commission, Nashville Rescue Mission’s women’s campus, and Buena Vista Enhanced Option Elementary. We are currently working on building a partnership with MDHA’s Cheatham Place. In 2013, we secured historic status for the Fehr School building and had a community-led dedication ceremony attended by civil rights and public education leaders. We also completed a neighborhood conservation overlay district around Nashville’s largest remaining turn-of-the-century workforce housing. We have been proud sponsors of the Nashville Neighborhoods Celebration at the Neighborhoods Resource Center. As a member of the North Nashville Leadership Council, I have been one of the organizers of the North Nashville Political Forum. I also worked on the Capitol District project that was successful in advocating for the Sulphur Dell location for the new Sounds ballpark.
For the past six years, I have served on the board of directors of Nashville MTA, having served three of those years as board chair. I was an inaugural member of the mayor’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and continue to serve on that committee. I have served on two of the Resource Teams (Health, Livability, and the Built Environment; and Land Use, Transportation, and Infrastructure) as part of NashvilleNext, helping to shape a general plan for the city. I have served on the Citizen Advisory Committee for Metro Water Services to fulfill a consent decree from the EPA that is intended to help clean up the Cumberland River. I recently graduated with the third class of MyCity Academy and am a current member of the Nashville Chamber’s Education Report Card Committee.
I have also served on a number of non-profit boards of directors. I served a full three-year term on the board of the Belcourt Theatre and just completed many years of service on the board of Walk/Bike Nashville. In the summer of 2014, I joined the board of Cumberland Region Tomorrow.
From 2005-2010, I co-hosted (with Mary Mancini) a public affairs radio show on 91.1 WRVU-FM (then the Vanderbilt radio station). We interviewed everyone from national public policy experts to local mayoral candidates and juvenile court clerk candidates to John Seigenthaler to Congressman Jim Cooper.
I have taken all of these commitments seriously, with a nearly perfect attendance record across almost all board and committee commitments. I am fully participatory in trying to drive change that is part of the mission of each opportunity I’ve been so fortunate, honored, and privileged to have.