What makes you qualified to hold this office, and if applicable, better qualified than your opponents?
I taught political science and law for 28 years. I have seen the problems in our urban areas and I know what solutions work and what doesn’t. I will put together a team with a proven track record to get the job done. I am not beholden to special interests, so I can make tough decisions without their influence.
Given the news of the failings of a few prominent officials recently, what will you do to restore faith and trust in public institutions in Nashville and Davidson County?
I will Institute transparency and accountability in the Metropolitan government. Government should always put the interests of the people first and it is clear that is not happening in Nashville right now. I will remove the cronyism and back room deals from City Hall. Only an outsider with knowledge and courage can do what needs to be done to clean up Nashville.
What are you hearing most from voters about what they want you to accomplish, if elected?
The voters want someone who will address broken promises and the immediate needs of the city. We need practical solutions to the crumbling infrastructure, rising crime levels, and traffic congestion.
All voices in the city must be heard. I will bring additional attention to the underserved communities in Nashville.
We must educate the voters on what good government looks like and raise the bar on accountability.
Describe a difficult decision you had to make in life or professionally and how you resolved it?
I walked away from my tenured position at Vanderbilt University because I felt increasingly unwelcome and felt I could not make my best my contribution to society in such an environment. I’ve always been a risk taker so I left my position, salary and benefits to pursue writing, speaking and community service.
Describe a mistake you made in your career and how you recovered from it?
I leveraged outside job offers to achieve early tenure at Princeton. Instead of the traditional seven years, I achieved tenure in four and accomplished a personal goal. However, I felt that it hurt relationships amongst my peers and that I would have been better off waiting the traditional amount of time. Additionally, my workload increased significantly, and I quickly realized why the apprenticeship process is designed in the manner it was.
I recovered by using my experiences to mentor high achieving young people that may be facing a similar situation. I would stress that it is important to maintain personal relationships and that one gives themselves enough time to be prepared for the next level of achievement.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you, your values and priorities?
I am a person of deep faith, who believes in the golden rule to do unto others what they would have do unto you.
My motto while in office will be Micah 6:8, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly before God.
Education & Professional Background
Education: 1999-2000 Yale University Law School, New Haven, CT – M.S.I. Law; 1985-1989 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC – Ph.D., Political Science; 1983-1984 Roanoke College, Salem, VA – B.A., Criminal Justice (Magna Cum Laude), member Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Sigma Alpha, National Political Science Society, Pi Gamma Mu (International Social Science Society), Alpha Chi (National Honor Society), Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities, National Dean’s List, Criminal Justice Award; 1976-1978 Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke, VA – A.A.S., Business Merchandising.
Job History: 1999-2017 Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University; 1994-2000 Associate Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University; 1990-1994 Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University; 1989-1990 Visiting Assistant Professor, Duke University.
President Bush appointed Dr. Swain to a 6-year term on the National Endowment for the Humanities Advisory Board. Both President Bush and President Obama appointed Dr. Swain to one-year appointments as a member of the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Committee.