A progressive group has called on Nashville Mayor John Cooper to use funds from the city’s share of the federal CARES Act to provide “free bus fare” to the polls.
Nashville is expected to receive $121 million from the coronavirus relief bill and Mayor Cooper convened an advisory group last week to discuss how the money should be used.
Charlane Oliver, a member of that advisory group, also serves as the co-executive director of The Equity Alliance, which sent a list of recommendations to Cooper’s office on how to spend the money.
Several recommendations focus on efforts to “ensure Nashvillians can vote safely,” including a call for “free bus fare to Nashvillians without transportation to get a ride” to polling locations.
The group would also like to see a mailer sent out to “every registered voter on how to access an absentee ballot and understand new voting changes.”
Another recommendation asks Cooper to provide “monthly payments” to support working families who have experienced “unexpected expenses due to coronavirus and the stay-at-home order.” The list of recommendations asks for “rent and mortgage relief payments for unemployed and furloughed workers” as well as “resources to pay for funeral costs and healthcare costs of loved ones battling COVID-19.”
“Provide a stipend to get a COVID-19 test; purchase a temporary health care plan; or to visit an outpatient clinic,” states another proposal on the list.
Oliver said The Equity Alliance believes in “putting resources directly in people’s hands who have been most impacted.”
“Mayor Cooper has an opportunity to right some past wrongs of previous administrations by directing these funds to be spent to ensure that black residents are neither disenfranchised from their civic right to vote nor left behind in the economic recovery,” she said in a statement. “With black Nashvillians making up 28 percent of the city’s population, we expect the CARES Act funds to be equitably and proportionately distributed to us.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Metro Nashville Bus” by the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority.