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Franklin City Alderman, Ward 4, General Election

Patrick Baggett *****

Elizabeth Downing Wanczak *

Franklin City Alderman, Ward 4, General Election

Patrick Baggett

Elizabeth Downing Wanczak 

General election takes place on October 26, 2021

Recommendation: Recommend Patrick Baggett who teaches Sunday School at Christ Community Church, is a graduate of Samford University (Baptist), wants to exercise fiscal responsibility while minimizing taxes, and has contributed to conservative Republicans.    

Patrick Baggett: Recommend          

            Overall Rating: 77.8%

Big Government/Small Government Rating: Big 19%; Small 81%              

            Christian World View Rating: Christian 76%; Secular 24%                 

Background 

33 years old

Married with three daughters

Lives in Franklin in the Murfreesboro Road area 

Vice President, USI Insurance (Full Service Insurance Agency) 11 yrs

Is a business leader and community servant; has spent the last 11 years working with a 45-year-old Franklin business, serving in government and non-profit leadership 

BS, Economics, Samford University, 2008

Big Government/Small Government 

Budget, Spending, and Taxes          Possible Score 30       Total Score 3

Ensure the continued strength of our local economy and the financial stability of our city government through sound fiscal policy focused on living within our means as a city. (4) 

We are blessed in Franklin to be one of the most financially stable municipalities in the State. With that comes great responsibility. Aldermen have a responsibility as elected officials to hold the City accountable for the funds taken in through taxation. Just because the money is coming in, doesn’t mean we should spend it. We should critically evaluate every line item of expenditures to ensure it is absolutely essential to conduct regular business for the City. Every effort must be made to preserve the financial stability of the City of Franklin while actively minimizing, when possible, the tax burden on residents. (3)     

Business and Consumers                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 5

Supporting our local entrepreneurs, shop keepers and retailers businesses that make Franklin a great place to live and work. (5)

Positive, tested, and business minded leadership is something Franklin needs to continue moving forward and building on our town’s incredible legacy. (5)

I support public/private partnerships between the City and private/non profit businesses 100%. I believe Government should seek to find private partnerships to achieve common goals whenever possible. For example: Friends of Franklin Parks has brought $1mil+ in private funds to improve our Parks System. We should engage private enterprise to solve our Affordable Housing issues instead of the City attempting to solve the problem with more Government. We should look at opportunities to partner with private business whenever in the best interest of the taxpayer and the citizens of Franklin. (4)      

Conservative                                      Possible Score 30       Total Score 6

As far as politics go, Baggett said that he wants to emphasize the nonpartisan nature of the aldermanic race.  “I have Republicans and Democrats supporting me. It’s because they know me, they know my heart,” he said. “It’s about continuing my service to Franklin. I feel passionate about the nonpartisan nature of this role, but everyone has personal political views.” (10) 

Baggett has contributed to:

  • Jeb Bush in 2015 (9)
  • Sam Whitson (R) for Tennessee House (6)
  • Bill Lee (R) for Governor (twice) (3)
  • Joseph Williams (R) for Tennessee House (3)
  • Tommy Tuberville (R) for US House (3) 

Other                                                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 5

Supporting our Police & Fire Departments (4) 

Promoting connectivity and our city parks systems for recreation and active living throughout the city (6)

Prioritizing citizen quality of life through controlled growth and a focus on solving our traffic issues (5) 

Preserving our historic properties and assets and encouraging the telling of the full story of our city’s history (4)

When we evaluate growth as a City, we must look always prioritize the quality of life we want to maintain and provide for both current and future Franklin residents. How we proactively plan and manage growth and ensure the rural legacy of Williamson County is preserved will be a critical task for the next generation of City leaders. A sense of place matters. Following a Plan matters. Developing and planning for a broader community that has the sense of place that our downtown has is vital to keeping Franklin special. We must demand that new development meet our standards of design, fit the character of Franklin and growth planning documents we have in place. (5) 

I will work tirelessly to advocate for the preservation of our historic assets within our community. This includes historic buildings and our Civil War history as well. I have said many times, Franklin is unique. We have actual Civil War history. We have history that pre-dates the Civil War. We have history that is presently in the making. Think of the notable, historic individuals who have chosen to call Franklin home during our lifetime. Our future history is just as rich as today’s history!  Knowing this, we should fight to preserve and tell the story of the 200+ years of history Franklin has. Our history, specifically our Civil War history, is something we should all seek to appreciate. Civil War history is the history of rebellion, of morals, of sacrifice, of Union, of mistakes, of evil and great suffering, of racism and injustice and ultimately the beginnings of healing and hope for renewal. The City of Franklin can continue to be a place of continued healing, renewal and education. We can be unique and not “cancel” our historic past. Our town square will be unique and will tell the whole story and will deal with our complicated past. Because of this, millions of visitors who come here each year will have the opportunity to deal with the complicated past on America’s Favorite Main Street.  In addition to our Civil War History, we have so much architectural history and uniqueness in this town that must be preserved. Groups such as the Heritage Foundation, the African American Heritage Society, Franklin’s Charge, Battle of Franklin Trust and many others are partners in preserving our entire history and the City should support these private non-profits in their endeavors to continue preserving this special place. (4)

Baggett said that he intends to focus his campaign on three topics: the local economy, keeping streets safe and preserving the character of Franklin.  “The cat’s out of the bag — this place is wonderful,” he said. “We have to be strategic (with planning for future growth). We need to really tell growth where and how we want it, and stick to the plan.” (5)      

Christian World View

Abortion                                             Possible Score 40       Total Score 30        

Family Values                                    Possible Score 30       Total Score 24

Advocating for Franklin’s values- hospitality, faith, family, a welcoming spirit, historic charm, traditions, charity and service to our neighbor. (21) 

My faith plays a central role in my life and specifically the ways I serve in my community. The ways I have served have been extensions of my desire to extend common grace to my community from the grace that I believe has been shown me. Compassion, understanding, empathy, joy, patience, love all embody the issues and the missions of the organizations I have served in. Giving, without expecting anything in return. (22)

Member and Sunday School Teacher, Christ Community Church (Presbyterian Church in America) – Transforming of Life to the Glory of God – Christ Community Church is called by the God of all grace for the transforming of life in middle Tennessee—spiritually, socially, and culturally—through the power of the gospel, from Franklin to the nations of the world—all to the glory of God. (27)

Rise and Build- Christ Community Capital Campaign Committee (24)

GraceWorks Dinner Committee Chair – GraceWorks is a comprehensive, collaborative solution to the complex issue of poverty. Our founders recognized that local low-income residents had diverse needs – food, clothing, housing support, and financial assistance – yet, most area nonprofits and churches focused on only one or two services. By pooling church resources with private and public sectors, GraceWorks has been able to offer wraparound services to a large number of individuals and families in need, closing our more recent fiscal year having served 16,823 unduplicated Neighbors. (24)

Graduate of Samford University (Baptist when he attended) , a private Christian university; current member of Samford University Risk Management and Insurance Advisory Board (24)   

Marriage                                            Possible Score 30       Total Score 22    

Elizabeth Downing Wanczak: Do Not Recommend          

            Overall Rating: 23.6%

Big Government/Small Government Rating: Big 59%; Small 41%            

            Christian World View Rating: Christian 12%; Secular 88%                        

Background

34 years old

Married with two preschool children

Lives in Franklin in the Spencer Hall neighborhood

Ran unsuccessfully for Franklin’s Ward 4 alderman seat in 2017; In 2017, the Ward 4 race garnered under 1,000 votes, with just 9% of registered voters in the city casting a ballot. Wanczak received 40% of the vote.

Is serving on Franklin’s housing commission, including two years as chair 

Published songwriter, paralegal, and entrepreneur, she owned and operated Write Off the Row, a songwriting studio in Nashville, until April of 2018.

Bachelor’s Degree, Political Science, Sewanee

Budget, Spending, and Taxes          Possible Score 30       Total Score 10

Fiscal Responsibility – Having run a small business, I understand how important it is to design and follow a budget. The fiscal health of local government is critical to the daily function of our lives – it plans and pays for public utilities, creates many of the amenities we enjoy with our families, and makes sure the potholes get filled after an ice storm. It is critically important that the City be a good steward of taxpayer revenue and resources.  Particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, city finances are running tighter than ever and need to be resilient and designed to withstand and support our City’s residents in this unprecedented time. If elected, I will make sure that Franklin maintains and implements policies that keep it fiscally healthy and will be cognizant of the impact the City budget has on our residents day to day lives. (10)  

Business and Consumers                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 12

Promoting Smart Growth – Franklin is a vibrant and growing community. We need to make sure that all growth in the City is planned and sustainable by taking into account the need for adequate infrastructure, attainable housing, the effects of climate change on our local environment, and how growth in the City effects the quality of life we all enjoy as residents. Making smart growth a priority will ensure that Franklin continues to prosper. (9)

Affordable Housing – She mentioned support for a current bill making its way through the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen that would provide incentives to developers for building affordable homes. (14)      

Conservative                                      Possible Score 30       Total Score 28

Wanczak has contributed to:

  • Joe Biden for President (twice) (28)
  • Annette Collazo (D) for Florida House (27)
  • Nina Wheeler Yoakum (D) for Florida House (28)
  • Clint Jay Barras (D) for Florida House (27)
  • Yardley Drake Buckman (D) for Florida House (27)
  • Jared West (D) for Florida House (27)
  • Tammyette Thomas (D) for Florida House (27)
  • Elizabeth Madeira (D) for Tennessee House (twice) (27)
  • Barbara Cady (D) for Florda House (27)

Endorsed by:

  • Women for Tennessee’s Future – Women for Tennessee’s Future (WTF) is a Democratic political action committee (PAC) that elects pro-choice women to office at the local and state levels in Tennessee. (30)

Other                                                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 9

Says her status as a young mother would bring representation to a demographic that makes up a large part of the city’s population, pointing out there isn’t currently a board member with a young family. “I think it’s good to have some people [on the board] who haven’t lived here their whole life, and also of a different generation,” Wanczak said. (16)

Wanczak also spoke highly of expanding the city’s green space, and advocated for continuing to construct greenway connections between the city’s many parks. “One of the ways that I am fully supportive is the city’s project to basically interconnect a lot of these [parks]; putting in a multi-use path that would connect one park to another,” Wanczak said. “I think all of that is wonderful to create a vital community, as well as [it being] good for the health of the citizens who live here.” (6)

Community Involvement – Franklin is at its best when the community is working together and focused on how we can support one another. There is a spirit of unity that is found in the way our City responds to those who need a helping hand, a natural disaster, or the business that has found itself struggling. We show up. If elected, I will work to manifest a Franklin that is neighborly and inclusive, promoting our strengths in ways to build each other up and strengthen our relationships within the community, fostering public/private partnerships, so that I can be the most effective leader of every voice in Franklin, whether you’ve lived here your whole life, or just recently made Franklin your home. (7)

Historic Preservation – Franklin’s focus on historic preservation is one of the things I fell in love with when we moved to the area in 2009. Whether it be the focus on revitalizing the economy and tourism of Downtown Franklin, the work the Heritage Foundation has done with such local landmarks as the Franklin Theater or the Old Jailhouse, Franklin’s Charge’s preservation of Battle of Franklin sites, and the incredible work that is being done by the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County for the McLemore House and now the Merrill-Williams House – preserving the history of Franklin is vital to our community. I also think historic preservation extends to the preservation of parts our rural landscape and I would like to see an increase in engaging entities such as the Tennessee Land Trust, particularly those areas that are at high risk to flooding near the Harpeth River. As an elected Alderman, I would continue to support endeavors for historic preservation. (6)    

Christian World View

I am a Christian. My faith is very important to me and is the basis for how I live my life. My husband and I have been members of Christ United Methodist Church since 2011. 

Abortion                                             Possible Score 40       Total Score 1

Endorsed by Women for Tennessee’s Future – Women for Tennessee’s Future (WTF) is a Democratic political action committee (PAC) that elects pro-choice women to office at the local and state levels in Tennessee. (1)   

Family Values                                    Possible Score 30       Total Score 9

Graduate of Sewanee, a private Episcopal liberal arts college (6)

As a Christian, Wanczak said, “serving others is my creed.” (17)

Serves on the administrative council of Franklin’s Christ United Methodist Church and as a lay delegate to the Tennessee UMC Annual Conference – “Christ United Methodist Church welcomes and values everyone, no exceptions. We strive to show the hospitality of Jesus Christ to persons of all ages, genders, races, sexual orientations, economic situations, and abilities. Believing that life is better together, we invite you to share your God-given gifts in this community of faith to spread God’s love in our world.” (5)   

Marriage                                            Possible Score 30       Total Score 2

Participated as a Vendor at Franklin Pride (2)