‘Tomorrow, our work begins’: Freddie O’Connell ready to get to work as Nashville’s new mayor

“Nashville, thank you. Let’s get to work.”
Councilman Freddie O'Connell defeated executive Alice Rolli in the runoff election to become Nashville's next mayor.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:13 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 5:33 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Nashville’s new mayor says he’s ready to get to work as the city’s new executive chief.

Freddie O’Connell edged out Alice Rolli in Thursday night’s runoff election earning 64% of the votes (61,840 votes compared to Rolli’s 34,384.)

During his victory speech, O’Connell talked about how Nashville has, in the past four years, endured a tornado, wind storms, floods, civil unrest, a bombing, a global pandemic, and a mass school shooting.

“But we’re still here. Let’s stay. Together,” he said.

O’Connell said three things to focus on to help stay together: how Nashville grows, works, and moves.

“We’re going to organize the mayor’s office around these principles, concentrating on how we make it easier to stay here, the cost of living in Nashville, and the quality of life for Nashvillians.”

Freddie O'Connell has been elected as Nashville's next mayor.

Here is O’Connell’s victory speech, in its entirety:

“Thank you, Nashville!

Look around! What a great room. You could be anywhere today and you’re here. In Nashville. In Music City. With me. With each other.

And I want you to stay.

I grew up here. My parents are here. Some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life are here. Some of my favorite people I ever worked with offered me a job here.

And now I’m raising my family here.

I love this city and her people.

I love the music. I love the southern cooking and writing. I love the accents.

I love the legacy of Music City that started with the Fisk Jubilee singers. I love that my parents took us to the art galleries there when I was a kid and how my dad used to spin jazz and blues records at WFSK.

I love the new memories that our family is making and the successes that our daughters are finding in our public schools.

Something I love about this moment, about how you’re here tonight, about how many of you participated in the difficult but sometimes joyful work of making tonight possible – is that we are all working to make this a place we love, together.

And it is work. But we are up to the challenge.

We still have deep, painful scars from a past that treated too many people unjustly. And too many of us are experiencing new injuries. So the work of repairing and healing is necessary.

And not as many people as we’d hoped have been able to access the economic success of the city, so we need to broaden opportunity and access to prosperity.

And we’ve had to endure so much so recently. Just in the past 4 years, we’ve endured a tornado, wind storms, floods, civil unrest, a bombing, a global pandemic, and a mass school shooting.

But we’re still here.

Let’s stay.


Here’s how we make that possible.

Starting tomorrow we’re going to begin a transition process that focuses on three important things that we’ve all talked about for the past year—how Nashville grows, how Nashville works, and how Nashville moves.

We’re going to organize the mayor’s office around these principles, concentrating on how we make it easier to stay here, the cost of living in Nashville and the quality of life for Nashvillians.

We’re going to make amazing investments in communities all over our city like our new Goodlettsville Elementary School, the James Lawson High School in Bellevue, the Ravenwood Park in Hermitage, and a new community center in Old Hickory.

Every part of this city deserves the public resources that bind neighborhoods—and neighbors—together. Schools, parks, and libraries.

And our interactions with our local government should leave us feeling satisfied that a real person worked to solve our issue.

From litter to fallen tree limbs to potholes, we should be able to rely on our people and the systems we use to keep this city vibrant.

Finally, we’re going to make sure you can get where you want to go – regardless of how you want to get there.

We’re going to build a meaningful transit system.

Some of this starts immediately. More buses that go more places and that don’t all have to transfer downtown.

We’ll add to that more sidewalks and stronger infrastructure around these amazing community assets so we can reach them safely from our homes. Or from anywhere in the city.

At the end of the day, though, as we do this work, we’re going to look after one another and take care of each other.

Are you ready to stay?

Great. I can’t wait to get to work and continue to work with so many of you.

Before I thank a few people, I want to dedicate tonight to David Boon, Whitney’s father. We didn’t talk about it a lot, but earlier this summer, Whitney took our girls up to visit her parents in Pennsylvania and discovered that they had aged more rapidly than we knew.

Unfortunately, we lost him last Friday.

And we’re missing him dearly tonight.

I wouldn’t be on this absurd adventure without my dear partner, Dr. Whitney Boon. I told her every reason I shouldn’t run, and she still thought I should. And she supported our family with grace for the last year and a half.

So thank you Whitney. Thank you to our daughters – Halley and Violet – for putting up with my missing so many family dinners of late.

And there would’ve been fewer conversations with voters if we hadn’t brought on Scott Dietz, the mastermind of our field effort for months.

And there would’ve been no campaign without Marjorie Pomeroy-Wallace, my core partner in this effort. And the chief architect of the incredible team that helped us get here.

I want to thank the other participants in this conversation—Alice Rolli, Jim Gingrich, Matt Wiltshire, Sen. Jeff Yarbro, Sen. Heidi Campbell, Assessor Vivian Wilhoite, Council Lady Sharon Hurt, school board member Fran Bush, and Stephanie Johnson. All of us wanted better for the city.

And I want to thank Mayor Cooper, who stewarded the city through some of our worst crises in history and left us in strong shape. His efforts are an incredibly important springboard to our future successes.

We’ve had so many event hosts, public supporters, and volunteers, it would truly take me most of the night to thank them all individually.

So to everyone who knocked on doors, made phone calls, talked to your friends, held house parties, or even tweeted about the campaign: this victory belongs to you. You are the reason I’m standing here tonight. You are the reason we are standing here tonight.

Tomorrow, our work begins. We know we can do better. Together.

This is our chance to make Nashville a place where you want to stay – and can stay.

And I want you to stay.

You are the reason that Music City’s future is even better than its past.

Nashville, thank you. Let’s get to work.”