Candidate Spotlight: Courtenay Rogers
Williamson County Commission, District 10
Why did you decide to run for office?
This is my second time running for office, as I ran for state representative in 2016. Though I didn't win, I'm proud to say I was part of the Blue Wave in Williamson County and now I'm serving as the vice-chair of the WCDP. I’m a U.S. Navy veteran, proud public school parent to a rising freshman at Centennial High School, and a small-business owner with expertise in operations and logistics. I started my professional career serving our country as a naval officer and the most important thing I learned was to take care of my people. We must take care of our people. This is why I’m running for county commissioner. Quite honestly, I'm deeply concerned about my community. In 20 years, we’ll be the size of Nashville and we don’t have a viable plan for growth. As one of the fastest-growing counties in America, we have got to make critical infrastructure decisions that put us on a sustainable path forward. This work must include our under-served and marginalized communities.
Share your platform. What will you do when you are elected to serve Williamson County?
Our county commission is in charge of making sure our community has roads, water, parks and schools along with a plan and budget to handle our growth. This is a great place to live! We’ve got low unemployment, high graduation rates, and our business-friendly atmosphere lured multiple companies to build headquarters here. My family has been in Williamson County for seven generations, and I have witnessed our transition from a rural to a suburban community. As a community builder and technologist, I’m ready to take action to expand recycling across the county, bring back inclusionary zoning, use technology effectively, push for additional educational impact fees and limit tax incentives for large corporations.
1. Maintain Our Excellent Public Schools: As a public school parent, I am a proud and vocal advocate for Williamson County Schools. Families move here because of the great quality of life, and the excellent public education we provide our children. Our schools are one of the main reasons businesses choose to relocate to our community, in addition to our low property tax rates and all of the amenities our region has to offer.
While the County Commission does not have authority over school funding formulas and curricula, the governing body does have the responsibility to put the right infrastructure in place to ensure the long-term success of our schools. Our children and teachers deserve a system that is fully funded and a county commission that remains focused on this key economic and social driver.
As a County Commissioner, I will work with parents and educators to promote better collaboration with our state and federal leaders. We need to increase funding, improve teacher salaries and benefits, and make sure that Williamson County Schools receive the support they need to continue their tradition of excellence.
2. Keep Williamson County Moving: The County Commission is responsible for making decisions on how we move through our community and how we get power, sewer and electricity to rapidly growing areas such as the southeastern portion of our county. As one of the fastest-growing counties in America, we have got to make critical infrastructure decisions that put us on a sustainable path forward.
Williamson County is a model for economic development across the country, with Fortune 500’s and new businesses making relocation announcements almost daily. We certainly welcome new jobs and investments, but we have got to be more thoughtful and responsible when it comes to managing our growth. This includes critical investments in schools, roads, sewer and public greenspace.
We need commissioners with forward-looking perspectives, who understand the importance of collaboration. As a County Commissioner, I will lean on my military background in planning and logistics, to tackle each of these challenges and to ensure the public interest is always at the forefront of every decision.
3. Promote Livability: Today, the average price for a home in our community is just under one million dollars. The median wages for teachers, firefighters, police and other public servants put many well below the ability to live in the community they proudly serve.
How do we recruit great teachers, if they can’t live where they teach? Why should law enforcement officers, paramedics and other civil servants be required to spend a significant portion of their hard-earned, taxpayer-funded salaries on long commutes to outlying counties?
These are real issues facing our County Commission, and we need every commissioner focused on ensuring our essential employees are able to raise their families where they work. I have been a single mother and a small business owner in Williamson County, and I understand these challenges all too well.
As a County Commissioner, I will work to bring the full power of local government to the livability issue, because it’s at the center of so many other issues. Affordable housing solutions can take many forms, from incentive-based programs for employees to public-private partnerships that promote the development of more workforce housing. This is not an issue we can solve alone, it will require collaboration with regional governments as well as leveraging state and federal resources to address all of the underlying challenges of affordable living in Williamson County.
How else do you serve our community?
I'm the vice-chair of the WCDP, volunteer for the Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition, Williamson Social Justice Alliance, The Equity Alliance, mentor for the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and Founding Member of Unite .
If you could have dinner with one current Tennessee elected official, who would it be, and why?
I want to have dinner with Marsha Blackburn because I used to be a conservative Republican and I think we may have more in common than we realize. I think it's my responsibility to engage with white women in power to explain to them what I've learned over the last 10 years about understanding our privilege and unraveling how white supremacy impacts our existence constantly.
What are you currently reading?
“Our Time Is Now” by Stacey Abrams
What inspires you to serve?
My daughter Clair is my inspiration for every righteous fight I pick. We need more servant leaders who do the right thing simply because it's the right thing to do.
What’s your favorite restaurant or local event in Williamson County?
For a date night, it’s Red Pony. For a casual family meal, Big Shakes or Brixx (they have an awesome military discount!)
Anything else you want to share?
I'm honored to represent Democrats in Williamson County, and I look forward to serving the entire community once I'm elected.