Megan Barry

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Megan Barry
Megan Barry Headshot bw.jpg
7th Mayor of Metro Nashville-Davidson County
In office
September 25, 2015 – March 6, 2018
Preceded by Karl Dean
Succeeded by David Briley (Acting)
Personal details
Born Megan Christine Mueller
(1963-09-22) September 22, 1963 (age 54)
Santa Ana, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bruce Barry
Children 1
Education Baker University (BA)
Vanderbilt University (MBA)
Website Official website

Megan Christine[citation needed] Barry (née Mueller; born September 22, 1963) is an American businesswoman and politician. Barry served as the seventh and first female mayor of Nashville and Davidson County,[1] a post she held from 2015 until March 6, 2018, when she resigned after pleading guilty to felony theft related to an extramarital affair with a city employee.[2] Barry is a Democrat.

Early life and education[edit]

Barry was born on September 22, 1963, in Santa Ana, California and grew up in Overland Park, Kansas where she graduated from the private all-girls Notre Dame de Sion School in nearby Kansas City, Missouri.[3] She earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas in 1986, where she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega.[4] She also earned an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University in 1993.[5][6]

Business career[edit]

Barry worked in business ethics and corporate responsibility for the multinational telecommunications firm Nortel Networks.[6] From 2003 to 2012, Barry was vice president of ethics and compliance at Premier, Inc., a health-care group purchasing organization.[6] She also worked as principal of Barry & Associates, an independent consulting organization to multinational corporations on issues dealing with business ethics and corporate social responsibility.[6]

Political career[edit]

Metropolitan Councilwoman-at-Large[edit]

Barry was first elected to one of the five at-large seats on the 40-member Metro Council in September 2007,[7] and won re-election to a second four-year term in August 2011. In winning re-election, she was the top vote getter among the five incumbents who successfully sought a second term.[8]

During her first term on the council, Barry chaired the council's Budget and Finance Committee and the Education Committee. In 2009, she led an effort in the council to pass a bill banning discrimination against city employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.[9] During the 2013-14 council year, she chaired the Rules Committee and served as a member of the Budget and Finance Committee and the Personnel Committee.

Barry performed the first same-sex wedding in Nashville on June 26, 2015.[10]

2015 mayoral campaign[edit]

Barry started her mayoral campaign in April 2013, filing paperwork with the Davidson County Election Commission naming Nashville attorney Leigh Walton as her campaign's treasurer.[11] She received the largest total of votes for mayor in this election, but did not achieve an absolute majority of votes cast in the race, setting up her runoff race against hedge fund manager David Fox, the second-place finisher. Although major media in Nashville touted apartment landlord Bill Freeman as odds on favorite to win the mayoral election, The Nashvillian newspaper predicted the race would be a runoff between Barry and Fox, then showed Barry taking the early lead in the runoff over Fox. The runoff was noted by many as a particularly dirty campaign, with both candidates launching various personal attacks against the other.[12]

Barry raised US$1.1 million in political contributions during her campaign.[13] She received US$1,500 from Wayne T. Smith, who serves as the CEO of Community Health Systems; US$1,500 from R. Milton Johnson, who serves as the CEO of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA); US$5,000 from HCA; US$1,500 from Damon T. Hininger, the CEO of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA); and US$1,500 from CCA's Chairman, John D. Ferguson.[13] Another notable donor was Mike Curb, the founder of Curb Records.[13] She also received US$7,600 from the Nashville Business Coalition, a business organization.[13]

Barry won a decisive victory over Fox in a September 10 runoff election.[2]

Mayor of Nashville[edit]

Barry took office on September 25, 2015, becoming the first woman to hold the post and the second woman to serve as mayor of one of the "Big Four" cities in Tennessee.[citation needed] Her inauguration was held in the Music City Center in Nashville.[14] The theme was "We Make Nashville".[14]

At the beginning of her administration, Barry assembled the most diverse team in the history of Nashville.[citation needed] She appointed Nashville's first Chief Diversity Officer to review and oversee policies as it relates to diversity in hiring and promotions within Metro Government.[15] Barry also focused on engaging the community in governing with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement, which includes the Office of New Americans focused on outreach to immigrant and refugee communities.[citation needed]

Barry started her tenure working aggressively—through a Three-Year Action Agenda[16][17]—to tackle Nashville's growing traffic problem by upgrading and synchronizing traffic signals in a way that reduced congestion on the city's major pikes and corridors, reducing average travel delays by 24% and cutting gas consumption by an estimated 830,000 gallons in the first year alone.

Barry soon embraced the concept of Vision Zero to reduce traffic-related fatalities in Davidson County by investing in paving, sidewalks, and bike paths. She also worked to improve dangerous intersections in high-traffic areas and sought out quick-build projects to promote better safety.[18]

In early 2017, she worked with Governor Bill Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly to promote and pass the IMPROVE Act,[19] which will increase funding for roadway projects across Tennessee and give voters the chance to create sustainable funding mechanisms for mass transit. Barry announced she would seek to place a referendum on the ballot in 2018 that would create a comprehensive mass transit system throughout all corners of Davidson County.[20]

Barry also spent much of her first two years working to better the state of affordable housing in Nashville. She committed to putting $10 million in her recommended operating budget every year for the Barnes Trust Fund for Affordable Housing, a fund she helped create as a Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County member. She also created the Housing Incentive Pilot Program[21] in April 2017 to encourage mixed-income residential development, established private-public partnerships for affordable and workforce housing on Metro-owned property, and announced her intention to utilize $25 million in general obligation bonds to preserve existing affordable housing or construct new Metro-owned developments.[22]

One of Barry's keystone accomplishments of her first term was the creation and expansion of the Opportunity NOW program,[23] which aimed to reduce the rising rates of youth violence and unemployment by creating 10,000 paid job and internship opportunities for Nashville's teenagers and young adults throughout the private, public and non-profit sectors.[24]

In May 2017, Barry was criticized by Black Lives Matter for her handling of the shooting of Jocques Clemmons; protesters marched through the Hillsboro neighborhood where she lives and left a coffin outside her house.[25][26]

In May 2017, Barry also announced the opening of an Ikea store in Nashville, scheduled for 2020.[27]

On August 29, 2017, Barry dismissed the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood's anti-LGBT Nashville Statement as "poorly named" and unrepresentative of the inclusivity of Nashville and its citizens;[28][29][30] in response, she promoted the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's Nashville Unites Resolution.[28]

Gun violence for young Nashvillians went up during her tenure, rising up to 21 deaths in January-October 2017.[31] The Tennessean noted that 2017 was "the bloodiest year for teens and children in more than a decade," many of whom were African Americans who lived in city-run housing projects like the James A. Cayce Homes.[31] In response, Barry vowed to "get illegal guns off of our streets and out of the hands of kids and dangerous criminals" and offer more job training for local youths.[31]

On October 2017, Barry unveiled her $5.2 billion plans for expanding Nashville's transportation infrastructure including the addition of light rail service.[32]

On December 10, 2017, Barry dedicated the first historical marker in Tennessee to honor an LGBT activist, Penny Campbell, in East Nashville.[33]

On March 6, 2018, she pled guilty to a Class C felony in Nashville criminal court as part of a plea bargain.[34] Moments after her guilty plea, Barry resigned her post as mayor.[35] Her successor is David Briley, who had been serving as her vice mayor.

Personal life[edit]

Megan Barry is married to Bruce Barry, a professor at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management and a contributor to the Nashville Scene.[36] The couple had one son, Max.[36] On July 30, 2017, the Mayor's office announced that the Barrys' only child, Max, had died of an apparent drug overdose in Denver, Colorado at 22 years old.[37]

On January 31, 2018, Barry admitted that she had conducted a two-year long extramarital affair with Nashville Police Sergeant Robert Forrest Jr., the officer in charge of her security detail, which included extended business trips with just the two of them.[38] Barry maintained that Forrest was not her direct subordinate,[39] and said that she did not want to "muddy the #metoo movement."[40] Despite this, she refused to step down.[41] Spending of government funds for their trips together eventually led to her guilty plea and resignation as mayor in March 2018.[34]

Electoral history[edit]

Nashville mayoral run-off election, September 2015[42]
Candidate Votes % ±
Megan Barry 60,519 55
David Fox 49,694 45

Nashville mayoral election, August 2015[43]
Candidate Votes % ±
Megan Barry 24,553 23.5
David Fox 23,754 22.8
Bill Freeman 22,308 21.3
Howard Gentry 12,110 11.5
Charles Robert Bone 10,962 10.5
Linda Eskind Rebrovick 5,827 5.6
Jeremy Kane 4,767 4.6

Nashville Council at-large election, August 2011[44]
Candidate Votes % ±
Megan Barry 30,212 11.9
Ronnie Steine 29,262 11.6
Tim Garrett 28,017 11.1
Charlie Tygard 26,982 10.7
Jerry Maynard 25,851 10.2
Eric Crafton 20,528 8.1
Vivan Wilhoite 17,659 6.9
Sam Coleman 15,437 6.1
Ken Jakes 12,396 4.9
Renard Francois 10,516 4.2
Donna Crawford 10,263 4.1
Charles Townsend, Sr. 6,972 2.8
James “Jim” Maxwell 4,967 2
Keith Speer 3,224 1.3
Don O’Donniley 3,080 1.2
Sajid Usmani 3,064 1.2
J Wooten 2,344 0.9
Donald Ray McFolin 1,429 0.6

Barry also ran in the August 2007 Nashville Council at-large election, but those returns are not available from the Davidson County Election Commission. In 2007, Barry won her first term to the Council as an at-large councilwoman.


  1. ^ Garrison, Joey (September 10, 2015). "Megan Barry elected Nashville mayor". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Garrison, Joey (March 6, 2018). "Nashville Mayor Megan Barry resigns from office; 'I love you, Nashville,' she says". The Tennessean. Retrieved March 6, 2018. 
  3. ^ "Guide to the Office of Mayor Megan Barry" (PDF). Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Baker grad named Nashville Mayor". Baker University. April 27, 2016. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  5. ^ Garrison, Joey (May 10, 2015). "Megan Barry quiets early skeptics in mayoral race". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d Boucher, Dave (August 30, 2015). "Megan Barry: Ethics background helps for public office". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Barry, Steine, Tygard and Maynard Win At-Large Races". WTVF. September 2007. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  8. ^ Joey Garrison, "With a Blend of Progressivism and Business Acumen, Barry Sets Up Her Future", Nashville City Paper, August 14, 2011.
  9. ^ Julie Bolcer, "Nashville Nondiscrimination", The Advocate, September 17, 2009.
  10. ^ "Mayoral candidate Megan Barry performs 1st wedding for same-sex couple in Nashville". WJHL-TV. June 26, 2015. Archived from the original on July 24, 2015. 
  11. ^ Joey Garrison, "Council's Megan Barry lays groundwork for potential mayoral run", The Tennessean, April 23, 2013.
  12. ^ Fausset, Richard (September 9, 2015). "In Mayoral Race, Nashville Politics Forgets Its Manners". The New York Times. p. A18. 
  13. ^ a b c d Harrison, Scott (September 8, 2015). "Barry vs. Fox: Who the biggest business names have their money behind for mayor". Nashville Business Journal. Nashville, Tennessee. Retrieved September 13, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b Garrison, Joey (September 22, 2015). "Barry picks 'We make Nashville' as inauguration theme". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  15. ^ Garrison, Joey (April 8, 2016). "Mayor Barry appoints Hernandez-Lane chief diversity officer". The Tennessean. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Nashville - Mayor Barry Unveils Three-Year Action Agenda for Transportation in Nashville". 
  17. ^ Garrison, Joey (May 24, 2017). "Mayor Barry orders 'action agenda' for quick transportation fixes". The Tennessean. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  18. ^ Haggard, Amanda (May 24, 2017). "Barry Releases Transit Blueprint". Nashville Scene. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Nashville - Mayor Barry Statement on Passage of IMPROVE Act". 
  20. ^ Garrison, Joey (April 26, 2017). "Mayor Barry commits to light rail on Gallatin Pike, kicks off public vote for funding transit". The Tennessean. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Nashville - Mayor Launches Housing Incentive Pilot Program". 
  22. ^ Garrison, Joey (July 12, 2016). "Nashville mayor unveils incentive plan to boost affordable housing". The Tennessean. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Nashville > Mayor's Office > Opportunity NOW". 
  24. ^ "'Opportunity NOW' Will Help Teens Find Jobs". WTVF. March 6, 2017. Archived from the original on March 6, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  25. ^ Sawyer, Ariana Maia (May 12, 2017). "Justice for Jocques Coalition demonstrates outside Nashville mayor's home". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 14, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Silent march for Jocques Clemmons ends at Nashville mayor's home". WKRN-TV. May 12, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017. 
  27. ^ Garrison, Joey (May 25, 2017). "Ikea announces opening date for Nashville store, and the countdown begins". The Tennessean. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  28. ^ a b @MeganCBerry (August 29, 2017). "The @CBMWorg's so-called "Nashville Statement" is poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  29. ^ French, David (August 30, 2017). "Can a Progressive's 'Inclusive Values' Include Christianity?". National Review Online. National Review. Retrieved September 1, 2017. 
  30. ^ Brant, Joseph (August 30, 2017). "Conservative Christian leaders release anti-LGBT "Nashville Statement"". Out & About Nashville. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  31. ^ a b c Alund, Natalie Neysa (October 11, 2017). "2017 is Nashville's bloodiest year for youths in more than a decade — and it's only October". The Tennessean. Retrieved October 12, 2017. 
  32. ^ Garrison, Joey (October 17, 2017). "Mayor Barry unveils sweeping $5.2 billion transit proposal for Nashville with light rail, massive tunnel". The Tennessean. Retrieved January 18, 2018. 
  33. ^ Brant, Joseph (December 10, 2017). "Nashville LGBT pioneer Penny Campbell honored with historical marker; Tennessee's first marker honoring the LGBT movement". Out & About Nashville. Retrieved December 17, 2017. 
  34. ^ a b "Nashville Mayor Megan Barry resigns in felony plea deal after affair with bodyguard". NBC News. Associated Press. March 6, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2018. 
  35. ^ Wang, Amy; Rosenberg, Eli (March 6, 2018). "Megan Barry resigns as Nashville mayor, weeks after admitting affair with her security chief". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 March 2018. 
  36. ^ a b Johnson, Jennifer (September 23, 2015). "Bruce Barry to keep low profile as wife takes office". WSMV-TV. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  37. ^ Hale, Steven (July 30, 2017). "Max Barry, Son of Mayor Megan Barry, Dies From Apparent Overdose". Nashville Scene. Retrieved July 30, 2017. 
  38. ^ Garrison, Joey; Rau, Nate; Boucher, Dave (January 31, 2018). "Nashville Mayor Megan Barry admits to extramarital relationship with top police security officer". The Tennessean. Retrieved January 31, 2018. 
  39. ^ Rosenberg, Eli (January 31, 2018). "Nashville mayor Megan Barry admits to having an affair with the officer who ran her police detail". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 1, 2018. Barry maintained that Forrest worked for the police and was not a direct subordinate. 
  40. ^ Hale, Steven (January 31, 2018). "Mayor Megan Barry Admits to Affair With Head of Security". Nashville Scene. Retrieved February 1, 2018. about the propriety of a relationship with a subordinate, Barry said she did not want the revelations to “muddy the #metoo movement.” 
  41. ^ "Nashville Mayor Admits To Affair, Refuses To Resign". CBS Miami. February 1, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2018. 
  42. ^ "September 10 Election Results (Unofficial)". Election Commission. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. September 10, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2017. 
  43. ^ "August 6 Election Results (Unofficial)". Election Commission. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. 
  44. ^ "Election Results - August 4, 2011". Election Commission. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Karl Dean
Mayor of Nashville
Succeeded by
David Briley