Tennessee Sen. Brenda Gilmore, a long-time community advocate and member of the state legislature, will not seek re-election to state Senate District 19 in Nashville.
Sen. Gilmore, who has served in the Tennessee General Assembly since 2006, announced her decision this weekend.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to pass the bright flaming torch to the next generation of leaders. With great pride, I have been blessed to serve the Nashville community for close to three decades,” Gilmore said. “I thank my colleagues in both the House and Senate, both the speaker of the House and the lieutenant governor and my caucus and staff who are like family to me. It has been my joy to work with some of the most hard-working public servants in the nation while we tried to improve the lives of all Tennesseans.
“Most importantly, I want to thank the good people that have supported me throughout the years. It has been my greatest honor to serve the constituents in the 19th District and others across the state of Tennessee.”
Reflecting on her years of service, Gilmore touched on her passion for criminal justice reform, the environment, women, children, and family issues as well as some of the progress she’s worked for.
“I am proud of my work in helping the most vulnerable and marginalized, including victims of domestic violence, people struggling with addiction and mental health issues, and eliminating voter suppression,” Gilmore said.
Even though her party’s caucus has been outnumbered on Capitol Hill, Gilmore has worked across the aisle to get smart laws on the books, including legislation to help citizens returning from incarceration find work; expand alternatives to incarceration when it keeps families together, and reduce expungement fees to help people get their lives back on track.
Some of Sen. Gilmore’s most impactful work in the legislature has pushed for the cause of racial justice.
“I fought with many others to remove symbols of racism and hate from public places, and it was achieved,” Gilmore said. “We successfully removed the bust of Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Capitol in July 2021, after 43 years of disgracing our state’s most iconic building for public governance.”
Gilmore was elected to the Tennessee Senate in 2018. Prior to her term in the Senate, she was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives six times, serving from 2006 to 2018.
Though known for her work at the state legislature, Gilmore’s public service started on the Metro Nashville Council, where she represented parts of Nashville from 1999 to 2007.
Sen. Gilmore says she will be easy to find in retirement as an active volunteer.
“I want to stay active and be involved in the community. I just won’t have a title,” Gilmore said.
Over the years, Sen. Gilmore has been involved with a long list of community organizations and national endeavors, including CABLE; League of Women Voters; Nashville Women Political Caucus; NAACP; Tennessee State University Alumni Association; Music City Links; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; Minerva Foundation; FiftyForward; YWCA; Urban League of Middle Tennessee; Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation; National Black Caucus of State Legislators; Women in Government; Southern Legislative Conference; and the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators to name only a few.