Sharon Hurt is a number of things: a City Council member, a businesswoman, an activist. But most of all, she’s a Nashvillian who simply wants the best for all the city’s residents.
“I try to touch every corner of Davidson County to try to make sure that there is equity and inclusion for all,” says Hurt, who was re-elected to the Council At-large after a runoff on Sept. 12.
As first, Hurt says she was disappointed that a runoff was necessary, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise.
“It was really the best part of this whole campaign experience, because I got a chance to meet some really wonderful people, listen to them, and it helped me be more in tune with the issues that people were having, and gave them an opportunity to see who I am.”
And just who is Sharon Hurt?
A Memphis native, Hurt came to Nashville to attend Tennessee State University in 1975. She graduated four years later with a business degree.
She landed a job with Meharry Medical College where she worked for 17 years before eventually taking a position with the nonprofit Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership (JUMP), a full-service organization that serves Nashville’s historic Jefferson Street and its surrounding communities through advocacy, commerce and development.
Hurt, who has been with JUMP for more than 20 years, says her work with the organization helped motivate her to run for public office because of the relationships she was developing working in the community.
Hurt is also executive director of Street Works, an organization that was the first in Tennessee to be approved to lead a needle exchange program and has been a leader in the Nashville community on ending the epidemic of AIDS/HIV.
“We’re doing some great things; expanding the program,” says Hurt, who has a master’s in nonprofit leadership from Belmont University. “I’m really excited about where we’re going, and the things we’re doing.”
Hurt, who moved from fourth to second seat on the Council, is just as excited about her roles in public office. She is currently acting chair of the Minority Caucus, and has plans to solidify that position.
“I think I have the experience, the compassion, the passion and the courage that it’s going to take to lead the Caucus forward,” says Hurt.
She is also chair of Health and Hospitals. Hurt says Nashville General Hospital, which has struggled financially, is on her agenda. The main objective, she says, is to make sure patients receive “quality healthcare.”
“We need to make sure that we put the care of the people first,” says Hurt. “While I understand that the money, the finances are important, I believe that we’ve got to build trust … to let them know that we care for them.”
Metro General is located in North Nashville, a community special to Hurt because she’s worked there for almost 40 years. According to statistics, many of North Nashville’s residents struggle with health issues like diabetes and hypertension, as well as low income and high unemployment.
“When you don’t have a job, and you don’t have a job that offers you health insurance, then it’s a barrier for you to be able to live a quality life,” says Hurt.
Michael McLendon lives in North Nashville. While he has a good job and is living a successful life, he cares about the welfare of other residents in the area, and is glad to know that public officials like Hurt share his sentiment.
“I voted for Sharon Hurt because she’s always involved in the community,” says McLendon. “She’s someone you can see, and talk to. She’s instrumental in bringing about positive change in North Nashville. I’m excited about her being elected again because I know that there’s someone on the Council who will have my community at heart.”