At a time when cases of the coronavirus are on the rise in some areas, mask mandates are being considered and vaccination rates remain low, the mayors across Williamson County appear to be in unison when it comes to issues of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That was made clear at Tuesday morning’s Breakfast with the Mayors at Rolling Hills Community Church, the first time Franklin Tomorrow’s quarterly community event has been held in person since before the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Hosted by Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson and Franklin Mayor Ken Moore, and moderated by Tom Lawrence from WAKM-AM radio, the gathering also featured mayors Debby Rainey of Fairview, Derek Adams of Nolensville, Rhea Little of Brentwood, Corey Napier of Thompson’s Station and Jim Hagaman of Spring Hill.
When asked if they would support a government campaign to encourage residents to get the vaccine, all basically said it comes down to personal choice and individual responsibility. And while city and community officials should lead in providing information on where and how to receive the immunization, government has no business requiring it.
“Liberty is a word you hear a lot in Brentwood,” Little said. “I do believe in personal liberty, and so I would never impose upon someone the vaccination. I think its wonderful for us to advertise and let people know where to get the vaccine if they choose to do it. But it’s their liberty to choose to have a vaccine or not.”
Adams echoed Little’s sentiment.
“I’m a big proponent of personal responsibility and choice,” he said. “It’s a good thing [the vaccine is] available, but no government should require it. I’m [fully] vaccinated, and that was my personal choice. If that’s not your personal choice, I would say make sure you don’t endanger others, make sure you’re being safe and responsible and respectful for others’ choices.”
Hagaman voiced the same concern.
“I believe in very small government, and government should not tell you what to do or how you conduct your own life,” he said. “I don’t believe in a vaccine mandate, but I do believe education is part of a citizen’s responsibility to make an informed decision.”
Along the same lines as whether or not to require vaccinations, the mayors also responded to a question about the return of mask mandates. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention made the recommendation later Tuesday that all people, even those who have been vaccinated, resume wearing masks indoors in certain “hot spots” where cases are surging.
“My prayer is that the virus doesn’t come back with such a vengeance,” Little said. “I definitely feel like if [people are] vaccinated they should have a choice of whether to wear a mask or not. Cases would have to get real bad before we all have to wear masks again. I just feel the vaccine is a much more effective weapon and something that’s readily available.”
The mayors also took on the topics of diversity and affordable housing, and Brandt Wood gave an update on the Pilgrimage Music Festival set to return Sept. 25-26 at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm.
Visit Franklin Tomorrow’s Facebook page to see the full video from Breakfast with the Mayors.