Downtown Franklin resident Alan Simms describes himself as an optimist.
“I see a lot of positive in Franklin,” he said. “I don’t like to dwell on negative stuff.”
Simms hopes to bring that perspective to the city’s board of mayor and aldermen as he pursues an at-large seat in this October’s election.
Though the at-large election is held every four years, with the most recent in the fall of 2019, the at-large seat has been added to the ballot for this year; it is currently being filled by interim Alderman John Schroer after former Alderman Pearl Bransford’s death last year.
A native of West Tennessee, Simms graduated from the University of Memphis with a degree in business administration. He lived in Dallas and Houston for 17 years, working in IT project management, before returning to Tennessee in 2014.
Simms works as a senior project manager for QuikQ LLC, a Franklin-based fuel payment solutions provider.
He and his partner, Roger Walters, a Chevron consultant, live in a house they renovated on Lewisburg Avenue with their two English labradors, Rox and Rose.
“As soon as we got here, we got as involved as we could,” Simms said.
He’s involved with organizations like the Franklin Downtown Neighborhood Association, the Heritage Foundation and the Downtown Franklin Rotary. He also attends BOMA meetings, where he listens to details on projects and asks aldermen as many questions as he can.
“I really did learn from the existing board how important it is to listen to people,” he said. “At times, it could seem like lip service, but you can tell when you’re watching them, they’re engaged and actively listening.”
The ability to listen to others and build bridges is part of what Simms referred to as a “culture of kindness,” a term he heard Kathie Lee Gifford use to describe the area.
In his experience of leadership, “there’s never enough time or resources or people,” Simms said. Instead, he wants to work towards bringing together facts and stakeholders to find solutions everyone can get behind.
“I don’t believe in zero sum,” he said. “As long as we’re both willing to give a little, a positive compromise can always be worked out.”
As Simms sees it, Franklin’s growth “problem” is actually a positive sign, and one that can be worked through.
“It’s great that people come in and are concerned about their areas and want to work with the community,” he said.
His priorities include continuing the conservative fiscal approach currently in place, approaching the city’s growth in collaboration with developers and the county, and supporting local law enforcement, as well as city staff, nonprofit organizations and teachers.
“I do really believe in support for the people who support and serve us,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who make Franklin special beyond the departments that the city has control over.”
Though he currently doesn’t have a declared opponent for the seat, Simms said he hope to earn votes based on his integrity and respect for others.
“I’m not ever going to put anybody down,” he said.
Election Day in Franklin is Oct. 26. Four wards and an at-large seat will be on the ballot.