Josh Stites has a passion for the city of Nashville. And he has a desire to serve the city by running for the Nashville Council. Stites graduated from ACU in 2003 with a degree in Management. While a student, Stites was involved in Students Association, Habitat for Humanity and Leadership Camps. He also said he was a student in the Bill Fowler School of Golf – where you learned secrets to networking while working on your short game.
Josh Stites - COBA Alum and Candidate for Nashville Council
Recently, we caught up with Stites to talk about his passion for civil service and how COBA helped prepare him for this path.
What office are you running for exactly?
I am running for the Nashville Council. It is the legislative body of the Metropolitan government of Nashville Davidson County.
And when is the election?
August 4, 2011 (Early Voting is July 15-30)
What issues are you passionate about that make you the best candidate for this position?
Nashville has great things going for it but its best days are still ahead. We are the healthcare capital of the country, an education mecca, and of course we also play a little music. But, like almost every government in the country, the current economic downturn has been hard on our city. The mayor’s budget for 2011-2012 avoids tax increases but dips significantly into the city’s reserves. It will require careful management by the Council to avoid a tax increase over the next four years. Maintaining fiscal discipline is a top priority. The business background that I received at ACU and later with an MBA from Baylor will be crucial to my ability to help lead our city through this crisis without any additional taxes.
Nashville is about to undertake an extensive conservation effort to provide miles and miles of trails for walking and biking. As an Eagle scout and someone who has always enjoyed being outdoors, this effort is near to my heart. This is a project that can change the face of Nashville forever, but it must be done responsibly and in a way that doesn’t over-burden the tax base. We must balance visionary conservation efforts with the development efforts of our city’s investors. Continued development/redevelopment is the only way a city can grow its tax base without raising taxes.
Finally, Nashville is struggling through some tough conversations right now about what as a society we will honor and protect. I am most excited about being a voice of reason and Truth during these discussions. Jenny and I believe that our country is hungry for men and women who will fearlessly and lovingly share Truth. If given the opportunity to serve, I look forward most of all to this aspect, having a larger podium from which to share the love of Christ. Without a doubt, my time at ACU has impacted my faith more than any other. I may not be the best candidate to accomplish this aspect of the responsibility, but I guarantee that no one wants it more.
How do you feel your experiences in COBA and at ACU have prepared you for this position?
Being in COBA for four years gave me the opportunity to sit at the feet of great men and women who share a passion for displaying excellence in their work. Because of their commitment to excellence in their profession they have credibility in what they say. My time at ACU taught me that if I want my words to be taken seriously, then my actions must lead the way. I must be an excellent Councilman in the way that I represent my city before anyone will hear the good news that I want to be able to share.
Also my time at ACU gave me confidence in what I stand for. I think I had a head-start because I come from what I consider a pretty awesome family, but the faculty and staff in COBA and throughout ACU really displayed what a Christ-like life looks like in the marketplace. This aspect of my ACU experience is priceless.
Finally, at Leadership Summit we read a book entitled Roaring Lambs. And although I don’t remember many details about the book, its core message was hammered home by Lytle and Winegeart, and that message was that we don’t need more Christian rock bands, Christian authors, or Christian ministry executives. What instead we needs are authors, writers, artists, accountants, IT professionals, teachers, and engineers who are Christian and who live out their faiths in the marketplace. This is what I am striving to do when running for the Council.
I want to be the best representative for my city, someone who is capable of solving complex problems, bringing people together, and building a healthy society for the next group that comes along. But, if I am able to do all these things but I do not share the love of Christ then it is all meaningless.
What advice do you have for current students that are interested in civil service?
The media always finds the bad examples of “public servants” but there are also a lot of great examples, our very own Bob Hunter and Ted Poe being two shining examples. Find the good ones and learn. Listen to people when they talk, always be honest; people can handle the truth, and never forget the greater purpose of your calling.
Josh and Jenny Stites