Nashville community organizer to primary Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper in 2022

Apr 6, 2021

Odessa Kelly and Rep. Jim Cooper

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee community organizer Odessa Kelly has announced that she will challenge U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper in the 2022 Democratic primary.

Kelly is backed by Justice Democrats, a progressive group that helped launch Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign in 2018.

Kelly is the co-founder and executive director of Stand Up Nashville, a coalition made up of community organizers and labor unions.

If she won, Kelly would become the first openly gay, Black woman in Congress.

Cooper, a white lawmaker with a reputation as a moderate Democrat, has held his Nashville-area House seat since 2003. Before that, he spent time serving in the House from 1983 to 1995.