Two of the three candidates in the Democratic race for Shelby County Mayor submitted and completed The New Tri-State Defender candidate questionnaire in time for us to evaluate and consider their answers towards our final endorsement. Those candidates were Deidre Malone and the Rev. Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr.
Steve Mulroy did not submit the questionnaire. All three candidates were collectively sent the questionnaire via email on April 10th.
In evaluating the questionnaires that were submitted, both candidates provided candid and thorough answers to questions on all areas of responsibility and issues, including economic development, education, crime, youth and administration. Both candidates are well educated, dedicated, family-oriented, of high character and are passionate individuals committed to serving their community.
Whalum's approach is myopically focused on schools/education, which while very important represents only one of many important issues that must be addressed by the next County Mayor. He provided a strong response on youth development, offering an idea to pursue a new amusement park (replacement of Libertyland) for job and skill development for young people as well as a social outlet. Otherwise, most of his responses either challenged the validity of the question or was a repetition of previous answers, mostly "Schools, Schools, Schools."
Malone on the other hand provided a more thorough and detailed outline of her platform and approaches if elected and demonstrated a better understanding of both county government and the myriad responsibilities of the County Mayor. She was strongest on plans to increase school funding, ability to build coalitions across various lines towards progress, and using existing resources and organizations to collaborate in establishing plans for growth and economic expansion.
Considering these factors, the TSD endorses Deidre Malone as the Democratic nominee in the May 6th Primary Election.
Other contested races
After an analysis of the responses to the TSD questionnaire, along with a review of the candidates' websites and other information, and considering the length of the ballot, here is a list of the newspaper's recommendations for the following contested races.
County Commissioner District 6 – Willie Brooks
County Commissioner District 7 – Melvin Burgess
County Commissioner District 8 – Berlin Boyd
County Commissioner District 9 – Justin Ford
County Commissioner District 10 – Martavius Jones
County Commissioner District 11 – Donnell Cobbins
County Commissioner District 12 – Van Turner
County Trustee – Derrick Bennett
Juvenile Court Clerk – Henri Brooks
Probate Court Clerk – Aaron Hall
County Clerk – Yolanda Kight
Register of Deeds – Coleman Thompson
Country Commissioner District 3 – Kelly Price
County Trustee – David Lenoir
(A summary for the information gathered from each candidate that participated in TSD questionnaire will be made available on tsdmemphis.com.)