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Tri-State Defender endorsements

For Memphis mayor, incumbent Mayor A C Wharton Jr. is the clear choice. Oct. 6 municipal elections:

Memphis Mayor
A C Wharton Jr.
After having interviewed the three primary candidates in the race, reviewed their campaign materials, websites, social media pages and reviewed their responses to our candidate questionnaire, incumbent Mayor A C Wharton Jr. is the clear choice. Although all the candidates voiced valid visions for the city, Wharton had the clearest and most concrete plans to deal with the primary issues of economic development/job and business creation, African-American business and wealth creation, education, crime reduction and improved government efficiencies.  Each candidate demonstrated a solid background of public service, but Wharton stands most poised to utilize his experience and relationships to advance an aggressive and clearly articulated agenda for growth in the city over the next four years. He has some work to do to truly impact the poverty rates and low education attainment rates particularly among the 70 percent African-American population, but demonstrated an understanding of the challenges and the aptitude, attitude, and resolve to do it.  

City Council District 1
Kendrick D. Sneed
Sneed is a deputy with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and a former aide to former Congressman Harold Ford Sr. and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Christian Brothers University. His website reflects a strong platform on education and economic development/empowerment. He demonstrates an understanding of the key challenges facing the city, shows a resolve to present and vote on appropriate legislation and generally represents the next generation of positive leadership necessary to move the city forward. The incumbent, Bill Morrison, has simply not demonstrated enough nor presented a clear enough vision and understanding of the broad issues to warrant re-election

City Council District 2
No Endorsement

City Council District 3
Harold Collins
Collins is unopposed but has demonstrated strong leadership in the face of difficulties during his term on the council. During his chairmanship, he exercised diplomacy in leadership in taking sometimes difficult stances in the interest of his constituents and the citizens of Memphis.   He has demonstrated he is not afraid to “go against the grain” when necessary. On his website and in responses to the TSD, he articulates a clear plan of action to deal with the major issues.  

City Council District 4
Wanda Halbert
Halbert was the one candidate that provided the most thorough and direct responses to the TSD questionnaire and general information in assessing her record of public service as an elected official. Some like her, some don’t, but clearly she is on the side of her constituents and is the kind of individual willing to take a stance and question everything, something this council needs.  She has experience, guts and a willingness to take in information to make the best decision. She has made positive and documented accomplishments as both a school board member and a city council member and has earned re-election.

City Council District 5
Jim Strickland
A level headed, shrewd attorney, statesmen and council member, Strickland brings solid vision and diplomatic leadership to the council. He has shown the ability to work across all lines and understands the real challenges of Memphis. He is willing to understand and tough enough to make unpopular stances.  

City Council District 6
Edmund Ford Jr.
Ford has been a quick study as a councilman and as a schoolteacher he very well should have. Although he has several very capable challengers, including educator Clara Ford and former school board member Sharon A Webb, Ford deserves re-election, having shown a willingness to take on challenges and providing solid leadership when necessary.

City Council District 7
Erskine B. Gillespie
In a crowded field to replace long time servant, Barbara S, Holt, there were a number of impressive candidates, with Gillespie standing out from the field. He has lived a life of service.  He grew up in the heart of District 7, with parents and siblings that attended Manassas and Douglas High Schools. He graduated from Central High School himself. Gillespie has overcome near death from organ failure to become a professional fundraiser for transplant causes and specifically the Mid South Transplant Foundation. He has worked for large corporations such as FedEx, worked on his own with various non-profits and built success from nothing. He possesses the kind of experience, spirit, tenacity and ingenuity that this council needs and would be a fitting replacement to Swearingen Holt who was a passionate fighter for the people of District 7.  Given the changes in the population of the district, Gillespie seems poised to appeal to a wider spectrum of voters, bringing a broader set of leadership skills with a youthful energy to the council and the voters of District 7.  

City Council Super District 8, Position 1
Joe Brown
A tough minded and bold leader, Brown has brought levity and practicality to the council and should be returned to his seat.  His business experience and willingness to represent the best interest of the most challenged in the community solidifies him against his challengers.  

City Council Super District 8, Position 2
Rosalyn R. Nichols
Nichols, the Pastor at Freedom’s Chapel Christian Church, presented a very impressive list of credentials, training, education and professional involvement, with a high commitment to serving others. She has founded and run non-profit agencies and worked diligently on many of the issues that plague our community today. She combines smarts, practicality, creativity and high energy to present a positive new face for the council. Incumbent Janis Fullilove’s heart seems to be in the right place, but she has become a distraction from the real work of the council.  She has demonstrated that she can be an advocate but given the needs of this community and the myriad challenges that we face, advocacy is simply not enough.

City Council Super District 8, Position 3
Myron Lowery
A stall worth leader on the council, Lowery is unchallenged which is clearly a reflection of the strengths he’s brought to the council and to the city in general as interim mayor and as council chairman.   Councilman Lowery has provided solid leadership for years as a councilman and community leader and will continue to provide positive leadership.  

City Council Super District 9, Position 1
No endorsement
Incumbent Kemp Conrad is a smart businessman who is genuinely concerned about the growth and well being of the broader population of Memphis. Some in the community have dug in to oppose him vigorously because of his advocacy of privatization of sanitation services. The New Tri-State Defender was out front in reporting the shaky ground upon which assertions about potential savings were put forth. Still, Conrad has demonstrated that he could rebound and make better use of the practical and educational experience he has to bring forward smart solutions to community challenges. Conrad’s opponent, Paul Shaffer, did not participate in the newspaper’s questionnaire process.

City Council Super District 9, Position 2
George Shea Flinn III
Although his opponent, James A. Sdoia, is a worthy opponent with an impressive educational, professional and community service background, we endorse Flinn as a progressive thinking young councilman that brings levity and a dynamic sense of perspective to challenging issues faced by the City. He has begun positive work as a councilman and represents a new generation of leadership necessary to move Memphis forward. As a Rhodes College and University of Memphis Law School graduate, Flinn has the educational pedigree combined with a positive vision and a sense of diplomacy that is needed on the council to ensure progress is made during the next four years.  

City Council Super District 9, Position 3
No Endorsement

City Judge Races - Each of these judges are running unopposed but have proven to be fair and equitable adjudicators of the law and should be voted back into their positions.

City Court Judge, Division 1
Ernestine Hunt Dorse

City Court Judge, Division 2
Tarik B. Sugarmon

City Court Judge, Division 3
Jayne Chandler

City Court Clerk
Thomas Long
Long has demonstrated creativity, sensitivity and fairness as the City Court Clerk. The drive while you pay plans and amnesty initiatives have allowed people to stop driving “dirty” while delivering much needed revenues into the City’s coffers. Long continues to improve the efficiency of the office and has offered ideas in further growing collections on outstanding citations towards improving the City treasury. He has earned the opportunity to be re-elected once again.

NOTE: Early voting ends Oct. 1.


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