Catrina Smith


Name: Catrina Smith

Candidate for: City Council District 7

Date of Birth:

Occupation: Educator

Educational Background:

    • High School: Crawfordsville High School
    • College: English Literature
    • Masters/Ph.D (if applicable): Masters of Arts in Education

Family: I am the youngest of three. My parents have been married for almost 50 years. My father is a retired superintendent for an entire school district in Arkansas, and my mother is a retired social worker. I have one sister who is married with three children, and I have one brother who has two children.

Community Involvement: 1. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Healthcare Committee Member)
2. National Civil Rights Museum
3. Former Member of 100 Black Journalist
4. Former Contestant of Miss Black Tennessee
5. Volunteered with Bellevue Frayser Baptist Church (Giving out commodities to needy families)
6. Volunteered with the Youth Ministries at my church


Official Campaign Website:


1. What background/experience distinguishes you from the other candidates who want voters to elect them?

Smith’s response:

I am qualified for this position because firstly, I graduated from the University of Memphis and Union University. Secondly, I am of age; thirdly, I pay my taxes, and lastly, I do not have a criminal record.

2. What are the top three issues facing the City of Memphis?

Smith’s response:

1. Blight
2. Redevelopment
3. Education/Training

3. What do you propose to address the three issues you rank as top priorities?

Smith’s response:

1. (Blight) I will aggressively look for federal funding to clean up blighted and abandoned areas while the city tries to get landowners and LLC companies registered so that they can be held accountable for code violations.

2. (Redevelopment) I will seek to have improvements to spruce up the district. Since there is a focus to redevelop in the medical district, I will fight and advocate for homeowners to keep their homes, and I will make sure that there is adequate communication to all of District 7 about the city’s redevelopment plan that may impact them negatively and positively.

3. (Education/Training) I will help adults enroll into a two year college or a two year technical school to earn a degree for free with the Tennessee Reconnect Program to become more financially independent.

4. Do you favor the call for a half-cent sales tax increase to restore healthcare and retirement benefits for police officers and firefighters cut in 2014?

Smith’s response:

Yes. Police officers and firefighters are the lifeline to the city, and if the city wants quality service, it must pay for quality care. If this goes into effect, I believe that all city workers should receive the benefits from it.

5. Do you think the local PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program needs to be reformed? If so, why and how?

Smith’s response:

Yes. There have been too many times when the city has lost tax revenue because companies did not stay within the time frame as promised; therefore, the city lost millions. I would propose that the companies put in writing that they will stay within a length of time without an early exit. However, if the companies try to leave early, I will propose an amendment whereas it will be more beneficial financially for the companies to stay than to leave.

6. Do you see a risk of displacement and gentrification connected to the development boom in Memphis? If so, how would you address that risk from the position you seek?

Smith’s response:

Yes. The displacement and gentrification hurts low income families who are forced to live in impoverished communities. Many are living on a fixed income, and the redevelopment is something that is needed and wanted. However, the redevelopment should not put people out of their homes.

I would address this issue by educating the people, finding grants to spruce up homes, and providing resources for the elderly.

7. African-American-owned businesses have made up only 1 percent of all Memphis business receipts for several decades. If elected, do you see playing a role in changing that statistic? If so, what do you think that role would entail?

Smith’s response:

Yes. I will advocate for African-American owned businesses to become certified and to keep up their certification so that they will be able to get those bids from the city. I will expand the city’s territory by seeking out businessmen and businesswomen outside of the city to do business with the city and to mentor new and upcoming entrepreneurs. I will propose to expand small business incubators and help promote small owned businesses to make sure that they are able to thrive.