Name: Craig Littles
Candidate for: City Council District 8, Position 2
Date of Birth: 01-22-1969
Occupation: Sergeant in the Memphis Police Department (retired July 2019), Chief Visionary Officer and Executive Director of the Police Activities Leagues of Memphis and Shelby County, Executive Director of the Youth Academy of Dreams
- High School: Trezevant High School, 1987
- College: Shelby State Community College/Southwest Tennessee Community College, 1996; Christian Brothers University, 2006
- Masters/Ph.D (if applicable):
Family: I am a dedicated single father of three wonderful children, Yarkeva, Morgan and Branson Littles.
Community Involvement: Chief Visionary Officer and Executive Director, Memphis Shelby Police Activities Leagues (2017 – present)
Board Member and Trustee, National Association of Police Activities Leagues (2018 – present)
Founder and Executive Director, Youth Academy of Dreams (2018 – present)
Founder and Executive Director, Memphis Bears Incorporated (1996 – present)
Sergeant, Memphis Police Department (1994 – 2019)
City of Memphis Athletic Ambassador, City of Memphis Office of Youth (2016)
Officer, Shelby County Sheriff’s Offfice (1991 – 1994)
Frayser Neighborhood Council
Frayser Community Development Center
Official Campaign Website: craiglittles.com
1. What background/experience distinguishes you from the other candidates who want voters to elect them?
I am a native Memphian and Desert Storm veteran who has devoted almost 30 years to making Memphis better. I have served my city through my police and nonprofit leadership.
From starting sports leagues to running after school and summer school programs, I have mobilized and energized Memphis neighborhoods for most of my life. I am running for Memphis City Council to continue my career in service. I believe that as a City Councilman, I can increase my impact making Memphis a destination where individuals, families and businesses can stay and succeed.
2. What are the top three issues facing the City of Memphis?
The top three issues facing Super District 8 are poverty, crime and blight.
3. What do you propose to address the three issues you rank as top priorities?
I believe we can help overcome challenges — such as poverty, crime and blight— through policies that promote equity and opportunity for Memphis residents. Based on my successes as a police officer and nonprofit leader, I know we can move Memphis forward by prioritizing five key platforms including safe neighborhoods, youth programs, clean streets, nonprofit organizations and economic investment.
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?
Yes. The City should restore healthcare and retirement benefits for police officers and firefighters. In order to attract and retain the best first responders, the City must stay competitive on job satisfaction and compensation.
5. Do you think the local PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program needs to be reformed? If so, why and how?
City Council must in in economic opportunities for both today and tomorrow. And while I believe that corporate incentives are a major part of keeping Memphis competitive, the PILOT program should demand better corporate citizenship. If elected, I will work to ensure that the City incentivizes who businesses prioritize their employees and communities. And I will support City Council’s efforts to enforce higher PILOT standards for jobs, wages, environment, etc.
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?
Over my years as a coach, cop and citizen — I have experienced how the revival of neglected and disinvested areas can attract business, provide jobs and increase wages. But when gentrification displaces poor residents, the city fails its most vulnerable citizens. As City Councilman, I will support revitalization strategies that help neighborhoods spur investment from within neighborhoods — such as affordable housing and down payment assistance.
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?
The City can help inspire more racial representation by increasing their spend with minority contractors. If elected, I will support efforts expand the City’s procurement goals with MWBEs, and recruit more minority businesses to participate in the program.