Four candidates – three Democrats and a lone Republican – are asking voters in the Shelby County Board of Commissioners’ District 7 for support in clearing the first election hurdle to representing the district contained within ZIP code 38108.
The Democratic Primary is contested territory for Eric Dunn, Stephanie Gatewood and Tami Sawyer. The winner of the May 1 race will face Samuel D. Goff, who is unopposed in the Republican Primary, in the November General Election.
Eric Dunn (D)
Dunn, the owner of Mid-South Janitorial Service, is a Northside High School graduate. He holds a mortuary technician diploma from The LeMoyne-Owen College and a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Remington College. Prior to establishing his own business, he worked as community outreach director at Northside High School; as a community liaison for AmeriCorps Vista and as a community liaison for the mayor’s office
In 2015, Dunn ran as a District 7 candidate for the Memphis City Council. He believes that the key to moving Shelby County District 7 forward is establishing initiatives that improve the quality of education for North Memphis children. He volunteers as a tutor, mentor and school advocate in Shelby County Schools.
Dunn advocates creative measures to promote existing businesses and attract new ones.
“When businesses are constantly opening, expanding and thriving in a given community, the blight and boarded-up buildings and unsightly places are solved as long as the entire community is united in one purpose,” he said.
He views his campaign as a door-to-door, grassroots effort.
Stephanie Gatewood (D)
Gatewood is a Family and Community Engagement Specialist for Shelby County Schools (SCS). She served on the old Memphis City Schools board and was the vice-president in 2009. She also sat on the 23-member Shelby County Schools Board following the combining of the MCS and SCS systems.????? Please double check here on this info in this graph.
As a child of a military home, she has lived in myriad parts of the county and says that experience “helped her to appreciate and enjoy diversity.”
Gatewood, a mother and grandmother, pledges to work for:
* Safe neighborhoods – helping to devise both short- and long-term solutions to reduce crime.
* Comfortable neighborhoods – affordable housing and a blight-free environment in every community.
* Healthy neighborhoods – sanitation and environmental services should have the same priority in all neighborhoods; also safe, clean neighborhood parks and community centers.
* Productive neighborhoods – education, business incentives and new businesses must be supported to create and sustain more jobs paying a living wage.
* Government accountability – government must be accountable and transparent to its constituents.
Tami Sawyer (D)
Tamara (Tami) Sawyer ran for the District 90 state House of Representatives in 2016, garnering 44 percent of the vote against incumbent John DeBerry in her first run for public office.
She widely is recognized as the main organizer of the #TakeEmDown901 Movement, an umbrella group of local activists who aggressively pursued the removal of the Confederate statues from Health Sciences Park and Fourth Bluff Park.
Sawyer, who attended Howard University School of Law and works in the school system as a Teach For America educator, says she returned home because “it seemed that some areas of the city were not progressing.”
For Shelby County to develop and grow, “equity in all areas from education to business opportunity to healthcare to criminal justice must be realized,” she said. “For this to occur, strong leadership is required.”
In an ongoing effort that predates her run for this commission seat, she has advocated creating a bi-partisan task force that would examine and propose solutions for the school-to-prison pipeline and working to create an economic environment that allows for technological innovation and development.
Women’s rights and women’s healthcare are huge issues for Sawyer.
“I’m so proud to be endorsed by Mid-South Reproductive Rights Coalition,” she said. “Improving awareness and increasing unrestricted access to reproductive healthcare is an important goal of mine. One reason is that in Memphis, 1,100 people live with HIV. I believe this is due to lack of access and reproductive health education. We have to turn that around and make sure all people have the ability to make healthy and informed decisions about their bodies.”
Samuel D. Goff (R)
Goff is a U.S. Navy veteran and has been in Memphis for three-plus decades. He has worked in the Hotel Food & Beverage industry, radio ad sales and the mortgage-lending field. For 14 years, he was a weekly radio host for “House Calls – All Things About Mortgages.”
He started the Memphis “Amber Alert” for missing children, and the “Paint Up Frayser” initiative to serve low-income homeowners. His community involvement includes having served as president of the Shelby County American Cancer Society, and service with the Greater Mid-South Jaycees and the Tennessee JCI Senate.
Pitching his record service record, Goff feels he can bring a different and more progressive style of leadership for the constituents in District 7.
He is currently serving with several organizations, including: Midtown Memphis Development Corporation, president; Evergreen Historic District Association, treasurer; Memphians for America, board member; Greater Mid-South Foundation, member; Germantown Kiwanis, member, and Frayser Exchange Club, member.
Goff and wife, Sara, are the parents of a 15-year-old son, Johnathan. “We are blessed to have Johnathan, who accepted and adopted us as his parents.”