The General Sessions Court Clerk’s office maintains payments and records for the state’s largest court operation handling civil and criminal divisions. Incumbent Democrat Joe Brown wants a second term and now his challengers include former Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer.
Brown took out his qualifying petition last month. Sawyer announced her candidacy on Wednesday. The Democratic Primary may also include Rheunte Benson. Records indicate the clerk office’s criminal administrator has also pulled a petition.
“I recognize that people are politically exhausted, but this election comes at a pivotal time where it is likely to be the only race for Democrats to vote for on March 5, 2024,” Sawyer said via her announcement release.
“If my time as Shelby County Commissioner showed me anything, it is that local elections matter more than one may know. I will spend the next three months working to inspire our community to actively vote for visible and experienced leadership in our largest court system.”
Brown, a former Memphis City Council member, had not been reached for comment at the TSD’s print deadline.
The filing deadline to be on the March 5 ballot for the primaries is Dec. 14 at noon.
Sawyer served a single term (September 2018 – August 2022) representing District 7 on the Shelby County Board of Commissioners. She did not seek reelection. She is renowned for the leadership role she took in helping secure the removal of Confederate-era monuments for what then was city-owned parks.
Citing experience as senior human resources professional, Sawyer committed to fostering efficiency, transparency and accessibility within the court system. She also referenced her goal to enhance innovation through technology, improve customer service for judges, attorneys, and civilians, and engage with members of the Shelby County community to ensure citizens are informed and committed to the justice work of the courts.
“Let’s be honest, we are at a dangerous cross-road in Shelby County at the intersection of crime and poverty. I assume this responsibility because the General Sessions Court Clerk’s Office holds a pivotal role in safeguarding our community from harm, ensuring that citizens can access court services seamlessly in a hassle-free manner.”